Looking on the Bright Side of Marijuana Legalization

The legalization of marijuana has come a long way in the United States, so much so that it has become a promising source of investment. While 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, 9 states have attained legal recreational use with minimal regulations. Unfortunately, it continues to be illegal based on the federal law, which is why the emergence of Cronos Group, a Canadian cannabis company, on US Stock Exchange as a publicly traded commodity has received a considerable amount of attention from investors. Cronos Group has officially been placed on NASDAQ through the authorization provided by the Securities Exchange Commission as the one and only firm to welcome shareholders into the cannabis industry in the States.

Previously, American businessmen have shown apprehension towards the idea of purchasing shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange, though the only route to do so was through the Exchange-Traded Fund Industry. Even so, Mike Gorenstein, the CEO of Cronos Group, stated that the shares are largely dominated by American investors. Hence, the increased accessibility attributable to NASDAQ’s acceptance of the Cronos Group means that investors can now take part in a rapidly blooming industry that has the potential to reach a $50 billion benchmark in the United States by 2026 with ease, as declared by the investment bank Cowen & Co. Such a lucrative profit margin has led to a high demand from capitalists, nonetheless, Gorenstein has made a statement to deny any claims concerning the company’s plans to step into the states “from a production or sales standpoint until cannabis is federally legal.”

From an economic standpoint, more benefits can be expected following the impending legalization of marijuana at a federal level. For instance, the increased tax revenue will no doubt aid in the US economy, which will directly affect the global economy due to the dominance of the United States on global markets. This is evident by the figures presented by the legal sales of marijuana products in 2015, which summed up to a notable $996 million. Consequently, an equally impressive amount of $135 million returned as tax revenues. This fund could vastly improve things like the education system and militarism and so forth.

In addition, the legalization could function to demolish black market sales, since consumers no longer need to resort to illegal means in order to attain cannabis products. This, in turn, benefits the economy as there are fewer trades unaccounted for. With proper regulations, the safety of consumers can be further ensured as well as the monitoring of the circulation of capital in the market. All things considered, however, oppositions towards the matter often revolve around the health concerns of users. This is forthrightly justifiable by the medicinal benefits that marijuana have shown.

Debates regarding the status of marijuana as a form of drug due to its ability to alter one’s mind and perception for a short time period and may be dangerous when it involves activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Be that as it may, if a substance like alcohol, that equates to the same outcome, with more proven damage to a human’s body can be legally consumed, what is stopping marijuana from becoming the next available source of entertainment like alcohol? Similar regulations such as DUIs can also apply to users in the future for safety purposes. Much like tobacco, the demand for marijuana is price inelastic, which means that regardless of price changes, or presumably law changes, those who are determined to consume will continue to find a way to do so. As such, wouldn’t it be better for the government to set regulations to ensure safety while benefitting from the tax avenue?

Nevada Marijuana in Short Supply Just Ten Days After Sales Began

In the first three days after Nevada dispensaries began selling marijuana under the state’s new legislation permitting recreational use of the substance, the state’s 47 pot stores pulled in a combined $3 million dollars in revenue.

Nobody anticipated the demand. Now, just ten days after marijuana went on sale at midnight on July 1, the supply at the dispensaries is all but depleted, and at the urging of Nevada’s taxation department, Governor Brian Sandoval has called for a “state of emergency” which would ease regulations halting distribution.

In a concession to the liquor industry, which feared legal marijuana would hamper alcohol sales, legislators agreed to give alcohol wholesalers exclusive rights to distribute marijuana over the first eighteen months of legal sales. Only licensed distributors can “transport marijuana from cultivation and packaging facilities to the dispensaries.”

However, under state law, marijuana distributors must meet a number of regulative requirements. According to Stephanie Klapstein, a spokeswoman for Nevada’s Department of Taxation, “most [potential distributors] don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them.”

As a result, not a single distribution license has been issued.

The governor’s “state of emergency” measure would temporarily allow entities outside of the liquor industry to “distribute” marijuana. The Nevada Tax Commission will vote on it Thursday.

A host of businesses across the state have been transporting medicinal marijuana since it was introduced in Nevada in 2001. But, under the new recreational legislation requires dispensaries to get one hundred percent of their product—recreational as well as medicinal—from alcohol wholesalers.

Nevada Marijuana in Short Supply Just Ten Days After Legalization

Though it is unclear exactly how Sandoval’s “statement of emergency” will “expand the pool of potential distributors,” as Marketwatch’s Mike Murphy says it will, the most efficient approach may be to allow the businesses that handled the distribution of medical marijuana to become operational again.

That was, in fact, the original plan, before the alcohol industry won exclusive distribution rights in a last minute court scuffle.

The concerted effort the government is making to get pot back on the shelves may be hard to believe after decades in which politicians and law enforcement have done everything they could to keep marijuana out of people’s hands, but marijuana is fast becoming an indispensable source of revenue for the Nevada government.

A 25% tax on marijuana cultivation helps to fund Nevada’s school system, and an additional 10% sales tax goes directly to the government, with no hard and fast rules as to how it must be spent.

Of the $3 million in revenue Nevada’s marijuana industry generated over July 4th weekend, $1 million went to the government.

But Klapstein warns that the regulative bottleneck in the supply chain could have dire business consequences as well, perhaps extinguishing Nevada’s marijuana industry before it even gets smoking.

“The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building facilities across the state. They have hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the demands of the market. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many of these people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt,” Klapstein says.

Even if the red tape is cut, the marijuana shortage in Nevada could persist in the short term. Many cultivators in the state are between harvest cycles. Until their plants begin yielding flowers again, they will be unable to resupply marijuana retailers, regardless of bureaucratic obstacles or lack thereof.

This November, four states—California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada—voted to legalize recreational marijuana. All but Nevada chose to take a full year to decide how to best implement the voters’ wishes.

Nevada, on the other hand, hurried to complete marijuana legislation by the end of the 2017 legislative session. Now, consumers, businesses, and the government are all paying the price for the rush to get marijuana on the shelves.

Any stoner could have told the politicians not to move so quickly.

Pope Says ‘Nope’ to Dope – Pope Condemns Legalization of Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana brings about a controversial national debate, and everybody has their own opinion regarding the matter. The latest man voicing his opinion about marijuana does so from Vatican City.

It comes as no surprise that Pope Francis would not be in favor of marijuana.

In a drug enforcement conference meeting in Rome on Friday, the Pope told members- that even limited attempts to legalize drugs for recreational purposes, “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects.”

The Pope believes that the problem of widespread drug use is not solved by drugs. He has said that providing addicts with drugs does not solve anything, but is merely “a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon.”

Pope Francis has made clear his belief of the “evils” of drug addiction. Pope Francis has met with addicts on several occasions. In fact, he has spent the majority of his pastoral care to addicts.

Currently marijuana is legal in Argentina, in the form of marijuana cigarettes sold in pharmacies. In the United States, marijuana has been legalized in Washington state and Colorado. The debate continues to be argued nationwide. Oregon may be the next state, within this country, to put the matter up for vote this year.






Photo: AP