The Industries Most Impacted By The Legalization Of Cannabis

By Trevor McDonald

For an industry that’s still relatively new, we’ve seen some amazing success stories come directly from cannabis sales. In states like Colorado, marijuana is surpassing alcohol in tax revenue, which helps funnel funding to schools and other important programs.

But legalized marijuana also has a broader impact. Its effects can be felt in various industries, but some are impacted more than others.

The following industries have felt the most impact from the legalization of cannabis:

Cryptocurrency
Under federal law, cannabis is still treated like any other controlled substance. As far as the federal government is concerned, cannabis is illegal, regardless of what each individual state has to say about it. This may change with the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018, but dispensaries remain cautious. Because of the legal gray area surrounding marijuana, 70 percent of cannabis companies use cryptocurrency instead of traditional banks.

Education
In states where marijuana is legal, we’re seeing a major boost in funding for education. This comes from the increase in tax money collected from cannabis sales.

To drive this point home, let’s look at Colorado as an example. Between 2015 and 2017, the Colorado Department of Education received over $140 million from cannabis revenue alone.

Oregon schools received an extra $40 million in tax revenue in 2016.

Software and Technology
Where cannabis is legal, all states require a seed-to-sale tracking system. Although there are a few companies providing software for the job, two emerge as leaders. METRC is one such company, and they received nearly $900,000 in their first contract with the state of Colorado. MJ Freeway made headlines when it secured a $10.4 million contract with the state of Pennsylvania for their seed-to-sale tracking system.

Alcohol
There are many industries singing the praises of legalized cannabis, but the liquor industry is not one of them. You might have guessed that alcohol sales would take a hit when cannabis became legal, but a few researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University wanted to see the full picture. As it turns out, alcohol beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of marijuana sales. With easier access to marijuana, people don’t seem to be drinking as much alcohol.

Big Pharma
The pharmaceutical industry has been fighting marijuana legalization since before it was legal anywhere. This because they stand to lose a lot. As people start taking cannabis and stop taking prescription painkillers for common injuries, big pharma loses. As people choose CBD oil instead of Prozac, big pharma loses. Whenever a prescription medication is replaced with cannabis, it equates to a loss for the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, one report estimates that if the entire nation legalized cannabis, the pharmaceutical industry would lose an estimated $18.5 billion in the span of three years.

Whenever anything of value enters the market, we can expect it to make major waves. Cannabis is no exception. In most industries, its impact is favorable. We’re only seeing a decline in the industries where cannabis replaces something. But based on the long and short-term effects of alcohol and prescription drugs, marijuana’s impact may still be favorable.

The Wink In Weed: Why Seattle Hempfest Is Still Worth Supporting

By David Rheins

It’s been five years since Washington opened its legal cannabis marketplace, and today adult consumers in the Evergreen state have an abundance of high-quality, legal weed available in an impressive array of product configurations at affordable prices.

Seattle Hempfest, taking place this week along the gorgeous Puget Sound, is the nation’s oldest and largest “Protestival.”  It began as forum and platform for activists, patients and pot smokers to gather together to fight for their rights to toke in peace.  Back then, firing up a joint in public had real potential consequences — and could land you with a fine or even jail time.

My fellow Hempfest Volunteers in their Green T-Shirts

Hempfest Volunteers

Today, Washingtonians don’t have to go to the park to spark up. Pot smoking is legal, accepted and somewhat normalized in the Pacific Northwest. Leading some to ask what is the relevance of Seattle Hempfest?

While more of a party these days than a protestival, Seattle Hempfest is still a must-attend annual gathering of the cannabis tribes.  Our Green Revolution is a broad tent, with a diverse set of communities.  We are advocates, patients, farmers, business professionals, parents, teachers and caregivers, all united under the belief that Federal Prohibition, and the War on Drugs — and Drugs Users — must end. There is something powerful and undeniable about seeing a hundred thousand pot smokers gather together to celebrate community.

There is still much legal reform that needs to happen before cannabis consumption is fully normalized — and it is encouraging to see the momentum behind the STATES ACT and the Marijuana Justice Act as Congress has finally gotten the word that the American public — on both sides of the aisle — are through with prohibition.  The 2018 Farm Bill, with its Hemp Farming provision, will de-schedule industrial hemp and open the way for explosive growth in hemp-based products, including consumer goods, industrial materials, foods, fuels and medicines.

We are in a fight for the control of our legal cannabis industry.  Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, Big Tobacco, Big Agriculture and Big Government Regulators are all fighting to establish their places in our new mainstream marijuana marketplace. We must continue to stay involved now as the new regulations and standards of our emerging industry are crafted. I see Hempfest as a natural venue for showcasing the best and most innovative hemp products. Cannabis consumer rights need to be protected to ensure that the legal products are safe, tested and of the highest quality. Legal cannabis businesses have an opportunity to build an industry based on the highest standards of production, marketing and operations.  We need to be fair and equitable in our hiring and compensation practices, and we need to direct the windfall of new marijuana tax revenues towards improving the health and welfare of local communities, particularly those hit hard from the War On Drugs.

CurvedPapersHempfest512x440As our alternative culture takes centerstage, it is important that we stand together for our shared values.  We are witnessing and influencing the end of an era. The post-WWII, better living thru petrochemicals, conspicuous consumption society is unsustainable — and is quickly being replaced by a global, plant-based lifestyle, renewable energy zeitgeist.

MJBA is proud to once again participate as a media sponsor and exhibitor of Seattle Hempfest.  We’re thrilled to be sharing a booth with Curved Papers, with whom we’ve been touring the country on a Cannafest Destiny Tour.  We’ll be showing off our NORML 100% Hemp rolling papers, and showcasing our latest poster by Michael Guttsen, and doing social media blasts with MJBA Ambassador At Large Jake Dimmock.  Please join us at Booth #323 across from the Hemposium.

Michael O'Malley, David Hynes Michael O'Malley David Rheins

It has never been more important to stand up and be counted.  Please come out to Myrtle Edwards park this weekend, listen to the speakers, dance to the music and support the many food and merchandise vendors.  Be sure to drop a few bucks in the donation bucket:  Seattle Hempfest is an all-volunteer effort, and it depends on the support of its Vendors, Sponsors and Attendees to survive.