NNBV publisher column: Nevada’s green rush the new gold rush? (opinion)
As the state of Nevada nears its 1-year anniversary (July 1, 2018) of legal recreational cannabis sales, the Northern Nevada Business View rolled out a 6-part series of stories regarding the state of the industry one year later; what’s changed (or stayed static) over the past 12 months; and what opportunities and solutions exist for the future of this sector of business across Northern Nevada.
Click here to read the main story in the series, which includes links to others.
RENO, Nev. — Recreational marijuana has been an interesting topic for Nevada and the other states that have legalized it in the last several years.
It has turned a hidden and illegal business into a cash crop. With this new market comes new opportunity for businesses throughout the region to stake a claim in this growing industry.
July marks the one-year anniversary for Nevada’s legal cannabis business. A lot has changed since legalization was first approved and rolled out. Of course, there have been the dispensaries themselves opening in our community, but the real winners are arguably all of the businesses helping to smooth the process — from the builders creating spaces for growing operations and retail locations, to the support businesses working to help streamline the industry, and so on.
Like the gold rush before it, selling the shovels is a great way to build a business. As the story goes, only a few made the big bucks digging for gold during the gold rush many decades ago, but those who could sell the supplies and tools to those prospectors, they were the ones who ultimately made it.
As with any new industry, like cryptocurrencies or cannabis, there is an opportunity for those who can innovate and work to help solve the challenges of these new industries.
At the federal level, marijuana is still illegal, and that is one of the primary challenges facing the industry. Therefore, for the most part, banks and other federally funded, insured or connected businesses are unable to work with this industry, and moving forward, there is certainly some uncertainty as to how the folks in Washington, D.C., are going to decided how to manage this growth.
The legal side of this industry is young, while the illicit side has been around for a long time. So it can be hard for many to be open and approving of the industry.
However, it seems that most of the worry about the legalization of the drug driving up usage by children and damaging our culture has not come to be. Sure, folks are more open about their usage, but as has been cited in several studies, those who have used, continue to use — and those who don’t use, still don’t.
Since the legalization of medical marijuana in California in 1996 to Colorado and Washington taking that first leap into legalized recreational use in 2012, we have seen a patchwork of laws and rules. Each state has taken its own path, and each county and city and town has made its own calls as well.
As the industry develops, it will be interesting to see how it develops and grows. What future challenges will face the industry that entrepreneurs can build a shovel to solve?
Ben Rogers is the publisher of the Northern Nevada Business View. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
“Nevada leads the nation in population growth and Washoe County experienced a 1.6% growth rate last year — over 8,000 new residents now call this area home. And this trend is not expected to end anytime soon.