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#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 09, 2021 8:47:19 PM(UTC)

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United States
Location: California

In states like California or Colorado, the herb industry is thriving and could soon become a business like any other.

The industry has developed to the point that local newspapers are filled with advertisements featuring the "best marijuana lawyers," the "best postal service for cannabis," or "the most reliable insurance company for your dispensary Santa Barbara."

See: Marijuana is sold here

One in eight Americans lives in California. It is a country unto itself, and its economy is the eighth in the world, but recently Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed what he called "draconian" measures to cut nearly $ 20 billion in budget deficits.

Is Growing Marijuana The Solution To California's Fiscal Deficit?

In Mendocino County, California alone, marijuana plantations are valued at $ 11 billion. In the entire state it is the highest value crop, above corn, wheat or cotton.

The value of the industry is twice that of soybeans and three times that of vegetables.

But this multibillion dollar industry promises even higher profits if it is legalized, because by way of tax collection the California government would acquire, according to some estimates, up to US $ 1.4 billion.

Experts on the subject, such as Allen Pierre, from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML, for its acronym in English) insist that in addition, between US $ 200 million to US $ 1.9 billion that are currently invested would be saved in its prohibition, whether in prisons, police agents and judicial processes

Another report from the organization further suggests that a regulated marijuana trade would create 60,000 to 110,000 jobs.

Read: How can it be that it is legal in a state and not in the country?

Legal facade
But not everything is prosperity in this industry.

Marijuana growers are divided between those who legally grow small organic amounts for medical use, and those who illegally hide massive crops in greenhouses artificially lit with large electricity generators that pollute the environment.

According to Michelle Gregory, a spokeswoman for the California Anti-Narcotics Bureau, the presence of organized crime adds an element of concern.

"Drug gangs linked to the Sinaloa and Arellano-Félix cartels, of Mexico, send illegal immigrants to work in secret plantations in the natural parks of California. In each raid we find weapons, and many times the gangs are dedicated to stealing crops of others ", revealed an investigation published by the British newspaper The Guardian.

Another of the shadows on legalization are the large companies that will populate the industry.

So we could witness the 'McDonalization' of the marijuana market."

This worries producers in California because they fear that the "purity" of the product will be lost.

The grass in context

"We are not saying that marijuana is not a harmful drug, but you have to see it in context," Mike Mino, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group that promotes the decriminalization of drugs.

The context to which Menno refers has to do with its relative dangerousness in the face of the abuse of prescription drugs that, according to official data, kill thousands of people annually and are the biggest problem that American society has in terms of the use of prescription drugs. Drugs

"What we want to see in the MPP is that cbd marijuana is regulated and taxed in the same way that alcohol is done, and in a regulated system you can see imports and exports," Menno explained.

"The only people who are making money with that are criminals and drug traffickers, people in the drug cartels who create so many disasters on the southern border and in Mexico and other Latin American countries," says Menno.

But the example of cigarettes and alcohol is rejected by those who consider that its legal nature does not make it less harmful to individual and social health.

Look at the alcohol industry. It doesn't make money from the ten people who have one drink a week. It makes money from the person who has 50 drinks a week. Addiction is encouraged in this business, "Kevin Sabot, White House adviser on drug control, considered in conversation with BBC Mondo.
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