With several states now deciding to legalize marijuana, the approval for legalizing cannabis across the nation is becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, a recent Gallup poll has revealed that 61% of American adults are now convinced that marijuana should be legal.
If this trend continues, legalized weed could potentially become a bigger business than it already is. According to a report by ArcView Market Research and New Frontier, pot sales in Colorado, Alaska, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Oregon grew from $4.6 billion in 2014 to $5.7 billion last year. The report also predicted that legal marijuana sales in the U.S. could exceed $22 billion by 2020, with California leading the country.
But beyond the potential tax revenue, how will the spread of legalized marijuana affect the nation’s landscape? Here are 4 ways that Marijuana legalization could affect your city.
3) The pot store will be the new liquor store.
Although it will not happen overnight, it is highly likely that we will be seeing a proliferation of retail marijuana shops in states that legalize weed. Colorado as of now has 454 licensed retail marijuana stores and around 700 storefronts that offer either retail pot or medical marijuana. The highest concentration of stores can be found in the state capital of Denver and as anti-marijuana organizations like to point out, has more marijuana shops than McDonald’s, 7-11 stores and Starbucks.
2) Cannabis in all its forms will be more visible.
When pot was first legalized in Washington and Colorado in 2012, critics feared that dangerous potheads will overrun the city blocks. That scenario still has not come to pass as it is still illegal to consume marijuana in public. That being said, there has been an increase in the visibility of Cannabis.
While some retail marijuana stores still look like the stereotypical weed shop, there is a new generation of shops that are redefining the marijuana market with their sleek interiored boutiques, upscale customer experience and superior products.
Marijuana has also infiltrated the mainstream discussion. The nightly news in Seattle, Denver, for example, features weed-related stories every night and The Denver Post has a marijuana-focused section called “The Cannabist” that covers national marijuana news and culture. With all these advocates and shops that campaign to break down the negative stigma around marijuana, weed is no longer a taboo subject.
1) More and more businesses will be supporting the marijuana industry.
Getting a loan when starting a marijuana-related business can be difficult as it is still illegal on a federal level and banks are federally chartered. It is for this reason that financing for these businesses often requires support from private investors. On top of this, it is difficult to determine where a grow house or a retail shop is allowed.
Fortunately (for those people who are interested to join the marijuana industry), there are startup companies like HerbFront who are trying to take the guesswork out of embarking on a marijuana business venture by offering an online legal cannabis property listing service. You can think of it as the Zillow of weed. For example, if you want to search for new listings of marijuana shops or verify if your property is in compliance with local zoning laws, HerbFront is there to help you.
With more and more states voting for the legalization of medicinal or recreational marijuana, the weed industry is going to need companies like HerbFront to help manage the challenges of starting a weed-centric business.