Investing in the Marijuana Business
Is Federal Legalization on the Way?
How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana? If you’re like most Americans, you are all for it.
According to a Gallup Poll from last week, most Americans favor the legalization of pot – the first time this has ever been the case. In fact, support for legalization has increased by 10% in one year. With this increase in tolerance for marijuana legalization, it’s no surprise that the issue is being brought up within the government.
A new bill to decriminalize possession of marijuana in D.C. looks like it will receive the go-ahead in the nation's capital. Ten of the 13 council members are in favor of it.
Before stepping into what this means for the marijuana industry in the United States, let’s think about the legal implications. People are arrested for marijuana possessions every day, but with this passing of the bill, D.C. will be one more region free from having to deal with that crime. It will save money as well, as less time will have to be put into arresting, arraigning, and imprisoning people for possession.
If this bill were to pass, it would open up another issue: legalizing pot for recreational use. Colorado and Washington have already done so, and they are gearing up for the industry to bring in loads of money. And it’s likely these states will sway other towards legalization – it’s going to be difficult to look away from the revenue this law could bring in.
And it would also bring national attention to the issue, putting pressure on Congress to move forward with a federal decision on marijuana regulation.
Legalizing marijuana has the potential to bring the United States as much as $120 billion a year, according to Bloomberg, though this number would realistically fall closer to $35 to $45 billion. The taxes from this industry could be $20 billion or more.
Now, you know how the government works. It wants to make money, and that is what is going to make it stop and consider this.
The only thing that may delay the government is its stance that the drug can create serious mental health issues – despite reports by Drug Policy Alliance that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
So there's a good possibility that Congress will end up legalizing marijuana in small amounts, and from there, it will move on to legalizing it for recreational use. How long? Well, according to Erik Altieri from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws:
“This is where you’re going to see federal movement coming in the next year or two.”
Investing in the Marijuana Industry Now
The next year or two isn’t far off, and that’s why many companies are getting ready by turning to Canada. Canada has been in the medical marijuana business for over a decade, but with strict guidelines. Last month, it lessened the hold on marijuana production for medical uses by allowing RCMP certified indoor marijuana farms.
Canada is also in the business of certifying producers for medical marijuana. American firms are starting to benefit from this by partnering up with a Canadian resident, who is able to become certified. From there, the firm can start to deliver products and services to Canadians and then to Americans once it becomes legal.
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Privateer Holdings, based in Seattle, has started to look towards the Canadian cannabis market. It invested in a site and app called Leafly.com, which helps people locate medical marijuana suppliers in the U.S. and Canada. As marijuana becomes legal, the company will start to see powerful gains in the use of the resource.
Medbox in California is another company using Canada to get ready for the U.S. legalization of marijuana. The company is going to start setting up cannabis vending machines in Canada with special security features, enabling people to get their “medication” easily.
As an investor, looking into Medbox and Privateer Holdings is a good idea. And while these companies are private, there are marijuana-related stocks too, such as GrowLife (OTC: PHOT), GreenGro Technologies (OTC: GRNH), and Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP). These stocks often receive a lot of criticism from being volatile, but with the industry growing, things will soon turn around for them.
Colorado and Washington are already working to make money from cannabis, so it won’t be too long before the United States as a whole will as well. As government officials get used to the idea, you should do as many of the companies reaching out to Canada are doing – get prepared to make money from what could soon be one of the biggest industries in America.
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