While some believe the chances of more states legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in 2014 are slim, they concede that it’s likely more states will legalize cannabis for medical use this year.
As of Jan. 14, there are six new states considering legalizing the use of medical cannabis. They include New York, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. More could follow as state legislators throughout the country convene.
However, marijuana advocates argue that every new state that embraces medical cannabis represents a major fissure in the wall against its eventual across-the-board legalization.
Currently, only Colorado and Washington sanction the purchase of marijuana for recreational use, but already 20 states including Massachusetts and California have legalized the use of medical marijuana, which has the potential to be a 3 billion-dollar business in 2014 (*see two companies below).
This reality leads some industry observers to side with advocates’ predictions that it’s only a matter of time before more states will follow, fueling the momentum for full legalization. Their assertions appear to be confirmed by a Gallup Poll taken in October, which for the first time ever showed that the majority, or 58% of Americans, favor marijuana legalization.
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A perfect weed storm brewing
In addition, there are fiscal realities that strongly favor marijuana’s legalization on state and federal levels.
Many states that have legalized, or are seeking legalization of medical marijuana, are suffering from huge budget deficits. Once they see the tax revenue medical cannabis brings into their coffers, and the potential money saved by not prosecuting recreational users, it’s just a matter of time before they go for the full Monty. Moreover, they contend that once the marijuana tax-revenue floodgates open in enough states Uncle Sam will not be far behind, eventually leading a cash-strapped Congress to legalize marijuana use in the United States.
Conversely, those who view the sector with a jaundice eye, say such legalization will not be a windfall for companies and their investors. They contend marijuana will become just another cheap, agricultural commodity.
But meanwhile in the real world, companies already in the legal medical marijuana sector are experiencing historic stock volume and growth.
*At the close of Jan. 17, 2014, Cannabis Science, Inc. (NASDAQ OTC: CBIS) traded 30,064,727 shares, compare with its 3-month average volume of 2,176,910.
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The Colorado company that is developing cannabis-based medicines announced on Jan. 16 that it was spearheading an observational clinical research study in 2014 focusing on the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products to treat a variety of medical conditions.
“We will work with full authorization of the regulatory authorities and, most importantly, with the approval from patients,” said Cannabis Science President Robert Melamede.
On Jan. 17, CBIS share price closed at 0.101 cents, up 21.69% over its closing price of 0.083 cents the previous day.
New medical marijuana products rolled out
Even as the debate on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is heating up, companies with a strong foothold in the medical marijuana sector are rolling out new products.
*One such player is CannaVest Corp. (CANV: OTCQB). The Las Vegas-based company is developing and selling a variety of consumer products containing industrial hemp-based compounds through its portfolio of companies that include KannaLife Sciences, PhytoSPHERE Systems, US Hemp Oil, Cibdex and HempFit line. It has already rolled out its Real Scientific Hemp Oil.TM
On Jan. 17, CANV closed at $39.00 a share, up $1.75 from its closing price of $37.25 the previous day.
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