California’s Proposition 64 Could Signal Next Leg Of National Medical Marijuana Journey
From the perspective of the Big Four accounting/consulting firms, there is always a disruptive technology making headlines and creating the pathway to new profits. Considering recent examples like the cloud, data analytics and even emerging AI capabilities makes even the most hardened CEO open to new possibilities.
However, the latest entry into this field might harken them back to their college days rather than their mature years in the boardroom. Medical marijuana has been okayed for use with specific conditions in 25 states and Washington D.C. The growing popularity of this legal pot in helping alleviate various medical situations, as well as the burgeoning industry it has created in places like California where ground has even been broken on cultivating facilities, has made this leafy green substance most of us are familiar with a real business possibility.
First off, it’s important to stay balanced when you’re talking about the benefits of legalized marijuana for medical uses because, as a recent issue of Time magazine pointed out, there is a large gap between antidotal incidents and the much-needed scientific proof that it actually works.
What makes marijuana very hard to study the fact that is a still a Schedule 1 drug and gathering empirical evidence is continually handicapped by legalities. Still there are some arguments that make keeping a package of zigzags in your top pocket a good idea as the evidence comes in. For example:
- Around 20 years ago scientists found a portion of the human brain that responded to around 60 chemicals that are found in marijuana. This endocannabinoid framework is central to many of the body’s important systems including the nervous and reproductive systems as well as the heart. Many scientists and medical marijuana aficionados considered this the jumping off point for further research .
- Although there have been many studies done, and there is some reason to believe that medical marijuana helps to alleviate the negative effects of the pain caused by common diseases like multiple sclerosis, very few have followed any kind of clinical trial.
Medical professionals like Michael Bostwick, MD, don’t necessarily reject the possibility that medical marijuana can really help people, but he points out that because most of the studies have fewer than 200 patients, more work needs to be done.
However, that hasn’t stopped the medical marijuana industry from rolling forward and putting together its own infrastructure. Last year, the city of Adelanto in California passed an ordinance that made it possible for medical marijuana cultivation in the town and later that year 25 permits were issued. Recently, the ground was broken on a new facility that will hire up to 90% of its workforce from local residents.
Despite the obstacles that medical marijuana is facing from the government bureaucracy and a lack of proper study, the FDA is has been swayed enough to approve three drugs that are made from this plant. There have also been a few political battles that have broken in favor of medical marijuana. For instance, Congress passed a law in 2014 that prevented federal agents from raiding medical marijuana grow operations in states where it is considered legal.
Although there isn’t any one government agency or regulatory body that studies the effects of medical marijuana, some research points to the fact that Alzheimer’s patients are less agitated after treatment and that in fact chemicals derived from cannabis called the cannabinoids have shown some possibilities to slow breast cancer and other types of tumors.
Cannabinoids: The Next Step?
However the research and legalities play out, medical marijuana has found a niche in the public consciousness and market. Even California is considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use under Proposition 64 to be voted on Nov 8. Although marijuana is illegal by federal statutes, Washington does not generally interfere in states where their citizens grow transport and use small amounts of the drug.
If the innovation surrounding medical marijuana is any indication, a giant economic boom is on the horizon. In anticipation of more relaxed rules, online stores are selling Cannabidiol (CBD), a derivative of other cannabis products without large concentrations of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that causes the high.
Many medical marijuana aficionados are saying these CBD’s might be a game changer for the entire industry, that they may in fact be able to sway over any lawmakers who are holding back.
Perhaps one of the best-known non-empirical tests to see if a product is gaining public trust is whether people will feed it to their pets. Along with the burgeoning industry and medical marijuana in general and CBD’s specifically, there is a new offshoot that sells Pet CBD products.