You know that feeling when you realize that the good friend you let stay on your couch for a couple of days has suddenly become a permanent fixture in your home?
Pot, weed, grass, 420, ganga, dope, herb, joint, blunt, cannabis, reefer, MaryJane, bud, stinkweed, nuggets, blaze. Call it what you want, marijuana has subtly (but quickly) become a regular part of our lives.
Consider that over half of US states (29) have laws on the books that broadly legalize marijuana in some form. Eight states have legalized it for recreational purposes — in just five years. Does anyone remember the “war on drugs.”
And while we struggle to reconcile the real issues of federal restrictions versus states rights, another fact is turning out to be irrefutable: marijuana is having a much broader impact than many of us realize.
As if you discovered that unwanted couch guest can actually fix your entire home.
Here is what leaders in the industry have to say about the impact that many people are missing.
Marijuana is surpassing alcohol in tax revenue.
According to Arnaud Dumas de Rauly, Chief Strategy Officer for The Blinc Group, the first business incubator for brands specializing in vaporizer and cannabis consumption technologies, “Most outsiders to the cannabis industry would be surprised to hear that revenue from cannabis taxes are twice as high as revenue from alcohol taxes. Colorado pulled in nearly $109 million in cannabis taxes in 2016, thanks to its $1.3 billion in sales, while the state only collected $44.5 million in alcohol taxes.
I believe the important underlying question here is: in a time where every state, as well as the federal government, is looking at alternative solutions to rake in more taxes, why are they simultaneously trying to stifle an entire industry able to balance their budgets?”
Women entrepreneurs are leading the marijuana industry.
Krista Whitley, CEO of Altitude Products, a Las Vegas-based conglomerate of cannabis companies, emphasizes, “Nationwide, 22 percent of leadership and management roles are filled by women. In the cannabis industry, the most recent study shows 36 percent of those roles are filled with women. In Nevada, that is closer to 50 percent, and I believe that is due to organizations like Women Grow.
The cannabis industry is an entire industry built on start up principles, so women’s natural caregiver tendencies and multitasking problem-solving skills are invaluable. Cannabis is all about girl power.”
Michael Bologna, CEO of Green Lion Partners, a Denver-based business strategy firm focused on early stage development amongst firms in the cannabis industry, adds, “The cannabis industry is marked by socially progressive individuals working to create a new type of industry focused on doing away with the ‘old boys club’ and the ‘how we’ve always done it’ mindset prevalent in most established industries. One exciting way this is shown is through the number of women in executive leadership roles which increases the diversity in thought and improves decision making compared to an all-male conversation.
Though this number is dropping, it is still above the US average. It is important that the cannabis industry continues to elevate and offer opportunities to talented women and not replicate the same homogenous mistakes.”
Cryptocurrency and marijuana are disrupting together.
“Most people are unaware that 70% of cannabis companies do not have bank accounts,” points out Danny Davis, Investment Partner at Convectium, a branding, packaging and equipment solutions company for the legal cannabis industry. “It is difficult for many companies in the cannabis market to make or even accept payments due to limitations by federal banks.
California Treasurer John Chiang told me Friday, ‘We are talking about an industry expected to come short of $7 billion beginning in 2018, with expected tax revenues of approximately $1 billion. This is trouble waiting to happen.’
This is why the industry is set up for cryptocurrency disruption.”
Marijuana is leading innovation.
Mike Weiss, President/Founder of Nature’s Dream, whose Cannacopia mobile app enables users to discover the varying effects of different marijuana strains, “There are over 7,500 different cannabis strains available throughout the world, and each provides a different effect. Given the variety of types, many companies within the space are innovating new methods of helping consumers identify the strains that are best suited to their preferences.”
There is still plenty of growth opportunity in marijuana.
According to Pantelis Ataliotis, President of Dr. Dabber, a high-tech vaporizer company that has produced the first portable electronic rig, “While the wholesale rate for medical cannabis is in the thousands, it can cost a grower as little as $600 to produce it. From growers, to dispensary owners, to ancillary entrepreneurs, the cannabis industry is ripe with potential for profit.”
What do you think about the rapid growth in the marijuana industry? Share your thoughts with others in the comments below.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.