Four more states voted to make recreational marijuana use legal this year. It is still completely illegal in half of the country, and legal only for medical use in most states that allow it at all, but the movement is gaining momentum and people are starting to see through the self-serving lobbying efforts to block marijuana legalization. As marijuana becomes a bona fide industry, the companies in it are turning to technology to cultivate, harvest and distribute the crop most effectively and efficiently.
The revolution to legalize marijuana is marching slowly—but steadily—forward. Half of the states in the United States plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana or cannabis for medical use, and more states are legalizing recreational use with each election cycle. In the recent election, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine all passed ballot measures to legalize for recreational use.
Even in states where marijuana is technically illegal, law enforcement tends to look the other way for all but the most egregious offenses. The reality is that there is no common sense argument that allows for cigarettes and alcohol to be legal while marijuana is not. Both cigarettes and alcohol are verifiably more harmful than marijuana.
Those most strongly opposed to legalizing marijuana object because of money, not the health or welfare of society. The tobacco and alcohol industries lobby heavily against legalizing marijuana because it threatens their respective monopolies on our vices. Law enforcement and the prison industry are opposed to legalizing marijuana because it would impact the ability to cash in on a steady flow of inmates charged with petty possession.
Despite widespread fear mongering and dire predictions of the demise of society as we know it, Colorado has flourished since legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Retail stores, cultivation facilities, and manufacturers have popped up and employ thousands. The industry brings in over a hundred million in state taxes annually. Law enforcement can focus on more heinous crimes.
All-in-all, legalizing marijuana has been a huge success in Colorado. Many states sat on the sidelines to see what impact it would have in Colorado, but now that they see how well it’s going lawmakers are introducing legislation to capitalize on the benefits in their own states.
Along with the various production and retail businesses that spring up when marijuana is legalized, there are also a variety of tech opportunities. As marijuana becomes a bigger industry across the entire country, it could drive a boom in marijuana-related tech.
I recently had an opportunity to speak with the team at ShowGrow. David Barakett, CEO of ShowGrow, went from being the youngest owner of a Century 21 real estate office to launching a business in the medical marijuana industry. ShowGrow has 4 retail dispensaries currently, and is poised to take advantage of the growing market—in large part thanks to technology.
See the full story on Forbes: Legalized Marijuana Could Drive A New Tech Boom.