Can the U.S. Marijuana Market Continue to Expand?
One of the hottest industries around just got a little bit hotter; Nevada has officially legalized recreational marijuana use in the state. That means that the home of Sin City is about to offer even more pleasures that are taboo or outright illegal in many other states across the country. But what does the move mean for the U.S. marijuana market at large? A lot.
First, as is always the case, whenever a state legalizes marijuana, people are eagerly watching tax revenue. Whatever one’s thoughts are on weed, if enough people can be convinced that the benefits of legalization outweigh the negatives, obviously it would stand to reason that marijuana would be legalized sooner rather than later.
But while pot usage is a contentious issue among many people, increasing tax revenue usually isn’t. Every state, county, city, and town wants to have more money to throw around on things like schools, parks, and services. But, of course, the typical way to raise money is through tax increases, which is a whole other can of worms. But that’s where marijuana comes in.
According to the state, Nevada is expected to bring in $60.0 million more in the next two years, with more money on the way, as the industry continues to boom. (Source: “$60M in tax revenue projected as Nevada preps for recreational marijuana,” KSNV NBC, June 26, 2017.)
That kind of cash certainly has the power to change minds in electorates across the United States. At this point, Nevada is another drop in the slow trickle of states that are opting to have a regulated marijuana market instead of prohibiting the drug.
Nevada joins Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia in the fraternity of states that have voted to legalize recreational use of the drug.
Yes, it does appear that one day marijuana will be legalized all across the country, but the question is when. We’ve talked at length about how this current presidential administration could potentially be a huge obstacle to legalized marijuana, as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has gone on record stating his vehement opposition to legalized drug use.
But what we haven’t addressed are the things that the U.S. marijuana market has going for it, in the White House and beyond.
The Future of the Pot Stock
As it stands, there is good money to be made in the pot stock market. But realistically, the true gold rush—or should I say green rush?—will occur when the U.S. legalizes marijuana across the country.
While it’s great for countries like Canada to move forward with legalization, the pot stock big money obviously lies in bigger markets like the highly populated U.S. and European Union (EU).
So what could motivate the U.S. government to push ahead down a path toward legalization? Well, first, we have to understand what motivates the current president, Donald Trump.
Trump ran his campaign on a number of issues, but one of his biggest selling points to his voters was his much-talked-about ability to bring back jobs to the United States.
In the marijuana industry, jobs abound.
New Frontier Data, a business intelligence firm, estimates that as many as 250,000 new jobs could be created by the legal weed sector by 2020. (Source: “Pot comes to Sin City: Recreational use is now law in Nevada as weed makes for strange bedfellows,” CNBC, July 1, 2017.)
If Trump is serious about bringing jobs to the U.S., then pot may serve as a convenient tool to enact his vision.
Also consider that one of Trump’s top advisors, Roger Stone, is a huge proponent of legalized marijuana. The political operative has his own documentary about how influential he was on the president during the election campaign and, as such, Stone could be an important figure in the fight for countrywide legalization.
On top of that, Trump is known for keeping his advisors close. Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Jared Kushner, all have been said to be hugely influential on the president, at one time or another. Stone’s turn may yet come.
If it does, that could be huge news for the U.S. marijuana market.
In fact, the economic enticement of marijuana may be enough to draw Trump toward pushing legislation forward, especially if it begins to poll well enough that it could help him or the Republicans during the next election cycle.
Of course, this move would go against traditional right-wing orthodoxy, but that’s not exactly untrodden territory for this president.