Activists seem to be gaining ground in their fight to normalize pot use in the U.S.: Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana to some extent, and fourteen others have marijuana-related proposals in the works.
According to a new study out by the Pew Research Center, Americans now broadly support the legalization of medical marijuana. 73 percent of people say pot’s fine if a doctor prescribes it. And there’s been an increase in those who want to legalize marijuana altogether. 41 percent support decriminalizing marijuana for recreational use, as well. That's up from 35 percent in 2008, and only 16 percent in 1990.
But even in places where most people are fine with the use and sale of medical marijuana, public concerns pop up.
We’re broadcasting out of member station KUVO in Denver, Colorado, this week. Denver has seen a lot of debate over how the medical marijuana industry should operate. The city has at least 250 medical marijuana dispensaries in business and more waiting for a license. While most people are fine with the concept, Patricia Calhoun, editor of the Denver-based alternative weekly Westword, says that people's opinion changes when a dispensary opens up next door to their house.
Local business owner Erik Santus is trying to help change negative public perception of medical marijuana. He's the co-owner of Lotus Medical, a medical marijuana dispensary and wellness center.
As an entrepreneur investor, walking in I saw that there was a vertical business model that could be applied, and I think it's something that could be good for the community, good for local government, state government, and tax revenues.