Cannabis History

An understanding of the subspecies of the cannabis plant is imperative for a well-rounded comprehension of the history of cannabis and the role it plays in today’s modern era. Cannabis sativa, often described as “marijuana,” has psychoactive properties. On the contrary, Cannabis sativa L., commonly referred to as “hemp,” is a non-psychoactive form of cannabis. Further psychoactive species of cannabis are found in Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. Notably, however, Cannabis ruderalis is rarely used recreationally due to low Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content; these strains are high in the cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD), and hence are often used by medical users. Cannabis has often been described as a plant that follows humans. It is perhaps for this reason that the history of cannabis is extensive and dates back thousands of years. In fact, widespread belief exists that Bible verses such as Genesis 1:29-31, which states “[b]ehold, I have given you...Full Text

Current State of Affairs

In a recent CNN interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta as part of "Weed 3", President Barack Obama was asked “[t]here is a bill on the floor of the Senate now, proposing that marijuana get rescheduled from Schedule 1 (I) to Schedule 2 (II) – saying it has no medicinal benefit to possible medicinal benefit. Do you support that?” President Obama responded: You know, I think I'd have to take a look at the details, but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public-health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be. The significance of this statement by President Obama should not be underestimated; it is indicative of the constantly changing attitudes towards medical and recreational cannabis regulation across the nation. Currently, 23 states and... Full Text

Cannabis Politics and Overview of Bills in Congress

Attitudes towards cannabis have transformed substantially across the U.S. Support for cannabis legalization is rapidly outpacing opposition; 53 percent of Americans believe cannabis should be made legal, compared with 44 percent supporting illegality of cannabis. However, not all segments of society support legalization. Approximately 39 percent of Republicans support legalization, compared to 63 percent of Democrats. Opposition to legalization is much higher among those aged 65 and older, and among Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites or blacks.49 Majorities across nearly all partisan and demographic groups believe possession of small amounts of cannabis should not result in jail time. Furthermore, approximately 69 percent of Americans believe alcohol...Full Text

Market Size

The Colorado cannabis market is estimated to consume between 104.2 and 157.9 metric tons (MT) per year, accounting for Colorado residents and visitors.75 These numbers have been suggested using demand- and supply-oriented models limiting scope only to those aged 21 and over, although use among under-21s is widespread. Notably, demand-oriented formulae have been favored across the board for various reasons, including the lack of availability of data when using a supply-side approach. For this reason, discussions of this segment will adhere to a demand-based approach. In a demand-oriented approach, the number of users and the quantity of cannabis consumed by various users are estimated over a specified period of time, typically one month. Users are then subdivided based on frequency of use per month. Furthermore, the quantity demanded is tallied based upon dosage estimates, which can vary widely. Whilst frequency of cannabis use is easily ascertainable from survey reports, quantities consumed are...Full Text

Obstacles Faced by the Industry

Banking is likely the single most precarious issue for the legal cannabis industry. Since cannabis is still listed under CSA as a Schedule 1 (I) substance, it remains a federal-level crime to use, possess, and distribute it. This triggers anti-money laundering laws for banks. The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), enforced by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), requires banks to monitor customer accounts for suspicious activity associated with crime and terrorism. BSA requires banks to investigate their customers thoroughly and neither negligently nor knowingly conduct business with those acting illegally. FinCEN requires that financial institutions file Suspicious Activity reports (SAR) with the federal government when they know or suspect that an account holder is...Full Text