Why Marijuana And Your Money Are A Terrible Combination

COLORADO:  Over the last two decades we’ve witnessed Americans’ views on marijuana as a whole shift from an approval rate of 25%, per Gallup, to slightly more than 50% as of its most recent poll in 2014. Further, the states themselves have been willing to take on regulation of the marijuana industry despite the federal government maintaining it as a schedule 1, and therefore illicit, drug. Since 1996, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes (as well as Washington, D.C.), and four states (and Washington, D.C.) have legalized the drug across the board for recreational use as well.

Momentum within the marijuana industry is only expected to gain steam. In 2014, the Colorado marijuana industry was worth nearly $700 million, with $386 million worth of medical marijuana being sold, and another $313 million in recreational product being purchased by consumers. This figure is expected to expand to $1 billion by 2016.

But, it’s not just Colorado — it’s the entire U.S. that could serve as a stomping ground for marijuana’s growth. According to the ArcView Group, a cannabis investment and research firm, the cannabis industry grew 74% in 2014 to $2.7 billion as it was helped by improved public perception of the drug, and legislation that’s allowing the drug to be sold in legal states. By 2019, ArcView estimates marijuana could be almost an $11 billion market. We’re talking a growth rate of more than 30%, per year, and according to ArcView, that makes cannabis the fastest growing industry in the country!

 

In Colorado, A Blazing Start

COLORADO: Legal retail weed in Colorado turned one year old this month. While legalization remains more experimental than established at this point, the early returns make a compelling case that the first year was a sweeping regulatory success in the Rocky Mountain State.

Exhibit A: what didn’t happen in 2014. Despite the nightmare scenarios that anti-legalization advocates foretold, there was nothing to suggest a major jump in marijuana use among Colorado teens. The number of drug-related crimes in the state held steady or dropped. And the spike in traffic fatalities resulting from drugged driving that naysaying opponents had predictedfailed to materialize. Yes, a lot could still change as the nascent retail market matures, but it’s now clear that the state’s first-of-its-kind experiment with recreational weed is off to a blazing start.

Colorado voted to make recreational pot legal in late 2012, and the state spent the next year crafting an innovative licensing system to tax and regulate retail sales, which then began on New Year’s Day 2014. The rollout has gone so well that Gov. John Hickenlooper, who once said Colorado voters were “reckless” to legalize weed, has changed his tune.

Governor: Colorado Pot Market Exceeds Tax Hopes

COLORADO:  Colorado’s legal marijuana market is far exceeding tax expectations, according to a budget proposal released Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper that gives the first official estimate of how much the state expects to make from pot taxes.

The proposal outlines plans to spend some $99 million next fiscal year on substance abuse prevention, youth marijuana use prevention and other priorities. The money would come from a statewide 12.9 percent sales tax on recreational pot. Colorado’s total pot sales next fiscal year were estimated to be about $610 million.

Retail sales began Jan. 1 in Colorado. Sales have been strong, though exact figures for January sales won’t be made public until early next month.

The governor predicted sales and excise taxes next fiscal year would produce some $98 million, well above a $70 million annual estimate given to voters when they approved the pot taxes last year. The governor also includes taxes from medical pot, which are subject only to the statewide 2.9 percent sales tax.

Prospectors Seek Fortune In Legal Pot

WASHINGTON: Dot-bong, Marijuana Inc., the Green Rush: Call it what you will, the burgeoning legal marijuana industry in Washington state is drawing pot prospectors of all stripes.

Microsoft veterans and farmers, real estate agents and pastry chefs, former journalists and longtime pot growers alike are seeking new challenges — and fortunes — in the production, processing and sale of a drug that’s been illegal for generations. [Read more…]