Growing Like A Weed
By Keith Grevenitz
What a nightmare this year has been. Nationwide unemployment rates are teetering around 15 percent. Restaurants are shuttering in droves. Covid-19 has hogtied the world economy. GNC, Chuckie Cheese, J.C. Penney, Hertz, 24 Hour Fitness, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Pier 1, and Gold’s Gym are some iconic American corporations that have recently filed for bankruptcy. Somehow amidst all these downturns the cannabis industry seems to be weathering the storm. It was shocking to many, even some working in cannabis, that marijuana was deemed essential. Imagine what that really means for the biz. It reminds of a grand triumph – like a modern version of tearing down the Berlin wall. The cannabis industry is here to stay.
With marijuana standing tall despite covid-related economic fallout, many states may be eyeing cannabis come November for a tax revenue boost. Arizona, New Jersey, and New York should be pivoting towards recreational sales/use. Here are the details:
An Arizona recreational ballot initiative barely failed in 2016. 48 percent of votes tallied were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. Arizona looked to join California and Oregon as states that initially rejected similar initiatives. In 2016, there was a lot of big money trying to prevent the initiative from passing that doesn’t look to be an issue in 2020. Big Pharma rolled up its sleeve and took out its wallet spending millions on marketing to voters and campaigning against legal recreational marijuana in Arizona. One particular pharma company, Insys Therapeutics, is no longer an obstacle as the company has undergone structural changes and is now vying to enter the cannabis market in the state. Another big donor opposing was the owner of Discount Tire, who God rest his soul, has passed away.
A poll conducted by Marijuana Movement suggests that 65% of Arizona voters are in favor, up 9% from the previous year.
Big companies with big money and proven track records have moved into the state since 2016. A company to watch is Vext Science Inc. also known as Vapen.
While small in size, New Jersey is one of the most densely populated states in the union. Many large cannabis ventures have acquired strategic assets in Jersey, and as recently as April, a Monmouth University poll determined 60% of eligible voters are in favor of legalization of recreational use. Maybe New Jersey will finally calm down.
Covid-19 struck New York very hard and very fast and New York is likely to see marijuana as a pathway to getting back into the black. Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed willingness to
legalize recreational marijuana. New York City could be a role model for the world to open its mind about cannabis.