Medical or recreational cannabis is legalized in 33 US states (out of 51, including the District of Columbia). However, at the federal level, the plant remains illegal. What are the causes of this paradoxical phenomenon?
A record number of Americans support the legalization of cannabis
In October 2018, the number of supporters of hemp legalization reached a historic high. Surveys conducted by Gallup, Pew Research Center, CBS News, and Quinnipiac University have lifted the ban on plants from 60% to 66% of U.S. residents. However, cannabis is on Schedule I of narcotic substances that do not have medical value. If most Americans favor reform of the law, then why do government officials representing the will of the people not want to remove or soften the rules governing cannabinoid trafficking?
The budget will lose money due to the legalization of hemp
According to the Tax Code, hemp enterprises have an increased income tax rate (from 70% to 90%), since they are not included in the list of corporate institutions due to illegal status at the federal level. If the ban on the plant is lifted, then the cannabis industry will become a normal business area, and its representatives will have the opportunity to take advantage of tax deductions. It will cost the federal budget about $ 5 billion over the next 10 years.
Republicans oppose lifting the ban on cannabis
Most seats in the Senate are controlled by the Republican Party, led by Mitch McConnell, who thwarts attempts by other senators to submit cannabis laws to legislators. For example, last December, McConnell refused Corey Gardner to amend the Criminal Justice Reform Act to protect the states from federal interference.
Legalization of hemp is not a priority
The attention of US senators is focused on solving more important problems than the legalization of cannabinoids. The reform of the cannabis law is one of the last places on the list of tasks since lifting the ban will not have a significant impact on the country’s economy. In addition, marijuana is not the reason for the polarization of society, because only one out of eight voters will vote for another candidate for the post of a senator, if their opinions on cannabis do not coincide. Thus, officials are not afraid of losing their posts due to disagreements with the electorate over hemp.
Government fears for safe public health
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control said 12 people died of viper disease, and 805 Americans were hospitalized. In many cases, patients used liquids for vaporizers with THC, so the authorities blame the hemp industry for the epidemic. Certainly, cannabinoids are much safer for health than many other narcotic substances, moreover, they can be used as an alternative to opiates, which caused the death of more than 47,000 Americans in 2018. But due to the lack of scientific data, authorities fear that the legalization of hemp can harm the well-being of citizens in the long run.