The North American legal marijuana market brought in $12 billion in revenue in 2016 and experts think it could continue to grow to well over $20 billion by 2021. From 2015 to 2016 marijuana industry revenue grew by 30%, which is significantly larger than the 22% GDP growth during the dot com era. With so many states legalizing marijuana this election it's likely marijuana sales will continue to skyrocket in the coming years. Currently 21% of the entire US population lives in a place where adults can legally choose to purchase marijuana, and that number is going to continue to grow. "To put this in perspective, this industry growth is larger and faster than even the dot-com era," Forbes said. He said sales in Colorado, Washington and Oregon jumped 62 per cent between the period of September 2015 and 2016.
Marijuana has become more popular than ever. You see it in the news headlines, magazines, dispensaries, and you've likely seen someone wearing clothes or accessorizing with marijuana logos. The public perception of pot is changing for the better, meaning marijuana's aura will only become more prevalent. Fashion magazines like Vogue and Marie Clarie have taken the initiative to publish some cannabis content, from celebrity quotes to fashion design, and even cannabis beauty products. This year and for many more to come, marijuana is in. Just this week, The Business of Fashion web site published an article about the luxury opportunities for marijuana: "The opportunities for the luxury industry to capitalise on the legalisation of marijuana go far beyond incorporating a cannabis leaf into apparel designs. The first, most obvious, foray has been into accessories; vapourisers and pipes are now being reimagined through a high-design lens."
For decades, a US government agency has spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money to hunt down and eradicate a species of plant. Yes, the DEA. And it seems their efforts have been for nothing as there are now more adult marijuana smokers in the US than ever. The real problem is not the mistakes of our past, but the persistent efforts of so many still fighting the losing battle that is prohibition. Even in states that have completely legalized cannabis, like Washington state, the DEA refuses to compromise until their federal funding is cut. Other states to legalize recreational cannabis like Oregon and Colorado saw major drops in DEA funding, Oregon dropping by 80% and Colorado dropping down to $0 since legalizing marijuana. In 2016, Washington state received $760,000 from taxpayers for marijuana eradication making it the fourth-highest funded state. It's clear the continued aggression towards marijuana is not an attitude shared by the public and the policy should instead reflect the state's laws. “While the DEA’s Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program has been in effect nationwide for three decades, the recent trend in state laws to legalize and decriminalize the production, distribution or consumption of marijuana calls into question the necessity of such a program,” the letter states. “I don’t believe the arguments that this program is needed. From a taxpayer’s standpoint, it doesn’t make any sense that Washington state is still spending so much money on marijuana eradication,” Lieu said. “There are so many more worthwhile uses for it.” “I hear it all the time: ‘You guys still have an outdoor-eradication program when you’re a legalized state? How does that make sense?’ ” Sweet said.
In late 2016 a New Jersey Assemblyman, known as the "most conservative", introduced and sponsored a marijuana legalization bill that would legalize cannabis similar to tobacco, allowing sales in convenience stores and gas stations statewide to adults 19 and older. If passed, the bill would remove criminal liability from marijuana as well as it's status as a controlled substance under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substance Act. The legislation would also expunge the records of those convicted of certain marijuana crimes. With Governor Chris Christie still in office, some are pessimistic about the bill's chance of passing as he has a history of supporting prohbition, but advocates hope this legislation will continue laying the groundwork in support of future legalization. “To me it’s just not a big deal,” Carroll told Politico. “It’s already ubiquitous. Anybody who thinks this is somehow going to increase the availability of marijuana has never been 19. If that’s the case, then what’s the big deal about having it available at the local 7-Eleven?” Alcohol, after all, is a standard fixture at convenience stores and gas stations, with store owners facing fines and other civil penalties for underage distribution. “The whole point here is to get the government out of the business of treating at least marijuana use as a crime and treat it instead as a social problem,” Carroll continued, adding he’s never tried cannabis, personally.
