Legalizing weed means regulation, taxes, unfair competition


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Mother Nature gave us the seed for the weed — and soon it will land in the hands of government regulators, politicians and their lobbyists, giant corporations and Big Pharma.

There are many analysts who believe tough hurdles still exist, that America may not being going to pot as fast as many believe. 

But there’s no question momentum is building, and even is starting to sprout in other countries.

In particular, the business community, across several different sectors, is investing in identifying the opportunities. Cannabis data provider New Frontier Financials, for example, recently unveiled the results of a massive study for potential investors at the Marijuana Investor Summit in Denver.

The factors being studied, according to a New Frontier press release:

Return on Investment: Pricing and profitability in increasingly competitive markets

Products Trends: The growth of edibles and other marijuana-infused products

Business Ecosystem: Opportunities and risks in evolving ancillary markets

Legislation: The impact of differing state regulatory models on the size of the market opportunity

Taxation: The effect of tax policy on consumer demand

Politics & Public Opinion: The widening gulf between federal law and public opinion

Society: Impact of legalization on the community

Sustainability: Improving energy efficiency in cultivation

Science: Developments in research on the medical effects of marijuana.

The playing field on both business and legislative levels is taking shape. Corporate America soon will have a navigational map to maximize profits. With nearly half of the states in America having some type of legalized marijuana on the books, the ground is shaking with marketers, researchers, product developers, entrepreneurs and even state governments salivating over the potential tidal wave of new revenues coming their way.

The line between decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana is a line between reversing the catastrophic failures of the War on Drugs or creating an industry that furthers government’s regulatory powers and positions corporate America to do what it does best — package, process, homogenize and control the production and distribution of marijuana.

While marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, the pressure from state governments and related industries’ lobbyists will grow and grow more powerful.

Even on the state level, the tax-and-regulate momentum will build quickly, forming strong alliances with corporate America.

What magnificent irony.

No way to end the war on drugs

What did the War on Drugs bring us since it intensified under former President Richard Nixon? For beginners, it costs $51 billion annually. It fueled America’s rise as the country with the world’s highest incarceration rate. It drove public-money costs through the roof to house those “prisoners” and, in the process, destroyed thousands of lives by tagging “felon” on the backs of joint smokers. In 2013 alone, more than 600,000 pot-related arrests were made.

The list of other detrimental financial and human costs of the War on Drugs could fill a book, but the irony is clear: In short order, the government will shift 360 degrees from an all-out war against drugs, including marijuana, to create laws that control them and benefit politicians and corporate America.

 

As we forecast a year ago: “… big money is coming into the game. And that means politicians will be easily brought on board and eager to push pro-pot agendas… How ironic, too, is this development? After decades of ruining millions of lives with oppressive pot laws that disproportionately punished users and sellers, smoking pot is now becoming legal and accepted.” 

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