2021 was arguably one of the most significant years for the cannabis industry across the country. News about cannabis reform made headlines but cannabis, in general, also served as one of the most notable trending topics. More states legalized cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes, but as much progress occurred in the past 12 months came many setbacks. Athletes are still getting removed from sports due to cannabis use. We’ve yet to witness Joe Biden legalize marijuana on a federal level and finally withdraw it as a Schedule I drug, and the list goes on.
We’re now in a new year, a new beginning for us all. Hopefully, it brings more legislative action for cannabis legalization across the country and a more socially equitable industry for all. Entering 2022, we decided to run down some of the biggest news stories of the past year via The Fresh Toast.
Edibles are divisive among potheads. Some love the effects while others feel they’re overwhelming, but no matter what, they are a staple in cannabis culture. One cannabis company helped introduce a new edible product called Bubby’s Brownie to the market. Massachusetts-based company MariMed Inc. unveiled an 850-pound pot brownie on National Brownie Day.
The dimensions of the 400-square foot brownie were three-feet wide by three-feet long with a 15-inch height. Made with over 1300 eggs, 212 pounds of butter, and 450 pounds of sugar, MariMed Inc’s cannabis-infused brownie contained 20,000 mg of cannabis. The MA-based cannabis brand broke the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Brownie previously held by Alabama’s Something Sweet Bake Shop. MariMed Inc.’s massive 850- pound infused brownie weighed nearly four times as much as Alabama bakery’s 2013 record-breaking brownie, which broke records at the time at 243 pounds.
Prohibitionists are wrong, again. This time, it comes after in-depth research into the use of cannabis among teenagers. For years, anti-marijuana talking heads have pushed the notion that cannabis would be more accessible to minors if made legal. The tough-on-crime stance is ineffective, and products in the black market are available to buy to anyone, regardless of age.
The University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey revealed a significant decline in teen use of cannabis. Data from the government-funded study showed that reported marijuana use among teens, specifically those in grades 8, 10, and 12, have dropped in the last year. The data revealed the use of cannabis among students in grades 8 and 10 went down by 38% each, while an assessment of 12th graders’ self-reported use of cannabis reduced by 13%. So, it turns out that it isn’t the teens scooping all of the Element Papers off the shelves.
As more states have enacted cannabis reform laws in the past year, and other studies have shown similar results, it seems like there might finally be a case to convince prohibitionists that legalizing marijuana can be of benefit to communities across America.
At one point, the cannabis industry saw the type of celebrity endorsements that we’re finding with the crypto/NFT era. Weed-smoking celebrities attached their names to specific brands to get an early foot in the industry. Many of them didn’t last, though it seems that low-key smokers are finding success in the current era of the cannabis industry.
Revered for the years he played the iconic character Steve Urkel on Family Matters, Jaleel White became an unexpected advocate for cannabis. In 2021, he partnered with Los Angeles-based company 710 Labs to launch his line, ItsPurpl. Aptly launched on 4/20 of 2021, White’s cannabis line includes three strains: Purple Urkle, Stefan (a cross between Purple Urkle and The White), and a cross between Mendo Purps and Zkittlez.
White’s character on the beloved sitcom might have been likely to disavow cannabis, but his intention with ItsPurpl is to spread awareness and destigmatize cannabis. After seeing its success upon its launch, it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw White dive deeper into the cannabis industry in the coming years and set the tone for other celebrities aiming to join the market.
Cannabis use among athletes has grown in popularity over recent years. The NFL revealed that they wouldn’t test players for cannabis while the NBA promised to end random drug tests for marijuana on players in the league. Unfortunately, the Olympics haven’t necessarily followed suit as we saw this year with Sha’Carri Richardson. The American Sprinter tested positive for THC before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that she’d accepted a month-long suspension. The decision, of course, meant that she would be off of the U.S. Track & Field team or the Olympics.
Richardson that her use of cannabis was a coping mechanism following the unexpected death of her biological mother, which heightened her stress levels. People were highly sympathetic towards Richardson’s situation, sparking debate across the Internet. Drake rapped about the situation on Certified Lover Boy, Joe Biden praised Richardson’s attitude towards the suspension, and cannabis, once again, became the central point of conversation in 2021.
As we’ve witnessed a shifting attitude across the country regarding cannabis legalization, hopefully, we’ll see the Olympics follow suit to prevent other athletes from being unfairly punished for cannabis use.
A Republican named Harry J. Anslinger became an early advocate for the War On Drugs, primarily targeting disenfranchised communities consisting of minorities. Over the years, Republicans and Democrats have played a significant role in stigmatizing cannabis, but there’s a change in attitude among members of both parties.
Surprisingly, it’s the Republican party that has expressed significant support for establishing a legal market. With a substantial percentage of Americans ready to legalize cannabis, new studies reveal that the majority of Republicans are also in favor of this notion. Rasmussen Reports shared the results of a poll that showed 62% of Americans hope to see cannabis legalization. A dive into the data revealed that 54% of Republicans are among this demographic. It’s not as high as the Democratic party’s 68%, but the bipartisan support between both parties could help speed the federally legalizing cannabis. President Biden has yet to announce any plans to remove cannabis from the DEA’s Schedule I classification. Still, the Republicans have introduced several cannabis-related bills in hopes of decriminalizing the plant and slapping taxes on products.