Cannabis: A Future Cash-Crop for World Governments?

Of all the ‘cash-crops’ in the world, one leafy member of the nightshade family stands proud of the competition (for now): Tobacco…

Profiting from pain: The government-friendly tobacco giants

The tobacco industry knows a thing or two about marketing – and selling – a lot of heavily-taxed agricultural produce…

  • Each year, over 5 trillion cigarettes are smoked around the world.
  • The USA and EU produce hundreds of thousands of tons of tobacco each year, whilst countries like China and India regularly harvest millions of tons.
  • In the UK alone, £12 billion is generated each year through the taxation of tobacco.
  • If one was to combine the annual profits reaped by the top 6 tobacco companies in the world, the total would be a figure which exceeds the annual profits earned by Microsoft, McDonalds and Coca-Cola…combined.
  • Around 6 million deaths each year are estimated to be caused by tobacco use: If one was to calculate the profit to death ratio for tobacco companies around the world, it would equate to roughly £3600 per fatality.

cannabis_cash_crop600pxWith shocking statistics like these, many proponents of the cannabis legalisation movement have openly declared their disgust as to the fact that harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol are fully legal pretty much everywhere on the planet, whilst the medicinal, naturally-occurring herb, cannabis (which many see as a useful tool in the fight against cancer) is treated as a heavily-prohibited narcotic by most governments: But why is this the case?

With a healthy dose of speculation, many activists have their own suggestions…

  • Cannabis could prove to be a difficult crop for governments to impose tax and restrictions upon: Whilst setting up illicit alcohol or tobacco production facilities can be risky, technically and logistically challenging, cannabis plants can be safely and easily grown indoors and out.
  • Tobacco and Alcohol are already heavily consumed products, with business and political empires built around their profits: The addition of a new type of product on the market might be against the personal interests of some very powerful people.
  • Some governments have yet to wake up and acknowledge recent evidence on the potential for cannabis to become a viable medicine (and a real money-maker, if tax issues and regulation can be worked out).

Colorado: A beacon of hope for a burgeoning new billion-dollar industry

Considering the fact that many people are turning to legal cannabis as a legitimate medicine, (which could even be used to treat those suffering from the effects caused by years of harmful tobacco use) or as a safer recreational alternative to the likes of alcohol, liberal-minded businesses and local governments alike are waking up to the fact that things need to change.

Following the legalisation of Cannabis in Colorado, some impressive figures have recently come to light:

  • Businesses in Colorado are expected to generate $1 billion dollars each year in legal weed sales.
  • Current projections mean that the state will be able to claw back over $100 million from legal dispensaries each year, with 15% excise and 10% sales taxes being in full-effect.
  • The money generated from the taxation of cannabis in Colorado will be used primarily to fund the construction of new educational facilities across the state.

Events in places like Colorado are proving that public opinion is changing on the topic of cannabis prohibition: As society is educated as to the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco – and increasingly made aware as to the potential medicinal potential of cannabis, Governments will have to change their habits: Who knows, if Colorado’s example is anything to go by, they might even profit from such a switch!

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