Business of Marijuana is Growing:
The business of selling marijuana in the U.S. is big business and it is only expected to get bigger in 2016. Currently, there are 23 states that have made it legal to sell medical marijuana and four states that have made it legal to sell marijuana for recreational use. More states are positioned to pass additional reform laws in 2016 which will continue to grow marijuana industry revenue.
Marijuana Industry Revenue Continues to Grow:
According to analysis from the Cato Institute, the marijuana industry in the U.S. could generate over $8 billion in federal and state tax revenue annually. In addition to this tax revenue increase, federal and state governments would also save billions spent on regulating and policing marijuana use. According to analysis by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, legalized marijuana would save the government almost $8 billion by not having to enforce the current prohibition. Economist Stephen Easton estimates that a federally legalized marijuana industry in the U.S. could bring in upwards of $45 to $100 billion per year. The financial potential for the a legal U.S. marijuana industry is very motivating for many policy leaders.
Marijuana Reform Movement Growing but Managing Funds is a Problem:
Since marijuana is still prohibited under federal law, managing the business of marijuana in the U.S. is a challenging activity. The federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and categorizes it with drugs like heroin and cocaine. The government considers Schedule 1 drugs to be very dangerous and highly addictive and also believes they have no medical value. Due to the scheduled listing and federal prohibition, banks and other money managing institutions are reluctant to do business with those working in the marijuana industry. Marijuana businesses are unable to find banks willing to accept their money for fear of federal prosecution. As a result, business activity is diminished and robbery is a greater threat for the marijuana shops since they have to manage so much cash without the support of local banks. Managing funds continues to be a problem in the U.S. marijuana industry.
Congress May Alleviate Some Roadblocks for the Marijuana Industry:
There is a provision in the next financial services spending bill that would stop the federal government from spending money on actions that are punitive towards banks for doing business with state legalized marijuana shops. This act would greatly reduce the fear and uncertainty associated with banking in the marijuana industry and greatly increase positive business practice for an industry that is building momentum and growing each year. The marijuana business is trending upward, and support from banks and other financial institutions will only work to grow the industry in the U.S. more efficiently.