The 1970s brought with it a decade of peace, love and smoking marijuana. The stereotype of hippies lighting joints was later replaced with images of stoners lying around in their parent’s basements. The image of a pothead wasn’t a very positive one.
Then in 1999, a government sponsored study by the Institute of Medicine found a number of beneficial properties to cannabis, and the perception of marijuana began to change.
In April, a CBS News poll found that 61% of Americans think cannabis should be legal, and 88% favor medical marijuana use. And congress is listening. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana measures and eight states have made recreational use legal.
The shift in the perception of cannabis comes as more research is done on its benefits. A study published by the Molecular Cancer Therapeutics found that cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to prevent cancer from spreading by turning off a gene called Id-1. Cannabis studies have also shown it helps prevent Alzheimer’s, treat glaucoma, relieve arthritis, control seizures and symptoms of Dravet’s disease, and help with Crohn’s disease.
For many children with leukemia, CBD oil helps reduce the nausea and pain of treatment. There are hundreds of stories of desperate parents turning to CBD oil and finding remarkable improvements in the health of their child.
Marijuana is also helping battle the opioid epidemic. An NBC News article titled “Legalized Marijuana Could Help Curb the Opioid Epidemic, Study Finds,” described a decrease in opioid prescriptions and overdoses of up to 25% in states where medical marijuana is legal. As the epidemic increases, with nearly 100 Americans dying per day, treatment centers are looking to cannabis to battle addiction.
The cannabis industry is changing as well. Today, entrepreneurs, medical professionals and businesses are recognizing the many ways cannabis can help the country. The legal cannabis industry is currently worth from $8 to $10 billion, but the unregulated cannabis industry is estimated to be worth between $100 and $200 billion. A February 2017 Forbes Magazine article projected that it will create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. That’s more than the jobs expected in manufacturing, utilities or the government.
There are still a number of hurdles facing the cannabis industry. I founded Amercanex after recognizing the need for a transparent tracking infrastructure that would increase public health and safety. Our marketplace helps protect both the consumer and business owner by tracking cannabis from seed to sale, creating price transparency and operating at true market pricing.
These safety measures are badly needed. Because cannabis has been largely unregulated for years, there is no track record of government oversight and protection.
That is about to change. As public support and passage of medical and recreational laws continue to grow, the thousands of senior citizens, children, medical and recovery patients who have been helped, have become the new faces of cannabis.
Steve Janjic is CEO of Amercanex, founded to provide a transparent, neutral and non-manipulated marketplace for institutional cannabis-industry participants, including growers and retailers. The company, an online marketplace for the rapidly growing industry, strictly adheres to the centralized regulatory and reporting requirements of local and regional regulatory authorities.
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