Recent Cannabis legalization (both recreational and medicinal) has decreased black market cannabis sales to a great extent.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published 2020 World Drug Report which revealed that Cannabis is the most controlled drug. However, the illegal use of Cannabis has fallen to its lowest level in two decades in 2018. The 2020 Drug Report attributed this to the vast legalization of Cannabis in North America.
The 2020 World Drug Report
According to this report, the emergence of regulated markets in North America is the major reason why police seizures on the black market have decreased by 84%. This report revealed positive changes in the attitude of people in North America. However, at the same time it showed that the illegal sale of cannabis has skyrocketed in Asia, Africa and South America.
Countries like Afghanistan and Morocco are primary suppliers of illegal Cannabis. The trend of use of illegal cannabis is increasing in the developing countries. In2019, 2.2% of the crime cases in the U.S. were drug cases with cannabis as the primary drug type. Currently, 40,000 prisoners are serving their sentence in prison for Cannabis related crimes.
Black Marketing of Marijuana
Even though marijuana was illegal a few decades back but its sale in black market cannabis sales has always existed. Black marketing of marijuana goes back to centuries and has not ceased to date. Many countries including Finland, Malta, Peru, Uganda, England, Poland, Turkey and Netherlands have decriminalized the use of marijuana, it is still a taboo in many other parts of the world. This is the major reason that black marketing of marijuana is still prevalent.
If seen in depth, the legalization of marijuana can bring potential good to the economy and people. Recent researches on marijuana have proved its usefulness in many segments of life. It not only alleviates anxiety but also decreases the frequency of seizures of epilepsy. It has proven to improve the condition of patients suffering from depression, PTSD and insomnia. Medical practioners prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients suffering from chronic arthitis and multiple sclerosis.
COVID-19 & CANNABIS
Marijuana is an excellent anti-inflammatory drug capable of treating breathing problems as severe as asthma. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties it is helpful in improving the condition of COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 patients on Cannabis reported speedy recovery with little to no breathing problems. It has proven efficient in improving the condition of patients on ventilators due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease which has taken more than half a million of precious lives while infecting more than 12 million people worldwide. It negatively impacted the economies while starving many people. The legalization of marijuana will create job opportunities for people unemployed due to COVID-19.
With the North America fervently legalizing the use of Cannabis, the Black Market is running out of business. It is great to see countries making money and boosting their economies with the revenue generated by the legitimate sale of marijuana.
Patient limit on caregivers entices mixed reactions among marijuana stakeholders
The Cannabis Control Commission of Massachusetts recently announced its policy to raise patient to caregiver ratios in the state. The establishment of this ratio has received different reactions from stakeholders in the marijuana industry whereby the response to the decision has been extremely varied.
The patient:nurse dispute of Massachusetts
The conflict of patient to nurse ratio has been an ongoing debate between marijuana stakeholders in the state of Massachusetts.
This equivocal matter has continued for more than two decades now. Consequently, these contentions have led to the conduction of an indirect initiated state statue in the region.
In 2018, Massachusetts was asked to participate in the Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative. The purpose of this was to get the opinion of the majority on the issue.
The results of this ballot showed that about 70.24% of the ballot participants were against patient assignment limits on caregivers.
This was a huge disappointment for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, whereby by a lack of limit was sighted as a an exploitation of caregivers. Likewise, a lack of limits is also a huge risk to the well-being of the patients which subsequently puts them in harm’s way.
In comparison to this, these results were much celebrated as a victory by the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association. The president, Steve Walsh was content with the creation of the MHHA program to address overburdened caregivers. These results had allowed hospitals to reduce their nursing staff, helping to keep their costs low.
Changing Marijuana Policies in Massachusetts
Massachusetts was among the first states to ban marijuana usage back in the day. In recent years, the state has witnessed marijuana policy revisions that have been monumental.
These years have seen a legalization of marijuana consumption at different levels across the state. 2014 allowed medicinal consumption, followed by subsequent recreational use permission in 2016.
Stakeholder groups like Cannabis Control Commission, Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance and Massachusetts Nurses Association were among the top most supporters of this legalization initiative.
