A few years ago, I did some reporting on the cannabis industry for Black Enterprise. Colorado had just become the first state to legalize marijuana, and the reality that it was going to become a significant player in local economics for many states, a rock star of the investment community, and an entrepreneurial pursuit for many, made it imperative that I armed my audiences with as much information as possible. Code word 4/20 for smoking marijuana comes from April 20th—a day of celebration among cannabis enthusiasts.
Marijuana’s Move into the Mainstream Economy
Of course, there is always backlash in any effort to inform regarding the controversial plant, but since that time, marijuana’s move into the mainstream economy cannot be denied. A recent survey found that 1 in 8 adults are avid marijuana users. Just 10 years ago, marijuana was illegal across the United States. Today 35 states plus the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form—although federally cannabis use remails illegal. During the 2020 election New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota, and Montana became the newest states to legalize marijuana. Cannabis is big business.
- 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use
- 15 states and the District of Columbia have made it legal for adults 21 and older to buy and consume recreational marijuana
- Retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the U.S. eclipsed $15 billion by the end of 2020
- States raked in a combined $6.9 billion in tax revenue from recreational marijuana use.
- Public and private cannabis companies raised $5.5 billion from investors in 2019 and $2.6 billion in the first half of 2020 amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
- San Francisco has a cannabis cultivation program, CityGrow, which requires cannabis enterprises to hire 33% of their workforce through apprenticeships aimed at economically disadvantaged job seekers.
- Mexico is set to become the largest country in the world with a legal cannabis marketplace.
The dynamic trio: Safon Floyd, Siritia Wright, and Kali Wilder, are the founders of EstroHaze, a multimedia company that highlights the businesses and lifestyles of multicultural women in the cannabis industry. Check out these green entrepreneurs talk about their journey as businesswomen, challenges, and tips during this Wealth Wednesday’s with Angela Yee and Stacey Tisdale.