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New Bill to Legalize Marijuana a Step in Creation of a Million Jobs

Topics: Current Events
Marijuana Leaf
Image Credit: Pexels / Michael Fischer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today proposed a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level, an encouraging sign for the cannabis industry, and a move that potentially readies the U.S. economy for the addition of a million new jobs.

Happy 4/20, everybody.

April 20 is the unofficial holiday of stoner culture, although – as the taboo around the drug fades and increasing numbers of states legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana – it’s becoming more official every year.

“4/20” is code for, “‘‘let’s get high after school,” according to a report on the origin of the phrase from the Boston Globe.

Legalize It

Recreational Cannabis is currently legal in nine states and The District of Columbia. At a federal level, however, cannabis is listed as a Schedule I illegal drug, creating a conflict with the states where it has been declared legal.

But on this highest of high holy days for cannabis users everywhere, Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is proposing a bill to legalize cannabis at the federal level, a move that could – should the bill become law — inject over a million jobs into the US labor market by 2025, according to a report from New Frontier Data.

Sales of legal cannabis in North America totaled roughly $10 billion in 2017 — a 33 percent increase over 2016 — and the market is expected to reach $24.5 billion by 2021.

It’s High Time

“The time has come to decriminalize marijuana,” said Schumer. “My thinking — as well as the general population’s views — on the issue has evolved, and so I believe there’s no better time than the present to get this done. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

The bill is expected to encounter resistance from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an outspoken critic of marijuana legalization. During the Obama administration, the “Cole Memo” essentially directed federal prosecutors to adopt a “policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws.” But Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo in January of this year, causing many in the cannabis industry to fear a federal crackdown may be imminent.

After Schumer’s announcement today, however, perhaps the government is planning to be more closely aligned with the American people, 64 percent of whom think marijuana should be legal.

To learn more about jobs in the recreational cannabis industry, read PayScale’s report, Jobs in Emerging Industries.

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