This week, things are going so well for weed that Colorado dispensaries are selling out of the stuff like Furbies in holiday ’99. After a killer New Year’s Day that saw over a million dollars in cannabis sales, multiple sources reported that the first state to legalize weed couldn’t keep up with demand. While this is actually kind of a good thing, demonstrating that weed can be a powerful economic stimulator, it also signals that the current law forcing dispensaries to grow 70% of what they sell might not be workable in the long run. Legal, independent growers all over Denver are waiting for the tipping point that will allow them to cash in on the reality of legal weed, where currently only relatively large businesses can play.
Speaking of tipping points, a thoughtful and sobering piece from the online strain encyclopedia Leafly reminds us that the accelerating trickle of legalization that we’re witnessing in the US is only the beginning, and that the federal government could create obstacles at any point on the path. Obama has clearly stated that he’ll stay hands-off, but the path to full legalization in the US will almost certainly stretch beyond his presidency.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t see a lot more change in the next two years. An advocate organization in Alaska, where medical cannabis is legal and there is overwhelming support for recreational legalization, submitted 45,000 signatures to initiate a ballot vote this summer. That number may not make a dent in New York or California, but in one of our nation’s least populous states, it says a lot.
Things aren’t moving quite as quickly just across the Atlantic. A recent poll in Germany showed a strong majority against easing restrictions on cannabis. Only 29% of Germans surveyed support legalization while 65% oppose it. Meanwhile in the US, public support for cannabis is soaring, with dramatically diminishing belief in the myths that have historically surrounded it. Germany is a long way from regulating cannabis, or alcohol apparently, considering they just saw a record number of teens hospitalized as a result of binge drinking.
At least some European nations are warming up to cannabis. After France legalized medical cannabis earlier this year, the country’s health ministry just allowed Sativex, a pharmaceutical containing delta 9 THC and cannabidiol to treat the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Again, it’s a gradual start that may see its share of obstacles, but a start nevertheless.