California’s tech industry is going to have to move aside to make way for the next big thing, marijuana. HelloMD is one of the many companies that moved its sights from tech to marijuana and has found success. HelloMD recently got profiled in Bloomberg for its new take on the tech boom in the Bay Area by filling a much needed void. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, but the industry is recently gaining more mainstream legitimization. The need for a reputable way to get a medical marijuana card in a safe environment bore the idea for HelloMD. The ‘think tank’ environment of the Bay Area tech industry has allowed for companies like HelloMD to innovate in new ways, but is the rest of the California economy soon to follow into the marijuana industry?
California’s Marijuana Laws
California has long been a leader in the marijuana industry, being the first state to legalize medical cannabis. The “hippie” movement in parts of the state has lead to a common association between California and marijuana, and cannabis has long been ingrained in pop culture linked with the state. California produces and sells more cannabis than any other state, even though there are other states where marijuana is medically, as well as recreationally, legal. Medical marijuana sales in California hit $2.7 billion last year, totaling half of the legal marijuana sales in the country.
The marijuana industry in California is only slated to dramatically increase in the coming years. California has had recreational legalization on the ballot multiple times, and it is up for another vote again this November where it is slated to be approved. A possibly more influential state law is moving into effect in California: marijuana businesses will be allowed to turn a profit. When medical marijuana was first legalized, all companies who grew, processed, or sold marijuana were required to be non-profit businesses. Many cities in the state are now rushing to permit commercial marijuana cultivation to get business to move in as this new law comes into effect.
The Future of California’s Marijuana Production
Many of the cities racing to get the new marijuana growing businesses are in the Southern California desert, a much different location than where the majority of the marijuana growing happens in the state currently. Humbolt County, in northern California, is most often associated with marijuana production in the state, but the operations slated to open in southern California are not going to be run-of-the-mill farms. Companies plan on setting up large scale indoor grow facilities for marijuana that allow them to produce large quantities despite the desert climate. These high-tech grow houses will use solar panels and more efficient irrigation tactics to produce the more than 100 tons of marijuana that projected to be grown in the state. Price of land in the areas who approve commercial marijuana cultivation tripled almost overnight as companies looking to capitalize on the new industry moved in.
There is some concern among smaller growers about being pushed out of the industry, but they are already working to combat this potential issue. Smaller grower are already turning towards the co-op approach by pooling their products under one name. California is capitalizing on the ever growing the marijuana industry in the state, and country as a whole, and it may pay off with new jobs and over $10 million worth of marijuana produced in the state, a lot of which will come out of communities which desperately need the economic boost.
Does the rest of America line up with the trends?
The most recent Gallup poll showed that majority of americans are in favor of marijuana legalization for the third consecutive year. 58% of the americans support marijuana legalization, both young and old. Younger generations support marijuana legalization at higher rates than older generations, but older generations are backing marijuana legalization now than in more recent years. Cannabis has numerous medical benefits and can provide a much needed economic boost. Marijuana legalization can establish a better country for current and future generations – for more info about why legalization is good for you and the whole of the nation, check out our recent article on Why Moms Should Support Marijuana Legalization.
Interested in asking a question about this? Go to HelloMD Answers and ask one of our doctors or community.