Over time, the widespread legalization of cannabis (whether medicinal or recreational) has led to a shift in opinions on the plant — and vice versa. Just a decade ago, supporting the medicinal or even total legalization of cannabis was still a relatively controversial opinion. However, now, that is pretty far from the case. The public has become increasingly acclimated to the idea of legalizing marijuana, and this stance has been normalized over the past several years. Cannabis use is no longer the dirty secret that it used to be and speaking out on the topic isn’t typically going to cost someone their reputation or career.
This normalization of cannabis doesn’t only apply to the general public, however. To start, a wide variety of politicians have come out and openly expressed their support of legalized marijuana, both medical and recreational.
In addition, the pool of cannabis-friendly entrepreneurs has only grown larger, from year to year. It’s no longer difficult to find entrepreneurs who are in favor of legalizing cannabis. Entrepreneurs are no longer afraid to express their support of the cannabis industry, as it continues to expand and grow. In fact, for many pro-cannabis business owners out there, the blossoming cannabis industry offers a great new opportunity to invest and diversify their portfolios. Plus, many brand-new business owners are entering the scene, to make their own valuable contributions to the cannabis industry.
As the lasting impact of the war on drugs continues to shrink, new opportunities to take part in the cannabis industry are being created — and entrepreneurs have certainly been catching on.
How Legalizing Marijuana Creates Small Business Opportunities
Big businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting from the expanding legalization of cannabis. To many business owners’ excitement, small businesses can benefit quite a bit from the legalization of marijuana. In fact, a wide array of new opportunities are being created for small business owners, as a result of the cannabis industry and its exponential growth in recent years.
In particular, business opportunities for those in underserved communities have the potential to grow in number. It’s no secret that the war on drugs has had a detrimental impact on underserved or low-income communities all over the United States. Additionally, people of color have been struck the most harshly by the war on drugs — including the huge number of criminal convictions it has brought upon people, simply due to the use or possession of cannabis.
Sadly, when the war on drugs was at its peak, many of these convictions had a devastating impact on people’s quality of life, as well as their future prospects — sometimes, individuals might even find themselves serving decades-long prison sentences, as a result of cannabis use or possession.
Alongside creating new small business opportunities for those in the marijuana industry, it’s important to continue building an equitable cannabis industry. Well, how can this be done?
According to research, through legalizing cannabis nationwide, the country might be able to create a whopping one million new jobs, as well as around $132 billion via federal tax revenue, over the course of ten years. Those are enormous numbers, and they can be incredibly beneficial, especially to those in underserved communities (including the previously incarcerated) looking to enter the flourishing cannabis industry. In fact, this can even help to begin eliminating barriers to equity in the cannabis industry.
This accumulation of money can then be allocated to help support federal grant programs, which can lend an invaluable hand to many victims. This includes those who were previously incarcerated, as a direct result of a cannabis-related conviction. These individuals can then be given the means to launch their own small businesses, within the cannabis industry. This is a fantastic way for the United States to give back to those who were targeted by the war on drugs, allowing them to build their very own fruitful business ventures, from the ground up.
More generally, for the United States government to effectively fight poverty, it’s important to create business opportunities for those in underserved communities. Legalizing cannabis nationwide is just one way to contribute to this larger goal. The legalization of marijuana can then benefit those who were the most strongly impacted by the war on drugs, while creating new small businesses in a rapidly growing industry, in the process. This way, the cannabis industry is at a lower risk of becoming the new “big tobacco” — it shouldn’t be dominated by the affluent, majority, white investors and corporations.
3 Entrepreneurs Who Are in Favor of Legalizing Cannabis
Support for the cannabis industry has gone mainstream, to the relief of many Americans, from all walks of life — cannabis users or otherwise. That being said, who are some of the most influential entrepreneurs to make an impact on the cannabis industry, as it continues to expand? Here are some of the most notable entrepreneurs and business owners to contribute to the cannabis industry, thanks to the growing legalization of cannabis, throughout the United States.
Some of these individuals may have directly contributed to the cannabis industry by driving their own marijuana-centric business ventures. However, others have simply spoken out against the war on drugs, voicing their full support for the legalization of cannabis.
1. Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Inc.)
Without a doubt, Elon Musk has become one of the most influential and well-known technology entrepreneurs to ever make it big. Due to his renowned nature, it isn’t uncommon for the general public to listen in to what Musk has to say. That’s exactly why it’s so fortunate that he has spoken out, for all to hear, about the need to legalize cannabis.
Or, more specifically, Musk has spoken openly about his contentions with the war on drugs, and the unjust penal system it has created. Musk opted to draw attention to the fact that, while the cannabis industry is booming, many of those convicted of marijuana-related charges continue to sit in prison. He made sure to stress that this isn’t remotely fair to the victims of the war on drugs, who aren’t necessarily benefiting from the growing legalization of cannabis. While marijuana use has officially entered the mainstream and has become a significant part of our culture, the war on drugs hasn’t necessarily let go of many of its victims.
Is it also true that many people have a bone to pick with Musk, whether for his weed-related comments or otherwise? Absolutely. However, even those who disagree with Musk in other areas can listen to and appreciate the statements he has made, which have since reached an enormous audience base.
