Since the 1990s, when California became the first state to declare the medical use of cannabis legal, over 30 other states have enacted similar legislation that either decriminalizes cannabis possession and use, legalizes recreational use, or legalizes medical use.
In more recent years, the cannabis industry has become far more normalized as a huge chunk of its activity has been able to separate itself from the unregulated black market. As such, investors from around the world have become increasingly interested in making legitimate investments in all sorts of cannabis companies and coalitions.
Just last year, for instance, more than $10 billion in capital outlays was divvied out to companies, individuals, and groups that have offered investment opportunities for causes hoping to make it big in the quickly-growing legal cannabis industry across the United States.
What's also new in the cannabis industry is that some of the world's largest brands are considering investing in the cannabis industry, such as Coca-Cola, a company that has publicly stated at least once that it is weighing decisions on investing in cannabis.
Another change to the domestic cannabis marketplace that's coming up is that most of the United States will support legalized, regulated cannabis industries on the state level for both medicinal and recreational use, also known as adult-use cannabis, which simply means people over a certain age in legalized states can purchase and use the psychoactive flower and its derivatives for any application they desire. Graham Boyd, the lead figure of the New Approach PAC (Political Action Committee), stated this a few months ago. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Illinois are all likely to see votes for legalized, adult-use cannabis before 2020 rolls around.
Currently, unfortunately, the modern cannabis market in states that have partially or wholly legalized the drug is filled with sketchy behavior, people, businesses, and practices. One of the major reasons for this is that cannabis is not yet legal on a federal level.
Most businesses are able to open bank accounts, credit cards, take out loans, and engage in a plethora of other types of commercial financing activities. However, since banks have to hold true to federal laws, they don't do business with cannabis-related companies because they're apprehensive of getting in trouble themselves.
Further, these cannabis companies could finally write off business expenses incurred in their cannabis-related lines of work to lower their taxes, thereby boosting economic growth. Lastly, these state-level businesses would be able to quit worrying about the likelihood of getting busted with criminal charges from federal government agencies.
The STATES Act, a piece of legislation put forward by Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren as part of a bipartisan effort to get rid of federal consequences stemming from cannabis-related offenses.
For example, all entities that are operating within their state's rules and regulations would be eligible for getting a break from potential federal charges if they were to be brought against them or had already been brought against them prior to the potential passing of the STATES Act.