Today, fewer people around the world buy into the myths about marijuana that were created during the reefer madness era. This is especially true in the United States, as public support for legalization is steadily rising. Thanks to real, legitimate businesses and business people joining the movement, with ancillary businesses right behind, the cannabis industry is losing the back-alley, black market stigma that has been associated for so long. The graph below, courtesy of Gallup, shows the evolution of marijuana legalization support from 1969, when support was only at about 12% through 2013, where support is up to 58%.
In the United States, medical marijuana is legal in twenty-three states, and retail marijuana is legalized for adult use in two states. Even though none of this is legal on the federal level, the movement is gaining support throughout the country and on Capitol Hill. There are, now, more political action groups lobbying and funding politicians in support of marijuana legalization and regulation than there have ever been.
Politicians are realizing the benefit gained from joining the support of this movement, and are earning contributions from political action groups as a result. Hopefully, sooner than later, the banks of the United States will follow, by allowing these legitimate businesses to be able to operate as such, on a banking level. Democratic Congressman, Earl Blumenauer told Vice News:
“My impression is that political contributions are part of a broader pattern of the industry coming into its own—Lobbying, advocacy, and participating in politics. They’re doing what virtually every other interest group has done in the past. It’s the maturing of the industry, the evolution of the industry.”
As in all cases, where there is support, there is also opposition. Today there are many opponents to the legalization of marijuana, but not as many as in years passed. Is this a sign that this movement has sprouted roots strong enough to support major growth? Since big money is being spent on anti-marijuana research, the companies funding such research, who stand to lose revenue as a result, may feel threatened. Similarly, lobbyists, politicians, and other public figures who stand to lose money if marijuana is legalized on a federal level, are also speaking out against the movement.
Only time will tell if this marijuana business is in it’s final strides to becoming the newest industry. The results of the elections in Alaska, Oregon, Florida and Washington D.C. this November will give more insight into the future of cannabis industry development.
photo credit: No.me.rompas.el.coco
The first ever Marijuana Tech Start-Up Competition concluded Sunday evening as jittery contestants gave their final pitches and waited on a verdict from the judges. The competition was held this past weekend in Denver, Colorado where 125 registered participants spent the entire weekend glued to their Macbooks battling for over $4,000 in cash and prizes. The event boasted 10 canna-tech focused business ideas, an impressive panel of judges, and national news recognition from NBC Nightly News.
The participant registration options were divided into three categories: attendees, developers/designers and those with an idea to pitch. Attendees consisted of marijuana enthusiasts interested in getting a foot in the industry door with the exciting possible opportunity to enter the start-up world from the ground floor. Many talented developers and designers were available to begin product development for each chosen team, lead by 10 different business men and women with ideas to pitch.
The competition kicked off with initial pitches and networking fun on Friday evening, September 26. After all ideas were pitched, developers teamed up with the visionaries in the room to hit the ground running. Teams quickly formed, and game plans were hatched, all while many participants enjoyed the marijuana provided by generous local dispensary donations. The event space was fully stacked full with stoner snacks and Red Bull which allowed the teams to work diligently for nearly 48 long hours between Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday evening brought participants to the culmination of the event where sleepy-eyed teams demo’ed their mobile and desktop applications. Ideas ranged from legal advice software and wholesale distribution networks to social smoking and grow-at-home apps. Judges grilled contestants with somewhat shark tank style questions derived from their own personal experience in the execution and scalability of marijuana related businesses.
This event may have been the first of it’s kind, but will doubtfully be the last. This weekend marked a monumental step in the legitimization of the cannabis industry. Ancillary businesses focused on technology are stepping up to provide the support channels that legal cannabis businesses want and need. Congratulations to MassRoots for an incredible job with this, first ever, Marijuana Tech Start-Up Compeition, signifying the first giant leap for marijuana business.
Photo Credit: MassRoots
In a unique twist to a traditional hackathon or pitch competition, Colorado based cannabis tech startups, MassRoots & ourselves will be hosting the inaugural Marijuana Tech Startup Competition September 26-28 in Denver, CO. We’re extremely excited to bring the technology and cannabis communities together for a weekend of business building, networking, and most importantly fun.
Thus far, we have participants from five different states with ideas ranging from wholesale market places to mobile grow tracking. One of the more exciting things about this event will be the number of industry leading figures attending, as both judges and mentors. If you are someone who is experienced or who recently joined the cannabis industry, this is a great opportunity to rub elbows and soak in knowledge with the who’s who of cannabis in Colorado.
The sponsorship participation from the local Denver business community, cannabis and otherwise has been huge! From Zynga CoFounder Tom Bollich’s new venture Surna to Denver’s longest running dispensary Denver Relief, each of our sponsors is adding amazing value to the event.
We encourage people wanting to attend in any capacity to register at the Eventbrite link below, as we will not be accepting in on-site registrations. For any questions regarding the event itself or sponsorship please email [[email protected]].
Those opposing marijuana have been coming forward to warn about the possible negative effects of marijuana use now that people are learning more about the medicinal values of the plant. Many medical marijuana patients report their debilitating symptoms, such as chronic pain or nausea, as being successfully treatable with marijuana. This could be a threat to large pharmaceutical companies that generate huge amounts of revenue from the sale of prescription drugs designed to treat the same symptoms, such as pain, nausea and many others. Could these large pharmaceutical manufacturers be funding the voices of medical marijuana opposition?
One medical marijuana opponent is Dr. Herbert Kleber, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. Dr. Kleber is, also, Director of the Division on Substance Abuse for New York State Psychiatric Institute, and has worked as a consultant for companies that are the leading manufacturers of opioid drugs. He has also been contributing editor to studies funded by by the same companies. The recommendation made to the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, in a study Dr. Kleber coauthored, was used against legalization in the state.
As Lee Fang pointed out, Dr. A Eden Evins of Harvard Medical and Dr. Mark Cross, board member to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, are also medical marijuana opponents that have worked with opiod manufacturers. Unfortunately, when these people speak publicly or write against medical marijuana, they neglect to disclose that they may have a conflict of interest in the matter. This may bring about mistrust in the word of even the most respected industry professionals and academic researchers who set precedence in the prescription world.
With medical marijuana out of the way, pharmaceutical companies could take over by creating synthetic versions of the medicinally valuable cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. The door would be open for Big Pharma to continue to rake in boat loads of money if the people have a negative outlook towards medical marijuana.
Can so many medical marijuana patients be wrong to say that marijuana provides relief from debilitating symptom? As CNN reported, opiod related deaths have decreased in the states that allow medical marijuana. Could this decrease have anything to do with patients seeking a more natural form of relief? Hopefully more information, from unbiased studies, will be presented on this topic in the near future.
photo credit: e-MagineArt.com, Vice, Youtube