The cannabis industry has come a long way, from being considered a taboo subject to being integrated into mainstream discussions, policies, and businesses. With the legalization of cannabis in some parts of the world, such as Canada and some states in the USA, the industry has experienced explosive growth, attracting millions of investors, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. In this article, we explore how the cannabis industry has risen from the shadows to become a thriving and legitimate industry in contemporary times.
The Early Years
Throughout history, cannabis has been used for medicinal, ceremonial, and recreational purposes. However, in the 20th century, the substance gained notoriety as a “gateway drug” and was heavily criminalized in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The act classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and cocaine, indicating its high potential for abuse and lack of medical benefits.
Despite its prohibition, the cannabis industry continued to flourish through the black markets, generating more than $150 billion in global sales each year. According to Statista, the global cannabis market was worth $17.5 billion in 2019, with North America being the largest market.
The Rise of Legalization
In the past decade, many countries and states have overturned the criminalization of cannabis, instituting new laws and regulations for its production, distribution, and consumption. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states in the US to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, sparking a wave of similar legislation across the country.
The legalization of cannabis has had far-reaching effects on various sectors of society, including healthcare, agriculture, tourism, and criminal justice. It has also opened the doors for entrepreneurs to explore the vast opportunities in the cannabis industry, including cultivation, processing, retail, and technology.
Current State of the Industry
The cannabis industry is currently in a phase of rapid expansion, with businesses of all sizes competing for market share. The sector is creating new jobs, generating tax revenue, and supporting research into the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Medical cannabis has also gained more recognition as an alternative treatment for chronic pain, anxiety, epilepsy, and many other ailments. Patients are increasingly turning to cannabis as a safer and more effective means of managing their symptoms, which has spurred more research and investment in the development of medical cannabis products.
Moreover, the rapid growth of the industry has led to the emergence of various cannabis-related businesses, such as online cannabis marketplaces, cannabis delivery services, and cannabis lifestyle brands. These businesses are catering to the changing demands of consumers and contributing to the normalization of cannabis in society.
The cannabis industry has transformed from a taboo subject to a mainstream industry that is gaining recognition globally. With more countries and states legalizing cannabis, the industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory, creating jobs, stimulating economic activity, and revolutionizing healthcare practices. As the industry evolves, it will be interesting to see how it impacts other industries and society as a whole.