The involvement of such well structured organizations had a massive impact on flexing marijuana policies. Their efforts finally made Massachusetts the eighteenth state to legalize the use of marijuana.
Marijuana patient limit : A Clash of interests of Stakeholders
The irony as of now is that following the public hearings held on August 3, there has been a clash of interests between the stakeholders of the marijuana industry in Massachusetts.
The reason? Contradictions relating to patient to caregiver ratios.
According to the new policies pertaining to medical marijuana usage, the patient to caregiver ratio would now be 10:1. This means that every Medical Marijuana treatment facility will have one caregiver for accommodating patient needs.
This new development has invited mixed reactions from different stake holders of the marijuana industry.
For stake holding groups like the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, the increased ratio of medical marijuana patients to caregivers is not only going to diminish the quality of care that each patient receives, but will also increase chances of an unregulated ‘gray market’ .
The reason for this being the authority marijuana care-givers will or already have as per state laws of the region. Furthermore, some Medical Marijuana facilities also have the approval to cultivate marijuana for their patients. This has become raise doubts regarding legal compliance and well will be carried out.
For the most part, the association supports multiple patients under caregivers, it is but it is particularly against the proposed limit number of ten patients. The only encouragement seen by this association is the expected reduction in marijuana costs for patients whereof caregivers will provide the drug at prices lower than pharma companies.
The current ratio of 10:1 is an encouraging figure for the nurses in the Medical Marijuana treatment centers. Consequently, it can act as a compensation to the previously faced defeat in Nurse-Patient Assignment Limits Initiative of 2018.
With further flexibility in marijuana laws, these facilities can expect an increased percentage of patients. Regulating them with limiting patient number per healthcare worker is surely going to be move in a positive direction.
New Marijuana Policy And The ‘Collective Awakening’
The impact that BLM has had on bringing about policy changes concerning marijuana is irrefutable. These new and relaxed marijuana policies can trigger undulating cumulative effects on American society as a whole. The policies have addressed racism, pointed loopholes in the law enforcement system, and targeted police brutality at the core.
These much-needed marijuana policy changes have given many new perspectives to the entire American nation, resulting in a ‘collective awakening‘.
With these changes in policies, governments, lawmakers and the general public are now seeing the true rationale behind the BLM movement. The question that remains unanswered is if this ‘collective awakening’ is going to flex marijuana policies at the federal level as well.
Black Lives Matter movement and its struggle
There comes a point in every realm’s history where an unfortunate event changes the destiny of its people. Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a similar struggle by African-Americans that will become a landmark in history for future generations, particularly due to its impact on the revision of marijuana policies.
This movement has successfully unearthed some major discrepancies in penal laws. It pinpoints racism as the major reason behind an over-zealous application of laws and disciplinary action against particular ethnicities.
Unfortunately, this unfair treatment has ignited some breakneck hatred and insecurity in large segments of the American population that needs to be taken seriously.
Impact of the Black Lives Matter Movement on marijuana policies
The protests carried out under the manifesto of the BLM movement have been substantially successful in softening marijuana laws.
To begin with, the proscription of marijuana has derived its roots from xenophobia itself. In 1910, the huge influx of Mexican immigrants enticed the criminalization of the previously legal marijuana usage.
Since then, marijuana users have been victims of racism, bigotry, and the undeniable aggressive use of force by police.
The flexibility in marijuana laws across different states in the country is a valuable move towards reducing these racial discrepancies. With these changes, cases of police brutality on the bases of the race will hopefully see a significant decline.
Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have pointed out that African-Americans have always been targets of harsher prosecutions. The convictions faced by their white country fellowmen are much lenient, despite more or less similar consumption rates.
According to researches published in theuncovery.org, a black person is almost four times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana than a white-skinned individual convicted of the same crime.
Almost 8 million arrests made in the country were related to marijuana possession between the years 2001 and 2010. This constituted about 88% of all arrests made during the period, with African-Americans making up the majority.
These figures clearly establish the changes that will occur in the prosecution and convictions following cannabis policy changes.
