It’s been nearly 100 years since the US first started to outlaw marijuana. Ever since Chinese’s emperors first claimed of medicinal properties, it has been fogging itself in and out of the limelight. As more states and more countries are privy to the financial success of cannabis-approval, it seems to only be the beginning of something much bigger.
In its rapid rise to household topic, the reason for the spike in approval has been illusive. What was it that made Americans, particularly, to change their stance. Has state legalization started a trend of education and awareness in America? Or, is it something else?
Though 2018 has not hit its halfway mark yet, the Cannabis Industry has been making major strides to undo some of the previous prohibition. Many speculate that lawmakers and politicians are simply taking notice of the tax revenue that is a direct result from legalization. Others note an actual change in mindset, giving those previously against the plant a new perspective on it.
I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities. @AcreageCannabis – John Boehner, Twitter
Bipartisan Support Growing
Boehner, previous of Speaker of the House of Representatives, is now committed to de-scheduling Cannabis as a result. Over the last decade, people’s feelings toward Cannabis has been dramatically changing. As well, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell proposed the Hemp Act of 2018, progressing into Congress as part of this year’s Farm Bill. The bipartisan support for Cannabis research at the very least continues to grow. There is still more to do and more support to be won from Republicans in regard to federal legalization; research on Cannabis will make the fight for advocacy much easier.
Oddly enough, not many believed legalization would take off so quickly. The booming era of MMJ started in the 90s but, as 2012 rolled around, the industry begin to spread it’s recreational markets through half the country. One has to wonder where the boast in support and awareness came from. Has the rise of more states looking to legalize simply caused more people to look into it? Or are Americans becoming more conscious of the health benefits rather the the adult-use purposes?
Education about Cannabis certainly has been heavy in pop culture and mainstream media over the last decade. With more television shows and movies making plain of the Cannabis lifestyle, it has made it certain that Reefer Madness is just that: madness.
Through our shared ridicule of the 1930s film and shared education on Cannabis, we’ve helped each other move past many of those negative connotations. Speaking of sharing and educating, much of the plants triumphs can be credited to something many don’t give too much thought: the internet.
Did the Internet kill Reefer Madness?
We all had that wondrous moment back in the 90s when one discovered the World Wide Web. Of course back then, it was mostly looking up all the mundane things your heart desired and downloading music that was slowly destroying your hardware. Now, while Social Media rules the internet and Legislature taking a lot more interest in its[internet] operation, it’s obviously the internet has grown into something bigger.
Let’s revisit that “Social” part of things.
From the lost blog pages to Myspace and onto Facebook, the social aspect of the internet has played a major role in its growth and grasp on society. This is also what brought much of the Cannabis Community together. Having a (somewhat) anonymous space to discuss passions and interest opened a new platform for Cannabis. Thought now, the rules on Cannabis have been a constant grey area, it’s still relatively safe to discuss the activity online-as long as your job doesn’t know about it.
The information highway served its purpose well for Cannabis as people had knowledge at their fingertips. You can search for anything online, that includes Cannabis’ medical benefits as well as its history with prohibition. You can educate yourself on the little research we do have by simply ‘Google’-ing it.
As social media and YouTube took off in the late 2000s, the sharing of Cannabis tips and secrets started. Something that was once -and in some parts of the country, still is- a Taboo is being openly discussed and celebrated online. Individuals who had long standing experience with Cannabis, despite the current market, proved that a lot of the negative stigma was just propaganda.
Back in the 1970s, Cheech and Chong trademarked the ‘stoner’ humor that made America see ‘stoners’ as funny and harmless instead of the bipolar and/or dangerous users we were introduced to in the propaganda film, Reefer Madness. Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Dazed and Confused, and Half Baked helped solidify the thought of this fun-loving persona that pop culture quickly took hold of. Songs like Afroman’s “Because I Got High” and the introduction of shows like Weeds and Disjointed even portrayed the diversity of those who consume Cannabis. The diversity of consumers that have been introduced to the world has caused everyone to look more into the plant for themselves.
In 2000, the Cannabis approval-rate was a mere 31%; before that, it staggered around 12-16% since 1969. After 2010, however, that number shot up to 61%. The lowest numbers sit with Baby Boomers (56%). GenXers and Millennials, those who grew up with the internet however have higher rates at 66% and 70%, respectively.
As much we all love the internet, growing areas of legalization helped us get here just as much. 2012 was the year that Colorado and Washington became the first US states to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Since then, states have been following suite like wildfire. Many states see the benefit of tax revenue that comes from Cannabis sales. Others see the medical miracles of it. Whatever the reason, we can’t deny that Cannabis is good for the economy.
“Arrests in all states and Washington, D.C. for the possession, cultivation and distribution of marijuana have plummeted since voters legalized the adult use of marijuana,” the DPA finds, citing official state and municipal numbers. The reduction in arrests is “saving those jurisdictions millions of dollars and preventing the criminalization of thousands of people.”
Colorado’s marijuana arrest dropped by half while washington’s possession charges dropped almost 98% in the first two years. Both states also brought in well over $120 thousand in tax revenue. Despite that being only about 1% of state expenses, the amounts are still higher than the projected numbers.
The increased usage is causing more people to educate themselves on exactly what it is they enjoy about Cannabis. Despite popular belief, many who have been smoking for a longer amount of time still have as little idea of what they are looking for when they go to a shop. It’s a much different experience from the buying of yesteryear. .
The mass varieties of products and categories now available make learning about the Cannabis World even more fun now that it is legal.
So, has legalization has helped shape a more educated Cannabis environment. We at The Social Weed Think so.
What about you? Do you feel we have made some strides as a nation? Could we do more?
If you want to help Cannabis, educate your peers. Find out what issues stand against your state. Reach out to your cities legislature. Make sure they share your views or are willing to investigate them.
Cannabis has come so far, not on its own, but with the communities help and support. The fight isn’t over yet though.