When Elon Musk makes a comment, controversial or not, it’s going to be heard by an enormous body of individuals. That’s why it’s so vital that individuals such as Musk speak out about the war on drugs — their commentary is far from enough to fight this system, but it is still able to spark interest and recognition within the general public. This is a valuable foundation, if the United States truly wants to recover from the war on drugs. Essentially, people need to be aware of the issue, and they need to care about supporting the victims.
2. Arianna Huffington (Founder of The Huffington Post)
If we’re on the topic of speaking out and having your voice heard, it’s fair to say that the Huffington Post is one of the most recognizable names in news in the modern age. That’s why it’s so positive that Arianna Huffington has publicly criticized the war on drugs and spoken up about the need to legalize cannabis.
Huffington is the founder of the Huffington Post, itself. She has drawn attention to the fact that the legalization of cannabis can benefit the American public, in more than just one way. In fact, the nationwide legalization of marijuana can better the country, in a vast number of ways.
Additionally, Huffington’s comments were made a number of years back, in 2010. At the time, these would still have been relatively controversial statements — as such, they were even more likely to be heard by an interested audience. At the start of the 2010s, the war on drugs was still very much active, continuing to target those found to be in possession of cannabis — especially if those individuals were members of underserved communities. In fact, this is one component of the war on drugs that Huffington chose to draw attention to, specifically.
In her statement, Huffington mentioned that through legalizing cannabis, approximately $8 billion would be saved on law enforcement costs. Even more than that amount of money could be accumulated, simply through taxing legalized marijuana. Jail cells would no longer need to be packed with nonviolent drug offenders, who have no place there and are only putting an unnecessary burden on the prison system. Huffington then proceeded to point out that, in most instances, those nonviolent drug offenders are people of color, who are the most strongly targeted by the war on drugs.
Another highly important comment that Huffington made, which certainly went against the grain at the time, was to point out that cannabis shouldn’t be a left-wing versus right-wing issue. No matter where an individual falls on the vast political spectrum, legalizing cannabis could be an effective way to better the livelihoods of the American public. As such, those on both the left and the right should support the legalization of cannabis — in the end, everyone would benefit, no matter the other policies or politicians they endorse.
3. Jonathan Barlow (The Cannabis Practice Group)
Now that we’ve brought attention to entrepreneurs outside the cannabis industry, let’s focus on those who’ve made direct contributions to it. Jonathan Barlow is just one notable example. Barlow, who is a senior partner at the Cannabis Practice Group, has an intense passion for serving those in low-income neighborhoods — these are also the individuals who have been the most strongly impacted by the war on drugs.
Before serving at a highly successful consulting firm within the marketplace of the cannabis business, Barlow began his career as a community organizer. In fact, he dedicated himself to this role for around fifteen years.
According to Barlow, he strongly believes that the cannabis industry can be used to provide economic access to a wide array of low-income neighborhoods across the United States. Plus, not only does Barlow see the socio-economic benefits of cannabis, but he’s also a strong proponent of the plant and its medicinal benefits.
In addition, Barlow’s support of medicinal marijuana is partly due to what he has seen within his own life. Barlow has spoken about and criticized the misinformation he was taught about cannabis when he was younger. Due to the aggression of the war on drugs, Barlow believed only the negative attacks on cannabis, which ignored its array of potential benefits. However, he then was able to watch his mother and grandmother use cannabis, as a means to temper the effects of chemotherapy. Through these experiences, Barlow’s stance on cannabis began to shift. So, this is just one reason he is so driven to endorse medicinal cannabis and the legalization of the plant.
As Barlow points out, because the taxes accumulated through the sale of legalized cannabis go directly to the school system in Detroit, this is yet another way that urban communities can benefit.
Many Entrepreneurs Are Against the War on Drugs
In the modern day, cannabis has taken a permanent position in the cultural mainstream. As attitudes surrounding cannabis shift, and more individuals become aware of the true benefits of the plant, legalization is also spreading. Across the United States, a significant number of states have legalized marijuana, whether for medicinal or even recreational use. Of course, this number is only continuing to grow, year by year. We’re well on our way to seeing cannabis legalized nationwide.
This is a huge development, considering the previous influence of the war on drugs. Due to the war on drugs, many individuals were (and still are) unjustly targeted, as a result of marijuana use or possession. Even if these were nonviolent offenders, without an additional criminal record, it was still possible for a marijuana conviction to throw a wrench in their entire life from then on. Many of these victims even suffered substantial prison time, leading to jails packed with nonviolent drug offenders. Above all else, the war on drugs has disproportionately targeted underserved and low-income communities, as well as people of color.
Fortunately, as public opinion on cannabis continues to change and become more positive, many entrepreneurs have voiced their support for cannabis legalization. In the process, many of these public figures have also denounced the war on drugs. Whether or not they have direct ties to the cannabis industry, it’s valuable to see well-known figures bringing attention to this important issue, for all their followers to hear.
Know of any other entrepreneurs or business owners who have spoken up about cannabis legalization or denounced the war on drugs? Or do you know of any other entrepreneurs within the growing cannabis industry, who are making a huge impact? We’d love to hear about them! Just head on over to one of our social pages and share with us. We love hearing from our budz.
Collector of POP! bobbleheads, fan of anime, player of video games, reader of comic books and watcher of action movies – all of which help keep me young at heart.