A few years ago voters in Colorado and Washington made the decision that they had had enough of the prohibitionist policies of the last century and that it was time to usher in a new age. At the end of the day marijuana is just a plant, one with an incredible variety of uses, but it’s still just a plant in soil that you need to water or it will die. So the very process of voting to “legalize” a plant on its face is somewhat absurd. But thankfully the voters in these states saw the absurdity of prohibition, and they finally broke with almost a century of policy on a quest to form their own . The future of marijuana is still uncertain, however it seems that with such extraordinary advances, that a new dawn is coming as it pertains to cannabis.
Since Cannabis has been grown and sold almost entirely illegally in the last century means that there are already very entrenched groups of people who are dedicated to protecting their product and what they’ve developed. All these strains come from real people, who spend countless hours perfecting them. And just because your local seed bank has virtually everything you need to buy online, doesn’t mean that there isn’t literally thousands of hours of work that have gone into the creation of those seeds. Just watch the documentary Strain Hunters to see the extents that some go to obtain various strains of cannabis.
But lets get back to numbers, the marijuana market in the US is estimated to be worth between 20 and 40 billion dollars a year. I now these numbers get thrown around and often how huge they actually are isn’t fully understood, but lets just say, this number is fucking ridiculous. It beats out other common crops such as wheat and corn. Yeah, the market for weed is unparalleled compared to any other plant in the world.
And currently all of this is going through the black market. Entry into selling marijuana is quite simple in the US, as even those with a few hundreds dollars can start building an enterprise within weeks. And as they say, “people don’t sell drugs, drugs sell themselves. In the case of legalization, the long term future would be one that resembles regulations which are currently in place for alcohol and tobacco. Where it could be sold depends on how the states individually want to regulate it. Just as it currently is with alcohol. Any shop that sells marijuana in the future will almost certainly have to obtain a proper license to do so. The one question that lingers however is whether or not licenses will be needed for cultivation of the plant since it so simple to “manufacture drugs”.
If we’re looking to taxes we can see that in Colorado they placed a 25% excise tax on marijuana, and on top of that a 10% sales tax as well. By 2015 it is estimated that these programs will likely make half a billion dollars in revenue to the states.
The quality of marijuana will most likely stay the same, as science progresses into the study of cannabis. There will be some strains which are high in CBDs but almost have no THC ( Such as Charlotte’s Web) and there will also be high THC strains. Again, the same can be said for alcohol, you can buy a wine cooler or everclear. Whatever floats your boat. The price of marijuana however, is expected to steadily decline, especially with the advancement of huge outdoor legal grows. I personally think a lot of the ultra potent strains we see today will actually be used less as consumers have more access to choice. If you look at the sales, you’ll see that Kush is undoubtedly the top seller, with Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies, and Cheese also making extremely high sales. Kush strains were among those cultivated by the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals, and this wasn’t only for the thc content, but rather the mix of CBDs as well as the plant itself. Undoubtedly there will be intellectual property claims as certain strains begin to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of sales.
The DEA destroyed around 4 million marijuana plants last year and this had little to no impact on sales. If these raids end I don’t think there will be any change in the price at all. The state will save millions of tax payer dollars. Yes, the current war on drugs really is that futile.
However, one can expect southern and more “tropical” climates to florish as marijuana prohibition comes to an end. Kentucky and Tennesee both had an estimated billion dollar crop last year, however since it was all sold on the black market the state obtained absolutely no revenue from it. These struggling economies will have a lot to gain by ending prohibition. As a comparison you can think of how many people subsist on farming as a large part of their economy, and then take all the money from their largest crop, and double that. That’s how much cannabis will help these communities.
And of course this doesn’t take into account the billions of dollars saved on incarcerating and processing literally hundreds of thousands of citizens a year. Families won’t be torn apart. Thousands of lives will be saved as gang violence decreases, and billions of dollars of new revenue will flood into states which legalize the herb