With growing acceptance of the medical and non-medical uses of marijuana, the industry is moving towards regulation. The varied and sometimes contradictory federal and state laws regarding marijuana and its legality, as well as overlapping jurisdictions make the field of cannabis law a complex one. Marijuana business lawyers with knowledge of business law and marijuana legalization are well placed to advise and help businesses in this area.
A rapidly growing industry
With medical use of marijuana approved by 23 states and Washington D.C., and marijuana use decriminalized in 16 states and Washington D.C., the marijuana industry is posed to grow. Washington and Colorado states have taken the first steps anywhere in the world towards regulating the production and distribution of marijuana.
With all these changes, revenues are expected to grow. The 2016 sales forecast for legal marijuana is about $6 billion. The legal changes are the result of changing social attitudes, as people become better informed about the medical benefits of marijuana. For businesses wanting to tap into the industry’s growth potential, it is essential to get advice and guidance from marijuana business lawyers.
Changing social attitudes
Popular support for the medical use of marijuana is at an all-time high at 80%. Polls also show that anywhere between 46 and 58% of the population in the U.S. believes that marijuana use should be regulated. And more than half, or 57% of Americans would not mind seeing a legal marijuana business in their neighborhood.
These changing attitudes are the result of research, based on which Americans believe that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana. Alcohol and tobacco are more addictive and have serious adverse health consequences.
However, in states like Arizona and Louisiana marijuana use and possession are still illegal and carry lengthy prison sentences. The challenges for businesses looking to tap into the legal marijuana industry are obvious. While it is no longer criminal in many states, federal law still considers the entire industry to be illegal. Specialist marijuana business lawyers can help and advise businesses on how to deal with this tricky maze of contradictory regulations.
A tangle of regulations
The differing social attitudes are reflected in the legal ambiguity surrounding the marijuana industry. While a number of states have legalized medical marijuana and others have decriminalized all marijuana use, the business remains 100% illegal under federal law. Cannabis attorneys know that all actors in the industry, including growers, processors and dispensers face many disadvantages because of this.
Industry actors are not eligible for bankruptcy protection and their contracts and leases may not be enforced by the courts. Business expenses cannot be deducted on Federal tax forms. However, marijuana business lawyers can help those looking to join this rapidly expanding industry.
As the industry grows, cannabis law groups are helping businesses to find their feet while tapping into the rapid expansion the industry is currently undergoing. Marijuana business lawyers can help businesses navigate these complex regulations in order to benefit from their participation in an industry that had the potential for very high revenues.