The marijuana movement is picking up steam, Krista Whitley, CEO of Nevada-based cannabis company “Altitude Products,” believes and predicts that 35 states will have legal marijuana by the year 2020.
“I would hope by 2020 we would have at least 35 thriving regulated cannabis states,” she told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I am inspired by states like Tennessee and the movements that are happening in traditionally red conservative states, that are seeking out common sense regulated cannabis programs.”
“Altitude Products” provides
customers in the state of Nevada with marijuana based products from various brands for medical and recreational use. Nevada legalized recreational marijuana by ballot initiative in 2016
“I had not used cannabis until I was 30,” Whitley told TheDCNF in an interview. “I was in a car accident and I was prescribed a bunch of opioids. I felt miserable. I’ve never felt more stoned than when I was on muscle relaxants and pain killers.” A friend recommended she try marijuana as an alternative and she hasn’t looked back since.
“I smoked a joint and had the best week of my life. I felt more human. So that was the catalyst for me to start doing some serious research and reexamine some of my own stereotypes,” she added.
Despite the progress being made on the state level, the movement to legalized cannabis is being held back by the current White House, Whitley said. She slammed President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “ignorant” and said the next administration is more likely to make lasting changes.
“If our current president is as entrepreneurial and capitalist as he claims to be, I think it would be common sense for him to deschedule [marijuana]. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said. “We continue to fight at the state level, but sadly due to ignorant leadership like Jeff Sessions, I don’t foresee this happening at a federal level. It will take our next administration to get there.”
Those who are against legalization aren’t looking at the issue in a personal way, Whitley said. She thinks if more people shared cannabis success stories, there would be more understanding and less backlash.
“When it’s not personal to you and you can’t identify with cannabis users, you end up buying into the stereotypes of the Cheech and Chong movies. What Hollywood has been selling us for generations now,” she said. “I am on the front lines of this and it comes down to personalizing each story. There’s no shortage of cannabis success stories, especially with the ongoing opioid epidemic.”
“Weed is not a gateway drug. It was a bridge to lead people out of their addiction,” she added.
Whitley has shared stories from her clientele with marijuana skeptics, and says most people end up changing their minds.
“I’ve been able to change a lot of minds. Even the most ardent anti-cannabis people have begun to soften when I’ve shared the personal stories with them of veterans, and children with epilepsy. You have a harder time taking a hard line with that stuff when you humanize it,” she said. “We need people to come out of the shadows and share testimonials of how cannabis has changed their lives.”
Whitley believes legalizing recreational marijuana would also benefit medicinal users by lowering the cost of medical cannabis.
“The vast majority of recreational users are truly in some sense medicinal,” she said. “You’ll see discounted taxation, discounted prices. There are significant discounts for medical patients here in the market in Nevada, and I know that’s also true in several other states that have such programs.”
Whitley predicted the pharmaceutical industry will begin transitioning away from narcotics, and embrace cannabis as more states begin to legalize it for recreational use.
“I think the reality is because we are gaining ground around legalization, I think what we’re going to see is a tremendous pivot. All of the sudden these pill pushers are goinng to start to invest in cannabis,” she concluded.