America has prohibited cannabis at the federal level for decades, prosecuting and sentencing people with cannabis-related convictions harshly. Even though dozens of states have now legalized cannabis and several lawmakers are working on federal legalization bills, it is unlikely that marijuana will be federally legalized any time soon.
However, drug-reform activists and industry stakeholders will be glad to know that a significant percentage of the American population supports federal legalization. A recent poll by CBS News revealed that two-thirds of U.S. citizens would like cannabis to be legal at both the state and federal levels.
Additionally, most people said that they wouldn’t mind having a licensed cannabis business in their community. At the moment, 18 states have legalized recreational cannabis while 37 states allow medical marijuana.
The House has passed a bill that would federally legalize cannabis and launch a legal market several times, but the bill has repeatedly failed to advance past the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is also planning on formally unveiling a cannabis legalization bill before the August recess, but it is unlikely to advance past the Senate without the support of GOP senators.
One reason for the public’s general support for marijuana legalization could be financial interest. The cannabis market is insanely lucrative, generating billions of dollars in sales and filling up state coffers with millions in tax revenue.
A significant portion of the taxes derived from cannabis sales has been invested in community programs that help the disadvantaged as well as communities that were disproportionately affected by the drug war. The cannabis industry is also a major job creator and has employed more than 300,000 people.
According to the CBS News poll, three in ten (30%) Americans opposed the idea of having a legal recreational cannabis business in their neighborhoods. Expectedly, most of these folks were also opposed to the idea of legalizing recreational cannabis in the first place. In addition, 36% of those who were polled said they didn’t care either way. Most of those who revealed that they use cannabis (37% of Americans) were even more supportive of legalizing the plant and didn’t mind having a cannabis business in their neighborhoods.
Only a small portion of those who said they don’t use cannabis supported legalization. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t support cannabis reform as strongly as those who said they use cannabis and were not as enthusiastic about a cannabis business pitching a tent in their communities.
Even so, most of them were generally in favor of cannabis legalization or said they didn’t care much about the issue. Such opinions in favor of legalization raise the hopes of the entire cannabis industry, including companies such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF), that public pressure could gradually mount and force the federal government to act on this issue.
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