The legalization of cannabis has been anything but casual and low- key. For both sides it has been a heated debate. However, the plant is slowly, but surely, being approved in every state under the guise of responsible ‘medical marijuana use only’ with some states allowing it to be grown and sold. Pennsylvania has legalized it on the grounds of medical purposes without having the foresight to expand the number of related permits they will be issuing.
On January 17th of 2017, Pennsylvania Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy stated that applications for grower/processor and dispensary permits will become available. The first approvals will be granted towards the end of June, leaving little time to prepare for the growing season. The state is divided into six regions with a limit of 2 grower/processor permits per region and 2-10 dispensary permits allowed, depending on the region. In total, 12 grower/processor permits and 27 dispensary permits will be issued. This will bring contention and division among individuals and groups all vying for these permits. Complaints and law suits should be expected to ensue.
In 2016, Arkansas, Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Florida legalized medical cannabis. Starting early 2017, Nevada will legalize pot for recreational use. The federal government has officially condemned cannabis citing its association with hard drug use, user abuse, and IQ being lowered. The official White House page has on it that Congress determined cannabis is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of it is a serious crime. Yet, on the same page, it has the information that Washington D.C. legalized cannabis for medical conditions.
‘Pot shops’ are an industry well underway with business owners profiting off the latest smoking trend in American culture. The overall economy may see some kind of boost, provided small businesses do well selling cannabis. Through songs and videos, rappers and other celebrities portray drug use as cool. A yearning of the youth to imitate a rich and famous person’s lifestyle may cause them to think they could have it by engaging in smoking or selling pot.
In the future, the effect cannabis has on health will definitely be under scrutiny, whether or not it is legalized across the United States, enough people are affected. More people may be treated by a doctor for chronic chest pain, anxiety, memory, perception, and focus issues. Amitoj Singh, study co-author and chief cardiology fellow at St. Luke’s University Health Network said in a statement, “…people need to know that marijuana may be harmful to the heart and blood vessels in some people.”
Some people who smoke pot have reported feeling the urge to eat which may inadvertently cause weight perception issues like bulimia. Also, other people feel sleepy after smoking cannabis which could lead to laziness, ultimately effecting many areas of their life. Smoking cigarettes used to be allowed in public places, but now smoking has been restricted to ‘designated smoking areas’ because it is carcinogenic. Cannabis may face a similar fate.