CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
On February 1, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a statement firmly stating his position on marijuana: It’s time to legalize. Though that process will take time, the end of marijuana prohibition could usher in a host of new ways for people to consume their favorite strains recreationally.
“The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color,” Schumer wrote in a statement, alongside Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon. “Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is necessary to right the wrongs of this failed war and end decades of harm inflicted on communities of color across the country.”
According to their statement, the three Democratic senators plan to release “a unified discussion draft on comprehensive reform” in the early half of 2021. Schumer also says he plans to make it a priority for the Senate this year to legalize at the federal level. As of this reporting, 15 states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana for recreational use, while a total of 36 states permit medical marijuana use.
Schumer’s words are a far cry from statements made by politicians of a bygone era who catapulted the nation into a lengthy (and expensive) war on drugs, which has led to despicable statistics, like “Black Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana charges than their white peers,” despite consuming cannabis at the same rate.
Nationwide legalization of cannabis use could not only help right these wrongs, but they could also benefit the American economy along the way. As American Progress reported, “Marijuana legalization would save roughly $7.7 billion per year in averted enforcement costs and would yield an additional $6 billion in tax revenue. The net total—$13.7 billion—could send more than 650,000 students to public universities every year.” Legalization could also help spur an already burgeoning cannabis industry that is poised to add $130 billion a year to the U.S. economy by 2024 via sales, job creation, and the production of a few rather inventive new ways cannabis consumers enjoy their favorite varietals.
Right now, the number of medical and recreational cannabis products is almost too numerous to count. In recent years, the industry has blossomed to include edibles, drinks, tinctures, skincare, and topicals. There are even entire websites devoted to helping people find the products that are right for them. That has translated into a billion-dollar market that could be worth more than $73.6 billion by 2027 and pump an estimated $130 billion into the American economy by 2024.
“Most of the products today have been created in just the last few years,” says Mike France, cofounder and chief strategy officer of Proper, a cannabis discovery company built to help consumers find the product that’s right for them and a place to purchase it legally. In 2019, the company published its Proper Report, a trend analysis based on the reviews of its cannabis rating committee, which spent more than 40,000 hours rating and reviewing cannabis products to help people further discover the right fit for them.
“Cannabis may not be effective or enjoyable for you, but in general, there’s now a product on today’s shelves for everyone,” France says. As for what’s trending in the market right now, France says edibles had a huge year throughout 2020, likely due to the pandemic, with more people looking into alternative ways to cope with anxiety, depression, and stress—all of which are conditions many studies are starting to suggest cannabis can help combat. The most popular ways to consume cannabis sans smoking or vaping are by ingesting it as an infused edible or applying it topically.
What other products could people soon get their hands on as the nation looks toward the future? Keep scrolling for a few of the “it” items France and Turner say we can expect to see more of on the market.
Published: February 11, 2021