As the legalization of cannabis, medical and adult-use, continues to gain cultural and voter acceptance, OU continues to apply its network of top-flight experts for a better-informed public, private sector and government.
A dramatic shift is occurring throughout the United States where over half of the country has legalized the use of medical cannabis, while a growing number of states have legalized the adult use of cannabis for people 21 years and older.
However, the Federal government has not yet recognized cannabis as a legitimate treatment for any medical condition (Controlled Substances Act 21 U.S.C. 801). MENTION US PATENT Though, polls consistently show the vast majority of Americans support eliminating cannabis as a Schedule I violation of Federal Law.
With conflicting municipal, state and federal laws regarding cannabis, policy and legal battles will ensue. Elected officials will strive to legislate complex resolutions regarding the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, sale, and consumption of cannabis, but in reality, the implementation of all law relies on the day-to-day diligence of government bureaucracy and its workers.
In addition to a myriad of health benefits, it is no secret that the legalization of cannabis portends tremendous economic benefits for local and state government. Tax revenue from medical cannabis dispensaries has boosted local economies, as evidenced in our own backyard in Oakland, California – home to Oaksterdam University – however the numbers are staggering with respect to taxes emanating from legal sales. Marijuana Legalization and Taxes: Federal Revenue Impact study showed a mature cannabis industry could generate up to $28 billion in tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments, including $7 billion in federal revenue: $5.5 billion from business taxes and $1.5 billion from income and payroll taxes. Associated with this phenomenon is significant job creation and a decrease in law enforcement prohibition costs.
OU is a highly respected resource on a range of critical issues for local, state and international regulators. Recently in 2016, history was made when Oaksterdam was selected as the first educational institution in the United States to train the senior staff of the California State Board of Equalization — the largest tax collection state agency in the country, with the greatest responsibility for enforcing sales and use taxation protocols, including cannabis.
But as cannabis emerges from an underground economy, any boost in economic vitality and access to opportunity cannot be sustained without proper education.
In light of this important arc, we have established the Office of Government Relations and Public Affairs. The office builds on OU’s record of a high-quality education aimed at expanding access throughout the United States and abroad. In 2016 alone, OU’s presence reached as far as: New York, Colorado, Nevada, Jamaica and Uruguay. Our expanding presence enables us to extend our influence to these crucial objectives:
• Improving Outcomes: Promoting strategies that help make all levels of government operate more transparently and efficiently and that their expectation of regulatory compliance (such as California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, commencing 2018) be democratically applied to the diverse orbit of cannabis commerce.
• Shaping Public Policy: Understanding how the entrepreneurial spirit of the cannabis movement is not immune to its own Gilded Age, where benefits either migrate to the top or become an asset against the growing income inequality that’s pervasive in America.
• Understanding Levers of Change: Tracking societal trends – political, economic, environmental, and demographic data that informs the successes and challenges of the burgeoning cannabis movement.
• Applying an Uncommon Discipline: Providing and updating subject-matter experts on cannabis science & testing, research & development, horticulture, law and security, business incubation and management, medical practicum, regulatory compliance, and more.
• Being Future Focused: Identifying reform movements, change indicators, and model policy and regulatory governance.
As society and government debate or prepare for the legitimization of cannabis-consumption and the legalization of cannabis-driven business, it reinforces OU’s mission that quality information and analysis be a driver in making this transformative change work well for everyone, and be for the public benefit.
Based on the growing global pool of OU student graduates, and the queries we receive from governments, domestic and abroad, we believe the timing is right for cannabis education to gain a strategic prominence throughout all tiers of government. You must know that which you regulate.