The Cannabis Industry is Creating a Green Gold Rush but Obstacles to Legalization Still Exist in the U.S. – Silicon Hills News

Kevin Murphy, CEO of Acreage Holdings, John Boehner, Former U.S. Speaker of the House and Tim Seymour, host of CNBC’s Fast Money at SXSW

By LAURA LOREK, publisher of Silicon Hills News

The path to national legalization of marijuana is underway.

That’s the conclusion from cannabis experts at South by Southwest, which hosted its first-ever Cannabusiness track this year with 60 panels.

In the U.S., 95 percent of the population believes in the medicinal value of cannabis and believes it should be available, said Kevin Murphy, Founder, and CEO of Acreage Holdings, which owns cannabis cultivation, processing and dispensary operations in 19 states. It does not operate in Texas.

And 66 percent of the population believe cannabis should be available for adult recreational use, Murphy said. Ten states have already approved recreational use of marijuana including Colorado, California, Washington, Michigan, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont.

Last year, Former Speaker of the U.S. House John Boehner joined the board of Acreage Holdings.

Boehner and Murphy spoke on a panel discussion Friday at SXSW moderated by Tim Seymour, founder of Seymour Asset Management and host of CNBC’s Fast Money.

Medical marijuana is now legal in 34 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But it’s not an easy path to a legal industry.

Those state laws conflict with federal law, which still classifies marijuana as an illegal Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act, making distribution of marijuana a federal offense.  

And Texas still has some of the strictest laws in the country regarding cannabis. In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed the Compassionate Use Act which allows for low-THC cannabis for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. The state also licensed three dispensaries to grow and distribute it.

Overall,

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