Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is the latest politician to jump on the cannabis bandwagon.
The senior Democratic senator from New York state plans to introduce legislation to decriminalize cannabis. His proposed bill would remove weed from the 1970 list of scheduled substances, which includes heroin and cocaine.
The senator even proposes government funding for women and minority-owned cannabis startups and businesses.
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Now, Schumer isn’t the only politician to support cannabis.
A couple weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill to permanently decriminalize hemp. NPR called this a “baby step” toward full legalization of cannabis.
Meanwhile, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado has played a big role influencing the about face within the Trump administration.
Earlier this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed federal attorneys to enforce cannabis laws in states that had legalized pot.
Gardner responded with threats to hold up Department of Justice nominations until the attorney general changed his position. By strong-arming the Trump administration, Gardner was able to get assurances from the president.
On April 13, Gardner reported that he’d struck a deal. “President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all. Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”
These changes in Washington pave the way for full legalization across the U.S. Bipartisan support on Capitol Hill – plus assurances that the president and attorney general won’t get in the way – meaning this industry will continue to grow and new cannabis startups will emerge.
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$10 Billion Industry
A new report from ArcView Market Research says that cannabis sales hit $10 billion in 2017.
That’s a 33% increase from the total sales in 2016.
Analysts at the research firm expect growth to accelerate this year. That’s largely due to California recreational sales, plus the impact of a full year of recreational sales in Nevada (the state allowed sales beginning on July 1).
The firm now expects the U.S. cannabis market to grow to $24.5 billion within four years.
Today, the black market for weed is estimated to be $50 billion. As more states legalize recreational use, those illegal sales are moving to legal businesses.
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