10.05.2015 Author: Valery Kulikov

“Devil’s Weed” is Getting Legal in the US

DevilWeedThere’s been a number of reports lately concerning an unprecedented growth of drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan that manifested itself during the ongoing US military campaign in this country. The stated reasons are a plenty including voiced concerns of the US military personel’s involvement in this phenomenon. However, according to recent studies, this “business” is actively supported by Washington not only abroad, but also in the United States.

Under the direct influence of the Wall Street business circles that are only concerned about their own profits, legal marijuana trade has become the fastest growing sector of the US economy. If the ongoing attempts on the legalization of this drug in all the 50 states of the US should be carried on, in the coming years marijuana trade would leave the organic food industry behind.

A year ago a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives and a Democrat Earl Blumenauer said that the ban on marijuana will become a thing of the past within the next five years, while the volume of legal marijuana industry in the country will hit the staggering 10 billion dollars by 2018. It is believed that recreational marijuana use in the states that have already legalized it can generate up to 47 billion dollars of profit for drug businesses.

Voters in some regions of the United States have already decided to legalize marijuana use in such states as Colorado and Washington where local inhabitants insisted that they need a legal permission to use marijuana not only for medicinal purposes, but also “for the fun of it”, recreational marijuana stores can now as well be found in the states of Oregon and Alaska. Los Angeles authorities have even opened the first farmer’s market for the sale of marijuana last year.

Analysts from research and investment company The ArcView Group from Oakland (CA) have recently confirmed that the US marijuana market grew by 74% in 2014 in comparison with the previous year and reached 2.7 billion this year, it is possible that it will grow by additional 32% in 2015. This trend will be intensified by the fact that in the near future up to 14 more states are going to legalize marijuana for recreational use. As the CEO of the research team and ArcView Group’s CEO Troy Dayton stated, it is difficult to imagine that any serious businessman that followed the growth of marijuana industry is not thinking about the opportunities of this market. In this regard, as predicted by the ArcView Group, by 2019  the legal marijuana market in the US alone could reach 11 billion dollars while the potential growth of the industry will be constrained by the states that would refuse to say yes to marijuana. Should all 50 states legalize marijuana for recreational use the total market value of the business will reach a whooping sum of 36.8 billion dollars, surpassing the organic food market by 3 billions. The new “gold rush” is getting even more people in, leading to the creation of such institutions a “school of marijuana” or, as it is officially called – Northeastern Institute of Cannabis in Natick, Massachusetts, which will recruit students to let them explore the opportunities of this business.

This sector “economy” is now actively explored by a former governor of New Mexico and a US presidential candidate Gary Johnson, who has recently been appointed CEO of a company engaged selling marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. According to the former governor, after 2016 at least 25 states will be compelled to legalize marijuana.

According to the national broadcaster NBC one in ten Americans is getting high in his workplace, while 10% of small businesses made it clear back in 2013 to insurance companies that they are employing habitual users of “light drugs”.

In these conditions no one is going to be surprised by the recent report published by Reuters stating that a federal study revealed that the number of deaths from drug abuse in the United States has tripled in a period of less than three years. In 2010, the highest rates of deaths due to heroine overdoses was among middle-aged black Americans, but in 2013 white residents aged 18 to 44 years were to die from heroine more frequently.

Although it is widely known that the US military serving overseas in many countries are getting used to the regular use of drugs (especially in areas of active fighting, as well as in Afghanistan and several countries in South-East Asia), the access they have to marijuana in the United States has been a concern for their superiors. As a result, a number of military bases sent official letters of warning to  retail marijuana stores saying that they should not sell their products to US soldiers.

The ongoing steps that the US authorities take to legalize drugs have already begun affecting local law enforcement and intelligence agencies. According to The Raw Story report, FBI is having a hard time finding programmers that are not getting high. In support of this statement the site is citing the statement of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI James Comey, who acknowledged that the bureau will be forced to revise its zero tolerance policy towards habitual drug users since it cannot find drug-free programmers for a total of 2000 vacant spots. The existing regulations in FBI that prohibit the employment of anyone who used marijuana in the last three years are now going to be revised.

Thus, representatives of political and business circles of the United States on the path of drug legalization demonstrate to the world that is not the health and welfare of their people they are concerned about, but only their greed and the promotion of a new “gold rush” that are not simply risking to destroy the whole American population in a poisoning smoke, but also other states where Washington is pushing its “American-style democracy” foward along with its new “businesses”. Thus, the draft law on the legalization of marijuana will soon be first submitted to the German Bundestag by a “Greens” party , reported Spiegel Online. As for the Canadian army, as reported by the TV channel CTV News, it is now getting high not only on marijuana but also on cocaine.

So with a “light hand” Washington’s “golden rush” in a form of a new “drug fever” began its trip across the world. Should we be able to stop it – depends on us!

Valery Kulikov, political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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