‘Collective Awakening’ through marijuana policies
Eradicating of past records related to cannabis crimes, widespread medicinal usage, and flexible recreational use are all examples of the steps taken by lawmakers towards ensuring a racially balanced society and fair law enforcement.
Marijuana-related crimes saw an estimated expenditure of $496 million during the years 2001 and 2010. The adjudication of cases relating to marijuana possession during the same period saw a disbursement of $1.4 million.
Without the recent policy changes, expenditures would have reached about $20 million in the upcoming years. Worthy projects like healthcare, education, and infrastructure will now benefit from the redirection of marijuana-related government expenditures.
However, the cracks created in the foundation of the society cannot be filled with this ‘collective awakening’ alone. There is a lot more that needs to be done across all levels to ensure equality and justice for all. It requires an across the board tolerance and acceptance of different ethnicities, religions, and sexuality.
What Does 2020 Hold For Marijuana Stocks?
The relaxation of marijuana-related laws across the USA has certainly increased investment prospects in marijuana stocks. With rising global interest in the market, the future of marijuana stocks holds promising results for investors.
This move has opened new opportunities for the venture portfolios of stakeholders in the market. If things move in the right direction, one can expect exceptional returns along with improvements in economic indicators.
Is 2020 a year of recession?
The year 2020 has seen unbridled economic uncertainty and changing trends in the stock market so far. After a slight recovery from the market crash that began in February, speculations of further bearish market trends have left investors, skeptical.
For some stakeholders, classifying this year as a period of recession is an early ruling. The National Bureau of Economic Research, however, has a contradicting verdict. It categorizes 2020 as a recessive year due to the unconventional drop in unemployment and production it triggered globally.
It is not surprising to see how the stock market is striving hard to recover from the recent unexpected blows. Investment opportunities offered by marijuana stocks can certainly help economies tolerate the effects of this partial recession. Many hope this year sees a shorter dip of growth as compared to the previous episodes of contraction.
Did marijuana stocks perform well in 2020?
Despite the pandemic, the trend in the growth of marijuana stocks has been encouraging in the past few months. This trend has made marijuana stocks a safe haven for investors who are hungry for higher returns on investments.
Part of this growth in marijuana stocks can be associated with the pandemic itself. People following SOPS are turning towards marijuana usage for recreational purposes, causing a spike in consumption.
The recent policy by 11 states permitting recreational marijuana usage is a big move that has spiked marijuana stock prices. In addition, 33 other states that permitted medicinal usage, has opened new windows for marijuana-related investments.
This decriminalization of marijuana has also become a new and attractive source of tax revenue for the government. According to Forbes, the state of Washington has generated around $319 million in cannabis tax revenue, while California and Colorado produced $ 300 million and $266 million respectively.
With the increasing burden of social benefits, these tax revenues may spike federal interest. This factor has also piqued the interest of stakeholders, as the marijuana industry has not only survived well but outperformed various sectors in this pandemic permeated year, making it a big source for job generation and tax revenues for the government.
This has been a much welcome change for ancillary companies like KushCo holdings Inc. The company has seen a massive growth of 130% since March of 2020, as compared to the previous losses of 45% in revenues. The company now stands on the hot list for investors, who are eyeing it as a profitable future investment.
Other companies like OrganiGram Holdings, Aurora Cannabis, Aphria, etc. are also making it to that list successfully. This can be associated with increased demands from countries like Poland, Germany, and Canada, which now allow recreational marijuana use.
Another less discussed factor that may probe spikes in marijuana stock prices is an increased diversion of the general public towards alternate medicine. There are speculations for the CBD market to grow to $1.3 billion by 2022 from a $390 million in 2018 according to New Frontier Data.
With big chain stores like Kroger, Wholefoods, and American Eagle showing interest in selling an extended range of CBD products, investors can expect the market for marijuana and its related derivatives to see a positive trend in growth rate, providing profitable investment prospective.
All in all, it can be deduced that the marijuana industry has a lot of potentials not only in the United States but also globally. This makes it a safe investment for stakeholders considering the market trends so far.
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