Is America Growing Support For the Marijuana Industry?

marijuana-cash-cropAs it stands, there are eighteen states (including the District of Columbia) that have some sort of law or regulation recognizing some form of legitimate use of marijuana. With the exception of Washington and Colorado, the law recognizes — in line with a growing body of medical work supporting the thesis — these as medical applications.

Washington and Colorado recognize legitimate recreational use of the drug. (It’s only a little bit ironic that studies have shown that cannabis can be used to help treat alcohol abuse.) But progress toward comprehensive — or competent — regulation has been slow, at best.

“Today the regulatory environment is, I would say, highly ambiguous,” said Sterling Scott, CEO and chairman of Growlife (PHOT.PK) in an interview on April 19, just ahead of the infamous 4-20 “Weed Day” holiday. “You almost need to be a skilled lawyer to navigate a company through it.”

The federal government does not recognize any legitimate use for marijuana. Under the the Controlled Substances Act enacted by Congress in 1970, THC is a Schedule 1 drug. Until THC is rescheduled, the cultivation, transfer, or possession of the substance is punishable by federal law, and any business facilitating or carrying out these activities faces possible closure, seizure of funds and property, and owners and employees face the real and present risk of federal prosecution.

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Part of Growlife’s business is the facilitation of indoor and outdoor urban gardening. Ostensibly, this serves a wide range of consumers and businesses — anyone from indoor culinary-herb gardeners to business-scale producers of marijuana for medical dispensaries — that need high-powered LED lights or grow-room climate monitoring and controlling equipment.

Given its business model, Growlife is beyond the reach of federal scrutiny, but some of its potential customers are not. Dispensaries operating legally under state law are still, technically, at risk from federal intervention. But in line with the results of the Pew Research survey, the tides seem to be shifting in favor of marijuana advocates…