In order to understand Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) point when he replied “OK boomer. That’s a very boomer approach to marijuana.” to a Trump adviser’s comments on marijuana on Saturday morning, you first need to understand the phrase “OK Boomer”. We’re going to look at this simple statement as a microcosm for what the nation is feeling towards the antiquated laws surrounding the marijuana plant.
In a world where internet memes can flair up and then die in the same weekend, this one certainly feels to have come out of nowhere. The phrase “OK Boomer” is essentially just a cutting response given to someone from the “baby boomer” generation when they’re attempting to comment from a point of wisdom on something that the younger generation is doing. I think the best way to explain a meme, is with another meme:
So on a Saturday morning interview when Gaetz was asked about his thoughts on Kellyanne Conway’s comments about marijuana’s effect on the brain, his ability to respond with a internet meme perfectly sums up the general public’s view on marijuana and CBD legislation.
In a world where over 2/3 of American’s support marijuana legalization, many legislators are finally starting to listen to their constituents and fighting to change public policy around this Schedule 1 Drug. A select few politicians remain firm in their ways though and refuse to budge on this decisive issue. In the most recent Democratic Debate, Cory Booker slammed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for his stance on marijuana saying “I have a lot of respect for the vice president — he swore me into my office, he’s a hero. This week, I hear him literally say that I don’t think we should legalize marijuana — I thought you might have been high when you said it.”
In Booker’s case specifically, his stance seems to stem from the fact that marijuana is illegal leads to our prison system filling up with non-violent offenders. Furthermore, those convicted are disproportionately of non-white ethnicity, despite the fact that more white Americans admit to using marijuana than do black Americans.
It’s statistics like these that lead younger generations of Americans to get more and more fed up with the lack of movement towards marijuana legalization. With Canada having recently made marijuana legal and Mexico soon to follow, America will soon be bordered by two countries who have managed to legalize marijuana before itself.
If we’re going to look at the glass half full, many states are taking matters into their own hands. Eleven states have now legalized marijuana (Illinois will go into effect in 2020) and many more have decriminalized the drug.
If you needed a proxy for how marijuana legalization would go over, the legalization of CBD has certainly shown how willing and open the public is to try this new-to-the-market natural remedy. Over 64% of Americans already claim some familiarity with CBD, despite it being legal for less than a year. The market is projected by some estimates to be $22 billion by 2025. Perhaps even more surprising, the Boomers are getting just as involved as everyone else! According to a HelloMD and Brightfield Group study, almost 1/3 of CBD users are in the 35-49 age group. That’s the largest age group by far!
Baby Boomers are even some of the ones doing the fighting on the inside. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been fighting for hemp farmers, many of whom come from his home state of Kentucky, for well over a year now. This often manifests itself in McConnell pushing for more regulation so those in the CBD industry aren’t left in the dark. He was recently pressing Donald Trump’s new FDA appointment for further clarity on CBD regulations saying, “Like many Kentuckians who are taking advantage of hemp’s legalization, I am eager for FDA’s plans to create certainty for CBD products.”
At the end of the day, we just want “common-sense” legislation around hemp and marijuana. Laws that don’t make it criminal to posses a drug that has so many perceived benefits. Laws that don’t make it impossible for CBD merchants to use traditional payment processors. Laws that put consumers ahead of big pharma. Ok, Boomer? Ok.