The cannabis industry has been hailed as the new dot com era. Since cannabis was legalized as medicine in California with the passing of Proposition 215, the industry has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, with cannabis being transformed into topicals, edibles, wine, beer and life-changing medicine. There are some surprising facts about how the cannabis industry looks across America, here are 10 of them.
1. Weed is now legal in some form in over half the country
Recent polls indicated that more Americans than ever are approving of cannabis legalization for both medical and recreational use. Election Day 2016 was resoundingly reflective of the country’s position on the issue. Nine states had cannabis legalization measures on the ballot, all but one (Arizona) passed the measures.
2. Colorado collected twice as much in taxes on pot as booze
For the first fiscal year that recreational weed was legal in Colorado, the state collected $70 million in taxes from it – and just $42 million in taxes from alcohol sales.
3. Legalizing cannabis appears to lower crime
While the sample size is small, numbers from Colorado’s first year with legal recreational cannabis show a decrease in crime. Total burglaries in 2013 in Denver totaled 5,094. In 2014, with marijuana legal, that number decreased about 10 percent to 4,594. Reported robberies in 2013 totaled 1,137 and decreased three percent to 1,099 for 2014.
4. Recreational sales in Nevada exceed stores’ expectations
Weed sales exceeded the expectations of Las Vegas-area store owners, who have seen long lines outside their dispensaries since Nevada became the fifth state to legalize recreational cannabis.
5. Colorado still has a black market
Even with Colorado voting to legalize recreational pot use, it still has a thriving underground pot market. About 40% of the weed sold is black market, mostly because it’s cheaper. The state heavily taxes cannabis, marking it up by almost a third.
6. National legalization would save billions
A report from the Cato Institute points out just how expensive the War on Drugs really is. $8.7 billion would be saved by not prosecuting cannabis offenders, not to mention the over $10 billion that would be generated in tax revenue at the federal level.
7. Women are dominating the industry
36 percent of cannabis company CEOs are women – compared to just 22 percent in the rest of the business world.
8. Celebrity endorsement
The cannabis industry is a very popular investment opportunity for copious amounts celebs. From the Godfather of weed, Snoop Dogg’s Leaf’s by Snoop range of top-shelf bud line to Whoopi Goldberg’s Whoopi & Maya range of female-focused topicals, weed-loving celebs are making their presence known.
9. California sells roughly half the legal weed in America
California that sells the lion’s share of cannabis a – 49 percent of all sales in 2014. Colorado, with its law permitting recreational use, sold 30 percent, while the rest of the country made up just 21 percent of sales.
10. Some states have more dispensaries than Starbucks
The claim that a certain city has “more pot dispensaries than Starbucks” began in Los Angeles in 2009, when the city started talking about banning pot shops. It seemed true, with the number of shops thought to be over 1,000. The claim has also been made about Denver, and about the entire state of Oregon, which had 269 dispensaries as of June 30, 2015 – compared to 248 Starbucks locations, and 205 McDonald’s restaurants.