The US Drug Enforcement Agency recently announced plans to expand cannabis research after a prolonged delay.
The DEA said it hopes to receive a variety of compelling research about marijuana after the agency relaxed cannabis restrictions and delisted CBD, or cannabidiol, from the Schedule 1 list last year.
It is important to note, however, that the cannabis plant itself is still a Schedule 1 drug. CBD, meanwhile, is a compound found within the hemp plant, which itself falls within the cannabis family.
Previously, cannabis research was heavily limited as there were only a few researchers who were allowed to cultivate and provide cannabis for medical purposes. However, over the past several years, many researchers have delivered uplifting results from clinical trials that proved cannabis is a reliable and effective medical treatment.
Relaxing cannabis restrictions
Now, medical cannabis is predominantly being used to alleviate symptoms associated with afflictions such as chronic pain, cancer, and epilepsy. The positive data has even led many US states to legalise medical cannabis.
As of 2019, there were 33 states and the District of Columbia that have already moved to relax cannabis restrictions by legalisingunited states medical cannabis. In general, the US was one of the earliest adopters of medical cannabis when California first legalised medical use in 1996.
Since then, a number of countries such as Australia, Colombia, Germany, France, Spain, Thailand, and South Korea have all been influenced by the data and have also moved to legalise medical cannabis.
As a result, the global legal marijuana market is expected to reach USD $146.4bn (~€132.62bn) by 2025 while registering a CAGR of 34.6%, according to data compiled by Grand View Research.
Over the past several years, the cannabis industry has reached several milestones to almost completely redefine itself. In particular, most legislation passed was strictly for CBD applications, however, individual states in the U.S. have also moved to pass their own cannabis legislation as well. Notably, the US passed the Farm Bill in 2018 which essentially federally legalised hemp-derived CBD products.
Shortly afterward, many retailers began to stock CBD products on shelves as well as on e-commerce platforms. Moreover, Michigan and Illinois passed ballots to legalize recreational cannabis. And both markets are expected to witness immense revenue growth in their first year.
For example, Michigan is projected to bring in annual sales of USD 949 Million after the market is fully established in 2020, according to the state House Fiscal Agency.
On the other hand, Marijuana Business Daily projects that Illinois’ recreational cannabis program, which will launch in early 2020, could generate upwards of USD 2.5bn a year. To put it into perspective, Colorado, which legalised recreational cannabis in 2014, reported USD 1.54 Billion in annual cannabis sales in 2018.
Misconceptions and steroetypes
Overall, the forecasts for Michigan and Illinois highlight that the misconceptions and stereotypes revolving around cannabis are beginning to fade amongst the public. Researchers are continually releasing data and clinical trials that proves cannabis is a major economic growth factor as well as a breakthrough treatment within the healthcare industry.
Tyler Stratford, Director of Client Operations for cannabis consulting firm Canna Advisors. Said: “The industry is at about 5 percent of what it will be someday.
“Even if the path forward isn’t straight, we’re certainly on a path forward. The tide has changed, and there’s no turning it back now.”
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