Marijuana legalization may spur America’s next great industry. Oil, railroads, aviation, automobiles, finance and the personal computer. Marijuana could join this list, as it is expected to be one of America’s next great industries. In what is being called a billion-dollar green rush, analysts are now projecting a 64 percent increase in the marijuana market to $2.34 billion. Analysts are also projecting a five-year increase in the marijuana market to $10.2 billion.
Marijuana legalization could produce many billionaires in the next decade, according to Colorado cannabis mogul Tripp Keber. Mr. Keber founded the brand Dixie-Elixirs which markets cannabis-infused products. Keber is one of approximately 60 investors, who are part of the California-based ArcView Investment Network. The group is made up of many investors already established in the marijuana industry, plus a number of investors that are new to the industry. Fear of federal prosecution had scared off many investors. But a relaxed Justice Department policy regarding prosecuting marijuana investors, as being part of criminal conspiracy, has opened up new doors for a whole new core of investors.
The federal Controlled Substance Act still remains a hurdle outside the states of Washington and Colorado and will continue to hinder future investment. Issues like banking, taxes, and payroll are still serious problems for the marijuana industry. It has forced merchants into being cash-only enterprises. They pay everything strictly by cash, including payroll, city and state taxes, as well as licensing fees. Legislation is being advanced on Capitol Hill to protect the industry from the long arm of the federal government, including House Resolution 2652 and House Resolution 1523 which will provide access to the banks for the marijuana industry and legislation forcing the federal government to respect state laws in respect to the legalization of marijuana.
Regardless of roadblocks, marijuana legalization is still spurring America’s next great industry. Mark Twain once said that when there is a gold rush, it’s a good time to be in the pick and shovel business. The marijuana industry has spurred on the cottage industry of indoor marijuana cultivation and the retail sales of recreational marijuana, but it has also spawned collateral industries related to legalization of marijuana. There has been an explosion of mobile apps available on iTunes and Google Play Store that provide the public with immediate information on marijuana to users on their Apple or Android devices. The app Leafy is said to be the largest source of marijuana information resources, while the app Cannabis News is said to be the largest source of news for the marijuana enthusiast. One of the more recent apps to hit the market is iWeedz, who’s search engine connects consumers with vendors. It also claims to be accepting Bitcoins soon.
Brian Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm that specializes in marijuana investment, claims its firm attracts investors from both the far right and the far left. The industry attracts new money and old money, according to Kennedy. Privateer Holdings recently acquired the mobile app Leafy.
Steve DeAngelo, who operates a marijuana dispensary in California, offers a warning that the potential of the marijuana industry is contingent on the current business owners acting responsibly. If marijuana legalization is to spur America’s next great industry, the progress will be hinged on how the nation perceives us following through on our promises.
By John J. Poltonowicz Twitter