Public support for marijuana has grown markedly in recent years. In a 2017 Gallup poll, a record-high 64 percent of Americans said they supported marijuana legalization.
"Lawmakers, while often slow to respond to public demand, are increasingly realizing the untenable position of maintaining a pro-criminalization stance," said Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
"As public support continues to grow, that is going to create a virtuous cycle of policy changes upwards," Strekal said. "Our biggest opponent right now is apathy and entrenched reefer madness ideology."
So far, the Trump administration has sent mixed signals but it appears to be adopting a more liberal view on medical marijuana.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Justice Department in January rescinded a policy directing federal prosecutors not to target marijuana businesses that conducted themselves within state law.
But in April, Trump ditched Sessions' stance following an appeal by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who had vowed to block DOJ nominations in retaliation. Sessions was given no advance warning of the shift, news outlets reported.
Last week, staunch Trump ally Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., told Fox Business News that he has "been reassured that the president intends on keeping his campaign promise" to legalize medical marijuana across the country.
Meanwhile, lawmakers have introduced sweeping legislation to defang the ongoing federal prohibition. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., have proffered bills that would not only decriminalize marijuana but nullify some possession-related convictions and establish community funds.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced his own legislation that has been co-sponsored by nine other senators.
While Democrats in Congress still tend to be more outwardly supportive of marijuana decriminalization policies than Republicans, the gap appears to be narrowing.
Gardner, alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in June released a bipartisan bill prioritizing states' rights on marijuana. Rohrabacher helped introduced an amendment to an omnibus spending bill that protected medical marijuana recipients and became law in 2014. And GOP Rep. Thomas Garrett of Virginia pushed a bill that would effectively end marijuana prohibition at the federal level.
Many advocates and critics of a more liberal pot policy view the push for medical marijuana as a stepping stone toward the model adopted Wednesday by Canada.
Under that system, a plethora of cannabis products containing the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol will be legal to buy, sell, distribute and consume recreationally.
As Canada legalizes, pot industry activists and business owners have their eyes set squarely on U.S. prohibition. "That's literally it," Peterson said when asked what was the biggest threat to his business.
For Sabet, however, prohibition is a bulwark against the drawbacks of an unfettered marijuana industry.
"I'm not surprised that the industry is saying that they don't want to be missing out from Canada," Sabet said, "but frankly I think it's a good thing that they are missing out."
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