Catching the California Green Rush

We have all had to come to grips with the vote.

Some have been overjoyed while others dismay. Yet together we can all agree that there is going to be some big changes in the future. The cannabis industry and community will not be immune to the coming changes. Like it or hate it, we have to live with Trumps choices.

Choices like Chris Christy, Rudi Giuliani, Ben Carson and Steve Bannon being on the decision team. Given their track record a crackdown on recreational cannabis is not far off. The cannabis community is a traditional scapegoat for American politicians. They are going to be easy pickings for a religiously and viciously motivated prison industrial complex. Especially when decriminalization would cause prisons to lose their most abundant source of marketable labor.

the ACLU reports over 7 million arrests for cannabis between 2001 and 2010 nationwide. Whole populations have been funneled through the prison pipeline based on cannabis use. Prison inmates are often paid little to nothing for the labor they perform. Yet the prisons charge taxpayers and clients for the slave labor they provide through the inmates. Losing an abundant resource of easy to control inmates scares the crap out of people who profit from locking other people in cages.

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Prison Guards push to try keep locking people in cages to punish.

Like torturers bemoaning the end of the Inquisition, the prison industry needs cannabis to keep up the growth seen over the last hysteria driven decade. Anti-legalization in California was mainly funded by contributions in the $5,000 to $25,000 range. More than a dozen groups contributed to the effort to keep cannabis illicit. The groups included the California Police Chiefs Association, the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, and the California Correctional Supervisors Organization.

The push by the prison and policing industries to keep cannabis legal has shifted under scrutiny of science from claiming it will kill you to saying that any legislation put forth to decriminalize cannabis is not good enough to pass. An industry built on the idea of locking people in cages and punishing them to death is not going to let their cash cows get out of the production line without a fight.

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There is hope for cannabis to stay in the light.

With California, Nevada, and Massachusetts legalizing recreational marijuana the total number of states that have fully legalized pot grows by 3 just this year to 8 total. Weed is now legal from Mexico to Canada along the West Coast. It won’t be long before the cannabis industry is either legal nationwide or driven back underground entirely.

Taking medical marijuana into account, more than half of the nation (including Washington D.C.) have some form of legal cannabis on the books. With over half of the states allowing some form of cannabis, we are close to the critical mass needed to bring about nationwide legalization of cannabis.

California has had medical laws on the books for a while but it is the last of the western border states to adopt full legalization. Washington was the first to legalize recreational weed followed closely by Oregon and now Cali. As the Golden State joins the green rush, momentum is building for the industry.

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Stoners across the nation need to take notice of the implications to the market.

As the largest economy in the United States, California poses special interest to the cannabis community. Compared to the other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, California is a mercantile monster. They had the gold rush and now get the green rush based on population alone. There are the same number of people in Los Angeles alone as there are in the whole state of Oregon (3.97 million people).

Now extrapolate the economic impact of having the highest population in the US and the industry infrastructure to produce and manage agricultural crops. Take into account the fact that California boasts the highest business survival rate of any state (with 3.5 times more businesses created than closed in 2013) and we can see that a tsunami is coming.

The massive population and economic infrastructure already in place will help California to quickly establish itself as the dominant legal cannabis state. Even with the time and energy that Colorado has dedicated to establishing itself as a cannabis hub will be eclipsed by the sheer economic might of California.

Green Rush

This also means that banking is going to become significantly less restricted.

With so much money being produced by green rush states that have taxed cannabis so far, big banks are not going to be left out. Lobbying groups will convince the new Republican House and Senate to ‘deregulate’ banking to the point where cannabis money will have limited banking services they don’t currently enjoy.

Deregulation has traditionally led to economic bubbles and collapse. President elect Trump has shown throughout his life to value short-term gains over long-term stability. Deregulation is also a main tenant of the Republican held Senate and House leading to more speculative investment in the cannabis industry. Many multinational companies won’t want to touch cannabis directly but will invest through shells or in secondary businesses.

Secondary businesses like packaging and distribution companies will continue to grow alongside the dispensaries and seed banks. The need for accountants and electricians will continue to expand along with social acceptance of cannabis use. Instead of employing prison guards, tax money will begin to be diverted to social services leading to a backlash on the community from the judicial branch of government.

California will be a major player in the cannabis legal battle but we cannot underestimate the changes to the Supreme Court as well. With a socially conservative judge likely to replace the late Justice Scalia (and three more Justices currently in their 80’s), it is hard to say how state vs. federal rulings will come down.

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I hope to see continued progress as the green rush develops over the coming years.

The cannabis community is so close to coming out of the shadows that it is hard to imagine going back to locking people in cages because they have or use a plant. It is a real fear that many minority communities in America are feeling yet only time will tell how strong the backlash against the perceived enemies of the State will be.

California, Nevada and Massachusetts have joined the Green Rush and we have a lot more things to be hopeful for. Better banking, expanded markets and a no prison time for growers are just a few of the promises in store for legalized cannabis. Here’s hoping the green rush continues. Thanks for reading.

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