• Evan Orth

Fate of Medical Marijuana in the Face of Conservative Politics


It is no great stretch of the imagination to

say that Colorado possesses one of—if not

the—most advanced cannabis markets in

the world. With total sales in the Mile High

State reaching $1.3 billion in 2016, there is

very little to shake a stick at when it comes

to this burgeoning industry’s ability to generate

revenue.

With a yearly revenue number that contains

nine zeroes, the federal government is officially

interested, as well as the twenty-nine

states that have various medical programs

and the eight with recreational programs

currently running or soon to come.

While no small deviance from federal law,

the threat of federal interaction from the

Trump Administration seems to loom most

heavily on Coloradans who enjoy the benefits

of a well-established system.

Although Trump has been somewhat outspoken

on his support for medical cannabis,

the ominous words of Press Secretary

Sean Spicer foreseeing “greater enforcement”

of recreational systems have rung

through the minds of many people in the

industry.

Suffice it to say, there are mixed feelings

from those employed, employing and

those simply enjoying. From conversations

I’ve had personally, the sentiments seem to

range anywhere from “we have nothing to

worry about” or “we will adapt” to “I’m

happy I can grow my own” or “rec is

screwed, so get your med card.”

Although Gov. Hickenlooper is widely derided

for one reason or another, perhaps

for being outspoken against cannabis, he

recently stated: “This isn’t the time to pull

back on this experiment.”

And for once, I concur.

But the future of medical marijuana

seems to be in flux. Provided a crackdown

on the recreational market occurs

and the cannabis industry presses the

legislative red button to convert their

stocks to medical, what will that mean

for medical cannabis?

Will the cataclysmic flooding of the

market mean a boost in the number of cards

issued? Or will the absurdly bolstered

supply outweigh the demand of medical

consumers? Unfortunately, there’s no

way to know for certain.

The most poignant question remains

whether such a switch would lead to a

strengthened medical program, allowing

most people access to their cannabis.

I would like to think that a hypothetical

cessation of the recreational program

would lead to a loosening of restrictions

to getting one’s medical card. Not so

much as to make a medical card available

to all everyone who wants it, but

enough so that the businesses don’t collapse

from having to short sell their inventories

of medical-only cannabis to a

slowly expanding market.

With so much of the legal climate changing

both at the federal and state level, I

cannot help but raise my eyebrows and

watch with removed concern as we of

the cannabis industry continue to

commit federal crimes by simply coming

to work.


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