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Legalising Cannabis - America's Hottest Trend!
Cannabis market trends, states raking it in, Stoned Pizza and New York on a high!
Crazy Happy Pizza is Bangkok's newest pizza joint. Its pizza is served with a cannabis leaf on top. But it won't get you high. Thailand has strict laws around drugs for the Thais. Yet in the United States...
Leave it to New Yorkers to go hard core. Apparently Stoned Pizza (somewhere in the East Village) has been serving THC infused pizzas since 2017. Yep way before legalisation in 2021. And the new Governor, Ms. Hochul hasn't even allowed the first head shop, uh dispensary, to open officially but she's on the move to pass some laws to make weed pizza official. It's all on trend.
While the Christian Nationalists, oh sorry, Maga dudes, are busy celebrating the death of Roe v Wade, marijuana legalisation is on an inexorable state by state ride through the US. It is ultra-maga approved.
Medically speaking only 3 states in the US don't have a medical marijuana program. And a whopping 18 states, plus Washington DC and Guam, have legalised recreational use.
Most recent to open the doors on those dispensaries is New Jersey where lines formed like they were selling tickets for Harry Styles, or looking at the age of the customers maybe a Beetles reunification tour.
New York is the next one due to come on line (what took them so long?) and 6 more states are likely to pass legalisation this year. It’s beginning to feel like an unstoppable force. But why?
Advocates say all the right things - legalisation reduces crime, raises tax revenue, lowers criminal justice expenditures, improves public health, increases traffic safety, stimulates the economy and well it’s just fun!
Critics argue that legalisation spurs marijuana and other drug or alcohol use, increases crime, diminishes traffic safety, harms public health, and lowers teen educational achievement and well - they can't believe dancing is allowed (Footloose anyone) - so fun?
The reality is (using Colorado as a test case because they legalised in 2012 and they have the data and trends to analyse) marijuana legalisation does none of the above. There just isn't any real world data to support any of the claims on either side. Except for one.
Money of course!
Pro weed groups claimed tax revenue would increase. They predicted a couple of million dollars a month in Colorado. The anti weed side said money isn't important compared to the gateway being opened to...... sin? Lost potential? Having a laugh?
They were both wrong though. Tax revenue outperformed estimates in states where recreational use was allowed. In fact it blew past those estimates. California gets $50 million a month, Oregon - $10 million a month, Washington - $70 million a year and Colorado - $20 million a month. Unicorn states??
That's a horse everyone can ride. Maga or not. And they are. Initiatives are on the ballot and going up in state after state. And it's not just those pesky progressive states like New York and California. Florida, Ohio, are going for it this year. Mississippi passed it twice. And Oklahoma. Wow Oklahoma! Every other state progressive or conservative constructed licensing regimes and requirements for the sellers. Like regulations, man. Oklahoma, truly conservative and anti-reg, is a free for all. No limits on licenses, no holding back.
Even some advocates are shocked at the laissez fair approach. Although have you ever been to Oklahoma? Talk about wide open spaces. And not necessarily in a good way. Being stoned was a birth right there before legalisation. It's Texas without the big hats and the cowboy mythology. So they're gonna ride that horse as fast as they can.
That is until the Feds catch ‘em. Marijuana sales are still a federal crime. So a bit of a hitch in the giddyup as they say. But who's looking? I'll have an Oklahoma slice easy with the cheese but don't stint on the oregano.
That's the US ride on the cannabis train, but what's happening across the pond? Well, where the US goes… It’s rare the US follows anyone willingly but Canada has had legal weed for a long time now and Europe seems to have noticed North America's success, with legalisation and decriminalisation happening as we speak in Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Germany's new government got into power with legalisation on their platform and while the Tories are vehemently against it (they are conservatives after all) they are starting to notice the revenue boost hitting their friends across the pond, so who knows when they could loosen up. It might not be too long before the Sun newspaper starts sharing snaps of Prince Charles bonging it in his new ‘kitchen’ garden.
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