With Trump's inauguration right around the corner, a peaceful protest is being planned to bring together a large crowd of tokers and the message that federal marijuana legalization is a must. The DC Cannabis Coalition is well within the law to hand out thousands of free joints to adult protesters, as long as no money is exhanged. That's right, in our nation's capitol it's legal to give marijuana away, but not to sell it. The unlawful part of the protest comes when users are expected to light their joints at 4 minutes and 20 seconds into the inauguration speech. While cannabis is legal in D.C. smoking is only permitted in a private residence. The peaceful protest of a mass smoking will likely draw attention to the issue, hopefully without mass incarceration. "We are looking at a guy who as recently as April said that they are going to enforce federal law on marijuana all over the country. He said marijuana is dangerous," Eidinger said. There will 4,200 gifts, to be exact. Then, at 4 minutes and 20 seconds into Trump's speech (420 is the internationally known code for weed), protesters are encouraged to light up. That part, is most definitely illegal. "We are going to tell them that if they smoke on federal property, they are risking arrest. But, that's a form of civil disobedience," said Eidinger. "I think it's a good protest. If someone wants to do it, they are risking arrest, but it's a protest and you know what, the National Mall is a place for protest."
With the recent election of Trump and his appointment for a heavily anti-marijuana Attorney General, many cannabis advocates are worried about the future for marijuana law reform. States have made tremendous progress over the initial federal prohibition of marijuana, but if the new Attorney General has his way, he could ruin much of the strong industry still being built. It will be important now more than ever for local governments to take a stand against prohibition and against imprisoning innocent people for a medically viable substance that is well known to be safer than alcohol. Houston's Police Chief and District Attorney have made it clear that they don't plan on wasting theirs or anyone elses time for pot offenses, starting with a recent bust of rappers Paul Wall and Baby Bash who are facing felony charges with intent to deliver. Even outside of the famously liberal capitol city, authorities seem to be undergoing a sort of enlightenment. D.A. Kim Ogg has a friend in Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who said the previous week he doesn’t see any benefit in going after pot users. “I think you’ll have a really spirited but well-informed discussion, and at some point I could really foresee, in the future, marijuana and some other oils being legalized for medicinal purposes; it will probably be the first step in Texas,” Acevedo said during the program, which was pre-recorded in Houston. Acevedo sees the drug war as a failure, and even hopes to implement a law enforcement program to give small-time drug dealers a second chance instead of putting them in cages with violent criminals.
In 2015, a woman determined to fill a need of the female cannabis user made it her mission to design and sell an odor-proof purse. Her company, AnnaBis, makes high-end bags for woman wanting to keep their personal cannabis use private by using aroma-blocking fabric and a concealed air-tight compartment. The smallest bag in the AnnaBis line can still hold up two vapes, a small pipe, containers of herb, a lighter and a charger, all while looking stylish and not bringing any unwanted attention. These fashionable bags come at a time when the marijuana industry and it's accessories are primarily dominated by men. She says the products she commonly found were obviously designed by men: All the "girl products" were "pinkified" or full of rhinestones. "That's not what women want; that's what men think women want," she says. "We want things with a high design aesthetic." Moss says that 30 percent of her customers are men buying the bags for the women in their lives; sometimes a man hopes his girlfriend will embrace the weed culture more if she has a bag specifically designed for cannabis.
One of the greatest fears of anti-marijuana legalization advocates is increasing teens' access to marijuana, but to everyone's surprise the data is showing a consistent decrease. According to the Monitoring the Future survey filled out by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, teens have shown a fairly consistent decline in access to and use of marijuana since the survey began collecting data in 1992. In 2016, only 64% of 10th graders said marijuana was easy to get making 2016 the lowest amount ever recorded for both 8th and 10th graders, with 12th graders setting their record low in 2015. The data is promising but the explanations are lacking. Legalization has become more prominent without making teen access worse, making the situation a win from almost any angle. “We’re seeing that more people in the U.S. except for teenagers are taking it," Volkow says. "The rates of increases are highest among young adults 18-24, so one would expect that would translate to the adolescents, but apparently it has not.” "Every time a state considers rolling back marijuana prohibition, opponents predict it will result in more teen use. Yet the data seems to tell a very different story," says Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "The best way to prevent teen marijuana use is education and regulation, not arresting responsible adult consumers and depriving sick people of medical marijuana."
