Pot Politics at the National Press Club

By Dirk Hanson 03/30/11
Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado.
Photo via ccnow

Everybody knows that the U.S. medical marijuana industry is worth a hell of a lot of money. And if the roughly 15 states now onboard the Cannabis Express are cannonballing their way toward our collective future, the legal marijuana business could be worth a hell of a lot more. To publicize their case, the American medical marijuana industry is pulling out all the stops today, staging a major congressional lobbying effort at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. “It is time for the federal government to take this industry seriously,” said Steve Fox, director of public affairs for the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). U.S. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) will present the results of what has been billed as the first serious financial analysis of the medical cannabis industry in the United States. The report concludes that the total legal marijuana market in 2011 was worth a mind-blowing $1.7 billion. Fox said the industry is creating thousands of jobs, and generating millions in state and local tax revenue that would ordinarily remain off the books. But the question of cannabis as a psychoactive drug with its own special set of pros and cons will not likely be part of the discussion today.

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]