The results of the 2016 election are in, and while many Americans still feel contentious about the next incoming president, prospects are looking good for medical marijuana business development.
By next year, 28 states and the District of Columbia will have legalized medical marijuana. That’s more than half of the country, and up from 23 states since fall of 2015.
Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota have now officially joined the ranks in offering legal medical marijuana business licenses to dispensaries. Eight states now also have fully legalized the recreational use of marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. Those four just passed legislation this election term, while Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska had already legalized it previously.
But will federal regulations from the new presidency affect legalization — medical or otherwise? Donald Trump’s views on the issue have remained largely unspoken. The decision and its impact will likely fall to whoever he chooses as his Attorney General, a position that has yet not been officially filled for the January 20 term start.
One of the biggest names being tossed around for consideration, however, is Governor Jeff Sessions. He is a former U.S. Attorney and current senator for Alabama. He once joked that he had no problems with the Ku Klux Klan “until I found out they smoked pot.” You can imagine how well that went over.
Congress, on the other hand, has the ability to change the classification of certain substances. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I drug, on the same level as LSD, heroin, and ecstasy. For these reasons, no doctors can currently “prescribe” medical marijuana; they can only recommend it to patients.
It seems unlikely that a Republican-dominated Congress will be favorable to legalizing marijuana for any kind of use across the board. But if the past election has taught us anything, it’s that you never know what might happen. See more.