The marijuana industry is expanding it's reach into the high-end market where clients are willing to pay premium prices for a lavish assortment of cannabis products. There are subscription boxes available like AuBox and ClubM where you can receive a monthly box containing unique vaporizer blends, THC-infused coffee, gold rolling papers, hand crafted edibles, cannabis body butter, pre-rolls and the finest of buds. These pricey packages are delivered in style with a custom apothecary humidor or genuine leather purse. For anywhere from $100-$1000 you can choose a box to suite your expensive taste and spoil yourself with the newest and best cannabis products. This is no secret to companies already targeting the luxury marijuana market. There are two different monthly premium subscription boxes catering to the big spenders. The AuBox is a carefully curated box of either CBD products and/or THC products depending on the state you live in. It was created by Jessica VerSteeg, a former Miss Iowa and Amazing Race competitor. This product is only available in San Francisco. Another company called ClubM offers even more expensive boxes. The M1K retails for $1,000 and features cannabis products like LolaLola Cannabis and True Humbolt delivered in a custom apothecary humidor or genuine leather scent-free purse. The box is exclusively available to ClubM members and contains flower, edibles, vapes and cannabis related accessories.
To some patients, medical marijuana means the difference between having multiple seizures in a day or not having any seizures for months. 16 year old Carson Livesey needs to use medical marijuana to contain her seizures, but an upcoming hospital visit for testing has her family worried. The New York hospital is following a state law that prohibits patients from having their medical marijuana in the hospital. It could take up to a week of staying in the hospital for Carson to finish her testing, but her results will be heavily scewed if she has to stop her daily cannabis medication. Health Department officials are hoping to expand the state's medical marijuana program to possibly allow certified patients to self-administer medical marijuana, but until then hospitals are doing their best to find "therapeutic options" for it's patients in need. Meanwhile, Livesey, the Middletown mother, said she won't have her daughter risk going without medical marijuana during a hospital stay. In the more than eight months of taking the drug, Livesey said, Carson has had two seizures, down from as many as several per day. "...;We are developing proposed regulatory amendments," the department stated, "that would make it easier for hospitals to create policies and procedures to allow certified patients to self-administer approved medical marijuana products." Orange Regional Medical Center spokesman Rob Lee said in an email that state law prohibits patients from having their medical marijuana while hospitalized. ORMC, he said, looks for "therapeutic options" that meet the needs of patients and their doctors
Recreational marijuana being passed in Nevada raises a lot of questions for the casino and the gaming industry, but will they permit cannabis use alongside tobacco and alcohol? The short answer seems to be no, unfortunately. Casino officials have stated that since marijuana is still federally illegal and a Schedule 1 substance alongside drugs like heroin, that it should remain prohibited on casino premises. While very few people truly believe cannabis belongs in the same category as herion, users will just have to accept that marijuana and gambling are not ready to be paired together. Casinos have not experienced too many problems with the introduction of medical marijuana and they don't expect recreational marijuana to become a problem either. In a statement, Caesars Entertainment says "the consumption of marijuana will continue to be impermissible at all Caesars Entertainment properties in Nevada." Station casinos told us they will abide by the regulator's mandates. That includes all portions of a resort property, including rooms. Alamo says the industry will have to police itself like they do for so many other regulations. "I'm sure they'll be able to figure this out in a way that doesn't hurt their business and police themselves like they've done with other things," said Alamo. Alamo told News 3, casinos already have experience with marijuana given that medical use is allowed. He says the casinos should expect more marijuana use come Sunday and doesn't think it'll be overwhelming.
Hoping to make a map of all the known and unknown strains of cannabis, Phylos Bioscience has been sequencing cannabis DNA samples from allover the world and making a digital 3-D marijuana "galaxy". Breeders can send in a kit with a stem sample of their bud to get properly tested and receive detailed results within 2-4 weeks. The researchers of Phylos have compiled the largest database of the marijuana genome in the world. The research could continue to expand on strains and give growers the ability to authenticate specific strains and protect their intellectual property. According to Phylos, the genetic report will provide understanding on the strain’s closest relatives, clonal relationships, its uniqueness, origin, and more. This is updated as more strains are added to the database, which was recently made open source through the Open Cannabis Project. It can also help breeders to protect themselves, the site explains, by providing a certificate of authenticity. And, it could help to protect breeders’ intellectual property, Holmes explained. They’re hoping to establish prior art for the strains that have been collected, keeping the varieties in the public domain and protecting them from patents, according to Vocativ. ‘As plant scientists, that’s what we care about,’ Holmes told Vocativ.