Funny right? Well, that depends. You see if your father-in-law is asking you for some weed to get high, well then you are either in an FBI-like setup (possibly with your mother-in-law as Director), or your father-in-law is way, way cooler than you thought.
But what if he's asking you for some weed to buy. That's right – weed stocks. Sound crazy? Well, it happened to me. And to be honest, this one I was ready for.
A brief history
But before telling you what I said, let's take a step back and talk about marijuana. You see it wasn't always illegal. In fact, for most of the nineteenth century, it was actually being prescribed by certain medical doctors.
Then, in the early 1900's there was an influx of Mexicans crossing the border and settling in the US. With them they brought marijuana. Copious amounts of it which popularised the recreational use of the drug more. But many Americans saw those who smoked weed as debaucherous and troublesome, associating cannabis with "lower class" criminality. And so by the late 1930's, almost all the states in the US had outlawed marijuana. And prohibition was born.
In 1970, marijuana was characterised as a Schedule 1 drug and was listed as having no accepted medical use. That meant getting your hands on marijuana for medical research was nee impossible. So very few doctors studied the plant and the potential benefits it had to offer.
So much lost time…sigh.
If I was to ask all of you if you had ever smoked a joint (and yeah – I'm cool if like Bill you smoked but didn't inhale), I reckon at least 90% of you would admit to it.
Now if I was to ask you all if you'd ever had a hit of heroin, I would be shocked if even 1% had. Why? Cause heroine is heavy shit. It's a Schedule 1 drug. The worst kind according to the DEA.
Now, with that in mind consider this.
Two things happened in the 90's. Purdue Pharmacy released Oxycontin for pain relief and a group of medical doctors discovered some of the medical uses of the Cannabidiol compound found in the marijuana plant. Both would gain massive momentum from there.
Let's start with Purdue.
Upon its release, in 1995, OxyContin was hailed as a medical breakthrough, a long-lasting narcotic that could help patients suffering from moderate to severe pain. The drug became a blockbuster and has reportedly generated some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue for Purdue.
But OxyContin is a controversial drug. Its sole active ingredient is oxycodone, a chemical cousin of heroin and which is twice as powerful as morphine.
Since 1999, two hundred thousand Americans have died from overdoses related to OxyContin and other prescription opioids. Many addicts, finding prescription painkillers too expensive or too difficult to obtain, turned to heroin. The most recent figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that 145 Americans now die every day from opioid overdoses.
Just pause for a second and think about that. Over 200,000 deaths to date.
This is why President Trump has declared his version of the War on Drugs and is now looking for drug dealers to kill. Jokes aside though – the opioid crisis is now completely out of control. I honestly do not believe a war on drugs will alleviate this crisis. The war on drugs has never worked and nothing that I have read or seen, tells me it ever will. But there is a "natural" solution …and it's sitting right in front of us.
One more thing. No one has ever overdosed on weed. Ever.
Remember those medical doctors and their CBD discovery I spoke of earlier?
After being given permission to cultivate marijuana for the purposes of medical research and development, they started to better understand cannabidiol or CBD for short. Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis sativa plant.
CBD is just one of more than 400 compounds found in the plant and is a cannabinoid in high concentrations. OK, quick science lesson. Follow me…
Cannabinoids actively bind to special receptors on your cells and are part of what is known as your endocannabinoid system. This is a huge network of cell receptor proteins that have a vast array of functions. Some receptors are found within your central nervous system, whereas others are found in other places, such as your reproductive organs, skin and digestive tract.
This endocannabinoid system is responsible for controlling your mood, appetite, sleep, immune response, movement and importantly how your body regulates pain. What is known is CBD seems to stop the breaking down, in the brain, of a chemical that affects mental function, mood and pain. The pain industry. A $650bn industry. The opioid industry.
Now there is THC. Oh yes – there's THC. I could go into more detail on this, but ultimately THC is simply the compound that gets you high.
And this is why people are so polarised on the issue. But there's more. You see they can be independent of each other. You can get medicinal marijuana that has a high percentage of CBD and zero THC. Purely medicinal. No high – no matter how much you take. And there is also the opportunity, and variety, for higher percentages of THC – as Craig David said, "what's your flavour?"
California led the way in legalising medicinal marijuana and slowly but surely US states, and global countries have followed suit.
And it so it started to grow (I had too 😉
Germany legalised medical marijuana in 2017. And Germany is a unique one – why? Because it is the first country to have medicinal marijuana covered under the medical aid schemes. It's not only legal – but your insurance company pays for it.
Australia too said yes to medical marijuana. Following that, in January this year, the government agreed to allow Australian companies, with a license to produce marijuana, the ability to export the product to the global market. Australia is a prime location for the production of high quality, premium grade marijuana. Not following? Think of the fruit industry.
The big one
And that's just medicinal. There is, of course, the recreational side of the fence.
In mid to late August of this year, Canada will become the first G7 country to legalise marijuana for adult recreational use – at the federal level. And with it, a $50bn industry will be born.
Malcolm Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point" and ladies and gentlemen…we're there. More than 65% of Americans now live in a state where it is either medicinally or recreationally legal. And currently, more than 62% of Americans are in favour of legalising marijuana for recreational use.
In January California legalised marijuana for adult recreational use. Massachusetts will join them in July. Oh, and in Aspen Colorado last year, weed sales exceeded alcohol sales. Yeah – you read that right.
Marijuana is now positioned to be the fastest growing industry since the tech boom of the late 90's. The Amazon, Intel, Apple…and Purdue of the marijuana industry have already been born and are growing up – fast.
I think it only fair that Larry Smith has the last say on just how big – and life-changing – medicinal marijuana could really be.