Marijuana Farming May Become Mainstream

With several more states poised to join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the medical and non-medical possession and consumption of marijuana, pot farming appears closer to becoming part of mainstream agricultural production in the United States.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to legalize the recreational possession and consumption of marijuana. While many states had legalized medical marijuana (with varying degrees of regulation and control), 2012 marked the first successful effort to completely legalize the drug.
Until this August, however, both state’s laws remained in a kind of legal limbo. With federal law and policy still classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug (along with heroin and LSD), it was unclear how state decriminalization efforts could progress. With the Justice Department announcing in August that it would allow the Colorado and Washington laws to go forward, the uncertain balance between state and federal regulation was resolved, giving farmers the green light to produce non-medical marijuana.
With neither state fully implementing regulatory bodies or policies to control the use of marijuana, however, banks have been reluctant to fund marijuana projects and farmers have not embraced marijuana as a cash crop.
Progress in Colorado and Washington (along with legalization efforts in Alaska, Oregon, California, Arizona, and several other states), may soon signal a major change in marijuana’s status as a regular agricultural product.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer