Kentucky State Budget Director Jane Driskell has reported revenue estimates in the first year of the new budget to be 370 million short of what would be needed. This information appeared in the Kentucky Enquirer’s December 13, 2013 edition under the title, ’Revenue shortfall may require cuts’. Since there isn’t much left to cut, the next best solution is in increased revenues.
We have right now, the ability to increase revenues, create jobs, and stir millions in economic activity and all we have to do is end marijuana prohibition and allow the marijuana market to grow. The Federal Government’s Justice Department has put forth guidelines for State marijuana legalization. All a State has to do is make sure it’s marijuana laws meet 8 simple parameters:
No distribution to minors
No directing sales revenue to gangs
No diverting marijuana to States where it is illegal
No using legal sales as a cover for trafficking
No using firearms and violence in marijuana operations
No driving under the influence
No growing on public lands
No possessing or using on Federal property
These guidelines are certainly not difficult to meet and I believe the current version of the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act meets them so there shouldn’t be interference from the Justice Department in this regard. Recreational and industrial laws must meet them also.
Several articles have caught my eye recently and they indicate which way the winds are blowing! The first was an article in the Denver Post reporting that medical marijuana operations have raised 2.2 million from sales tax this year and that these businesses have paid an additional 2 million in local taxes. A related article in the Colorado Springs Gazette about looming battles over marijuana revenues reported that the State expects to generate 67 million a year from medical and recreational marijuana sales. Governor Hickenlooper is quoted as saying, “What we’re going to see is a regulatory environment that is going to have the resources to have every bit as much accountability and enforcement as alcohol”. Marijuana Business Daily has reported that according to the Colorado Department of Revenue dispensaries reported record revenues of 329 million from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. That’s an increase from 219 million for the previous 12 months.
Then there was this Kentucky Enquirer article which appeared in the December 15, 2013 edition business section titled, ‘Startup’s Mission is to Legalize Marijuana’. About a startup company, ‘Ghost Group’, a technology holding company, that is targeting a niche market in the growing marijuana industry. With revenues and expenditures in the million dollar range the company is expected to do very well.
And finally, there was this, Sunday morning on ABC, on a business and finance show titled, ‘On The Money’ they devoted an entire segment to marijuana businesses and entrepreneurship with subtitles like, ‘High Times High Profits’, ‘The Weed Wave’, “Legal But Not’, and Rules To Rolling Up’. They were admonishing those interested investors to be careful about investing until things shake out, and they presented the following chart:
Legal Marijuana Market Projections
Current Market Value: $1.44 Billion
Projected Growth 2014: 64%
Market Value by 2018: $10.2 Billion
It is quite obvious that the potential and growth of this market is enormous.
Our Legislators can show fortitude and vision by allowing our citizens to get in on this growth and bring those much needed revenues here. The State desperately needs the revenue stream and our citizens need jobs and economic growth. We should take advantage of the opportunities presented to us.
The Assembly should move as soon as the session opens to pass the Gatewood medical act and following the Federal Guidelines, establish regulations, and pass an industrial and recreational bill as soon as possible. There is no reason to delay any longer. Better we get out ahead than we get left behind and now is the time!!!