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The Money behind Legal Weed

In the ongoing battle to make medical marijuana legal in all 50 states (perhaps followed by full legalization) there’s a definite business interest in play. The profit motive cannot be denied. We in the US do love our drugs and Mexican drug cartels aren’t the only one’s interested in tapping into the market. With legalization of either type, business opportunities are on the rise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, sales of legal weed topped the billion dollar mark last year, and that’s just counting direct sales. Along with this comes a host of other, related activities more difficult to quantify. For example, clinics where marijuana is prescribed offer opportunities for doctors to make some dough from the marijuana craving.

In one example from the WSJ, an enterprising young man sinks three million into opening his legal-to-grow pot operation in Denver. No bank loan available, it’s all start-up money raised from family and friends. But he directly employs 70 people to run his 48 room greenhouse. Wages aren’t great, running about $10 an hour for workers who tend the plants by hand. Other jobs potentially pay more, and those willing to act as entrepreneurs have a chance at serious money.

In Connecticut, we haven’t yet sorted out distribution. While it’s legal to possess cannabis with a medical marijuana registration, there’s no one making big bucks growing or selling it legally – yet. But with legal sales nationwide expected to reach $3 billion this year, it’s a tempting train to get on.

Along with employment for those in the marijuana industry, expect a rise in those seeking treatment for problems with the drug. The National Institute on Drug Abuse gives an addiction rate of 9 percent for marijuana users, but this figure rises to 17 percent when use is daily. Increasing use will, unfortunately, generate more “customers” for treatment facilities and marijuana addiction may even become a money-making subspecialty.


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