I’ve been making money off marijuana these past several years by writing about the stuff. The bottom line in the media is, whether you are for or against it, anytime you bring up marijuana you are making money off of it. The folks at Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) — pretty much an anti-marijuana organization — are making money off people’s fear of marijuana.
There’s lots of money on both sides of the issue. Law enforcement agencies make plenty of money off of marijuana through federal grants and asset forfeiture — taking stuff from people they accuse of crimes. From Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016, Michigan State Police report seizing $15.2 million in cash and property. Out of the 5,290 reported forfeiture cases, 4,955 of them were for controlled substances.
Lobbyists in Lansing are getting paid, too.
It seems like people give up the cash for marijuana. Despite its illegal status and perilous underground distribution system, Americans spent tens of billions of dollars on it each year in the early 2000s, before the modern wave of legalization.
In Michigan, dispensaries have been getting most of the attention in the battle over who will make the money in the state’s new medical marijuana distribution system. Communities are fighting over whether to allow them, and if so, how many. The Michigan retail marijuana market — particularly if recreational use passes — is projected to be huge. But it’s already big enough to have forced the hand of state legislators who were very reluctant to see any kind of legal distribution system.
“The retail market is the single largest revenue gatherer in the cannabis industry,” says Rick Thompson founder of Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conferences, which conducts business conferences across the state. “No other business represents the potential income like retails.”