What makes cannabis stocks so difficult to invest in is the archaic and ever-changing laws that surround it. A normal business supply chain – the kind that Amazon or Walmart have in place – is efficient nearly across the globe, but transporting marijuana (especially in bulk) is a harshly punishable crime, even in places where it’s legal.
Look no further than Arizona for proof of how these laws get in the way. Although medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 by Proposition 203, 2018 saw a court case tried in Arizona courts that found cannabis and marijuana are two different substances under the law.
The issue arose during a criminal drug possession case involving a medical marijuana patient found with cannabis concentrates. The 2010 voter initiative failed to override an existing law using different verbiage, and it sent shockwaves throughout the industry.
It could happen to anyone, and the White House constantly teeters around its decision on the drug’s federal legal status. At any given moment, the entire industry could be shut down, and that means everyone loses.
States are divided over pot
I don’t mean to be one of those doomsayers on the street draggin around a cardboard sign, but it’s a real concern we need to address.
This article was written before the 2018 election, so I don’t know if pot legalization initiatives in Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, and Missouri are going to pass yet. What I do know is a majority of U.S. states (30 of 50) have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes (if not both).
And the issue of states versus federal government rights is now at the heart of the cannabis debate. The question is – what measures will state and local governments take to defend the rights of their constituents from the federal government should the Department of Justice shut down the legal marijuana industry?
It’ll likely come down to politics and financial viability. Colorado, for example, has a mostly pro-pot attitude, and its $1.5 billion pot industry has firepower to fight back. Arizona’s cannabis community is already split, however, which caused the failure to legalize recreational pot in 2016.
How to fix the problem
Like any business, community support will be key, and every marijuana-based business should be actively working to gain this support. Get out into the community and remind them of who you are. Attend local business networking meetings outside the industry, join the Chamber of Commerce in your city, and make a good impression.
The cannabis industry is no longer a haven for gangs, smugglers, and other criminals. It’s a legitimate industry filled with entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators. We have a responsibility to our industry and community around us to give back at every opportunity. The more responsible professionals represent cannabis, the more the industry grows.
Cannabis became what it is today through support, sharing, and involvement. Even if it’s federally decriminalized, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels.