The cannabis industry hasn’t had it this good before in terms of acceptance and leverage. With the age and era of criminalization of cannabis easily becoming a thing of the past, most regions of the world are going along with the legalization of natural products. Though the federal government of the US still sees cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled drug, each state has the right to uphold its laws and they have done this to the fullest. With over 31 medical marijuana States and other legalizing recreational use, cannabis users and producers are bound to be smiling presently.
This is the situation in North Carolina where a new medical cannabis bill is being passed to open the way for better use of medical benefits of the natural product. Senate Bill 711 was pushed to the Finance Committee of the State on Wednesday, July 21 for vetting. This special bill seeks to open up doctors to the use of medical marijuana for conditions like PTSD, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. This is sure to be good news for persons in North Carolina as the passing of the bill could mean the answer to questions being asked by many.
In a recent poll involving North Carolina voters on the recreational and medical use of cannabis. 73 percent of the voters were in line with the use of medical cannabis while 54 percent agreed to recreational use. These statistics show that the majority of voters are not inclined to full open markets in the state. Unfortunately, the same opinion is not shared among lawmakers. Issues around legalization from the end of the lawmakers are more towards regulations. Most of them are in support of cannabis but with the responsibility of handling regulations for the industry on them, many are being cautious.
Cannabis markets in the US
The growth of the cannabis market is expanding maximally with different states having personalized laws and regulations to suit their region. Nonetheless, there are still concerns about the issuance of licenses, the banking side of things, and equity when it comes to regulations. States like Utah have had suits filed against the body in charge of issuing licenses based on bias and lack of equity for all parties seeking licenses. This, therefore, makes the job of providing an equal chance of licensing harder as some are likely to be seen to bribe their way out.
The potentials in cannabis markets cannot be denied both for the private producers and the revenue of the state itself. Some of the states that opened recently have skyrocketed in terms of revenue while some household names are already hitting landmarks. Florida for example made a whooping $1billion off its medical cannabis industry last year and Illinois is not far behind from reaching that figure. its recreational market this year. Altogether, the United States saw a 40 percent increase in sales in 2020 from the previous year which accounted for $15billion. This is astronomical considering some states are still shut completely to medical and recreational cannabis.
Senate Bill 711
With the benefits of open markets already seen, a closer look into Senate Bill 711 will show what North Carolina aims to achieve with the bill. This is a special bill as it does not just seek to legalize medical cannabis in the state alone, it plans to go a step further. Under the bill, 10 “seed-to-sale” providers will be in charge of all the processes of caabis production. This includes growing, packaging, and distributing cannabis. Each provider will also be given the right to four cannabis dispensaries across the state.
It is therefore obvious that lawmakers in the state are very particular about regulations and we cannot be surprised. This bill will offer limitations yet a great deal of competition is to be expected for those that will be the 10 initial providers. The possibility that recreational cannabis will also be legalized eventually in the state is all the incentives that most cannabis operators need to join the race. This means that the bill is bound to spell new times for cannabis use in North Carolina and also expand the scope of medicine in the state.
Testimonies for medical benefits of marijuana
The bill put forward by lawmakers in the state is premised on some testimonies from beneficiaries of medical marijuana. These lawmakers will still hear some of these testimonies before passing the bill to get firsthand info on what the natural product can do. NC families for Medical Cannabis played a huge part in collating these positive stories. The group is formed by a number of medical cannabis companies one of which is Roots Bioscience, a cannabis company dealing in hemp-based products.
With more positive stories and testimonies coming to the limelight, the road to passing the bill becomes smoother. The stories will bring different types of people to the table including patients, caregivers, and veterans. The goal of this is to have lawmakers understand the different classes of people that can be beneficiaries of the medical marijuana program.
For all the good this bill can do, there is still a huge question mark on some additions imposed on the bill especially from the angle of the industry. Most companies will be weighing their ability to raise revenue in such a new market especially with a 10 percent sales tax being pushed alongside the medical cannabis bill by the lawmakers. Naturally, the belief is that the extra money will be applied towards funding public education which is a positive from any Angel you want to look at it. Nonetheless, some cannabis companies will still want to be cautious with respect to how much revenue the industry could produce.
Despite the obvious issue with the revenue incentive, the good that can be done with the new medical bill in North Carolina should not be undervalued. In no time, the focus will be shifted to opening recreational markets which are bound to mean more revenue for involved cannabis companies within the state.