The Green Rush: Is Cannabis Too Profitable To Be Kept Illegal?
With the Green Rush has come the kind of heady entrepreneurship and opportunity that only comes around once in a generation.
In a capitalist society such as ours – and yes, our society is hyper-capitalist, where the bottom line rules not only corporate balance sheet but even such essentials as healthcare – it always seems to be money that finally changes things. The cannabis industry is no exception. With the Green Rush has come the kind of heady entrepreneurship and opportunity that only comes around once in a generation.
Gettin’ giddy with the Green Rush
That’s why the excitement is running at a fever pitch in California, where recreational legalization was approved by voters last year. The looming implementation of cannabis sales to anyone 21 and older means a vast new swath of adult consumers are now available to a dynamic industry on the cusp of mainstream acceptance. In the eyes of an increasing number of industry analysts, cannabis has become Too Big To Fail.
Even the status of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law can’t stop the mighty tide of green profits rolling in. With $100 billion in potential profits per year and $28 billion in tax revenue for states sitting on the table, there’s only one way this can turn out, from any realistic perspective.
And it’s not just flower anymore. Cannabis is now available in many other forms besides the traditional “marijuana” that our parents grew up on. It is more portable, and more easy concealed, than ever before. And yes, that means it can, and often does, escape detection by law enforcement when it makes its way from a green state to a state still under the throes of prohibition.
Potent cannabis extracts have reached ultimate portability usable in vape pens. Stealth-wise, these pens are often indistinguishable from similar pens used to inhale nicotine e-juice, making enforcement of cannabis prohibition an even more quixotic task than it was before. Senior analyst Jamie Schau of marketing research firm Brightfield Group says,
Flower use was more commonplace when access to cannabis was limited to illicit channels and before more sophisticated means to process it came about. But today, flower use and sales are declining. People are veering more toward concentrates and edibles that service their specific needs.
Flower, though, retains a loyal following, and is no danger of disappearing off pot shop shelves anytime soon. Brightfield predicts that flower sales will double over the next four years. Meanwhile, though concentrate sales will triple.
Meanwhile, in Canada
Canada, meanwhile, has a much happier state of affairs than the U.S. – as in, none of the country suffers under the nightmare of cannabis prohibition.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently introduced a bill that would allow Canadians 21 and older the legally buy and possess up to 30 grams of marijuana beginning July 1, 2018.
Trudeau’s proposal also allows up to four cannabis plants to be grown in each household. If it becomes law, Canada would become the second nation, after only Uruguay, to legalize recreational cannabis.
The United States could finally join the 21st Century if the “Marijuana Justice Act,” introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) becomes law. Booker’s bill would legalize cannabis nationwide.
The failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent offenders, especially for marijuana-related offenses, with a devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor. – Sen. Booker