Do you remember the last time you called up your dealer for some weed? Well, I don’t, and to me, that’s a good thing. Look, I understand that this whole cannabis legalization process has not been all roses and butterflies, but why would you even think that it would be? I find it quite weird that so many people would be complaining about something they’ve been supporting for the last couple of decades.
My whole point of this article is to take a step back and look at the big picture instead of complaining about every little detail you don’t like about legalization. I believe that the fact that we’ve gotten this far in general (I mean… even a country like Thailand is in the process of legalizing it) should be way more celebrated on a day to day basis. Let’s dive deeper into just some of the reasons why you should stop complaining about this industry as of right now.
The cannabis industry has created a job boom
I’m talking about a ridiculous amount of jobs. In 2019, the cannabis industry had more employees in the US than the coal mining industry, the beer industry, and the textile manufacturing industry COMBINED. This is an insane amount of people relying on the legal cannabis industry to provide for their families. Based on Leafly’s report in partnership with Whitney Economics (where they had to start counting cannabis jobs 3 years ago to create this awesome report because the federal government won’t), in March 2019, there were more than 211,000 cannabis-related jobs in the US, while more than 64,000 of those jobs were created in 2018. Right now, cannabis is at the forefront of job creation in the United States, without much competition. Leafly says that Glassdoor (job posting website) reports that job openings in the cannabis industry listed on its site rose from 858 in December 2017 to 1,512 in December 2018.
In Canada, where cannabis has been Federally legal since 2018, the numbers are also consistently rising. According to an article by BNN Bloomberg from Aug. 2019, StatsCan reported that 9,200 people are working in the Canadian cannabis sector, up from 2,630 in the fiscal 2018 year and 1,438 in fiscal 2017. The number of companies in the cannabis industry is now tallied at 175, up from 83 a year earlier and 37 in 2017. And since it is legal throughout the entire country, not all jobs consist of growing or manufacturing. Bloomberg says that wages, salaries, and employee benefits accounted for about 29 percent of cannabis business expenses in 2019.
Cannabis generates dollars
Let’s start this off with Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2014 (seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?). In the summer of 2019 (June, to be precise), Colorado hit 1 billion dollars in state revenue. This is from a report from CNBC from June 2019:
|Year||Total State Revenue from Cannabis|
*2019 data is through May
Let’s move over to California, where in 2018, legal cannabis sales hit $2.5 billion. This is a BRAND NEW industry, so not everything is always positive 100% of the time. According to a report released by Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, in 2017, legal cannabis sales were roughly $3 billion, that’s a $500 million drop in 1 year. It’s kind of normal in a state where the entire sector is somewhat grey, and the transition to a fully regulated legal system is still ongoing.
In Illinois, where recreational cannabis became legal on January 1st, 2020, nearly $11 million of legal weed was sold in about 7 days, according to CNN.
In Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe, between November 20, 2018, and January 20, 2019, consumers purchased nearly $24 million of recreational cannabis products, and the state has received about $4 million in tax revenue.
I’m not going to go state by state here, but you see the pattern, the equation is pretty simple: weed = $$$.
According to Statistics Canada, since cannabis was legalized in Canada, online and retail store sales have reached $908 million. There are now more than 400 retail stores in the country, with 45% of Canadians living within 10 km of a cannabis store. Once again, it’s quite simple, cannabis brings MONEY. Statistics Canada has another report where they breakdown tax revenue, and according to them, in the first five and a half months following the legalization, Canadian governments earned $186 million from excise taxes and general taxes on goods and services directly related to the sale of cannabis.
The national average right now of people using cannabis is 16%, that’s going to keep growing. New opportunities relating to cannabis jobs and income will keep popping up, so will tax revenues. To quote Mr. Hov himself, men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
Convenience, consistency and quality
Let me take a second here to honor the guys that were everybody’s best friends (or so they thought). The most important people in your life when it came to specific times, or situations. This is to all the small talks we’ve had about life, to all the 4 text convos we’ve had throughout the years (u around? Ya. How much?), to all the “I’ll be there in 5” lies that you guys have told me, to all the sketchy parking lot meet-ups. We all had awesome drug dealers that were ready to cut through lanes and ride through stop signs, at 3 A.M on a Wednesday, like some sort of cannabis superhero (Weedman!) because that was their THING. They wanted to be the best, friendliest, the most passionate and the hardest working drug dealers. You guys (wipes tear from eye) were the real MVP’s.
Well, fast-forward to today, and times have definitely changed. I’ve successfully broken up with all of the drug dealers from my past. My main cannabis supplier is now the government. I know, that does not sound like a good thing, but if you love whiskey would you buy bottles of fake hennessy from the guy around the corner because it’s cheaper? No, you wouldn’t. I don’t want to rely on anybody to buy my cannabis, and I know for a fact, that on Fridays I can go into a cannabis store between 9 AM and 9 PM and buy my Ultra Sour.
Consistency & Quality
Let’s go back to our drug dealer friends for a second, I’m sure you remember all of those “I got some crazy purple kush, best in the city” marketing text messages they used to mass send to all the clients in their contact book. Remember when you heard all those crazy strain names for the first time? Well that was like playing phone tag really, if there are 10 people that touched the weed before you get your hands on your oz, leprechaun kush sounds somewhat believable.
Looking back at it now, none of it makes sense. The grading of the weed didn’t make sense, the created THC percentages without using any tools didn’t make sense. You know what, as I’m writing this article, I’m realizing dealers WERE NOT your friends, they were just great marketers (wipes another tear from eye).
I’m fully aware that consistency and quality are the two things that people are complaining about the most when it comes to legalization, so it’s kinda weird that it’s also part of my reasoning to stop complaining. I’m just going to preach patience here, consistency and quality 99% of the time IS COMING. When I’m reviewing some Purple Berry that I bought for $19 and it’s less dry, more flavorful and just overall better than a strain I purchased for $40, I have to stop myself from going off at the producers of this $40 product.
But I stay calm, and I review it without bias, because why? Because it’s BRAND NEW. The cannabis industry is learning as it grows, everything will get better with time.
Let’s Stop Complaining
This was just a small list of rational reasons to stop complaining about this industry. I can also talk about ALL the medical benefits that THC and CBD offers, all the stories of children with epilepsy that are now living a better life, all the war veterans living with PTSD and opiod addiction that cannabis has helped, all the people that were wrongfully imprisoned for stupid weed charges in the US and in Canada that are now OUT of jail since legalization, all of the cancer and aids patients that are now living with less pain daily because of medicinal weed…..you get the point.
Human beings have a natural tendency to want what they don’t have, so we wanted legal weed, we got it, and now we complain about our legal weed. Let’s all take a little step back and understand and realize that we are a part of history here, that everything can only get better, NOT worse. Adult-like discussions about the industry, and what can be done to make it better, are always welcome. But tweets about how shitty government weed is and saying things like “I’ll just stick with my dealer”….come on guys, we’re better than that.