by Kary Radestock, Hippo Premium Packaging
This month, the cannabis industry gathers in San Jose for the NCIA’s 6th Annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo. It is projected that nearly 10,000 people will attend.
Think about that number for a minute. Ten thousand. Just a handful of years ago, some cannabis conferences were struggling to attract 500 people.
This explosion in the cannabis industry has had a profound effect on our nation:
Tens of thousands of businesses have started – spurring economic growth and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. According to Leafly, there are now more than 211,000 cannabis jobs across the United States. More than 64,000 of those jobs were added in 2018.
Legal cannabis is currently the greatest job-creation machine in America. The cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017, gained another 44% in 2018, and is expected to grow another 20% in 2019. Those are record-setting numbers.
Real estate is another sector that is booming thanks to legal cannabis. A recent study led by a by a University of Mississippi economist concluded that legal retail cannabis in Colorado increased housing values. Researchers compared cities that permitted the sale of cannabis with those that did not and found that the availability of recreational cannabis in a given area created strong housing demand and higher increases in property values.
Clearly, legal cannabis is creating jobs, opportunities, and economic growth.
But there is a dark side to the cannabis numbers. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, arrests for cannabis possession account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. In 2017, 659,700 were arrested in the U.S. for cannabis. Over 90% of those arrests were for simple possession. Moreover, 46.9% of people arrested for drug law violations are Black or Latino, despite making up just 31.5% of the U.S. population. Additionally, over 200,000 students have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction.
As a nation, we must ask ourselves, how does imprisoning someone or taking away their chance at receiving an education because they possessed a small amount of cannabis (or other drug), make our country better, stronger, or greater?
Since this blog is dedicated to numbers, I’ll leave you with this one: It takes 100,000 atoms to become visible to the human eye, and even at that amount, it is only about the width of a human hair.
But it takes far fewer people to make a difference in society. Our last presidential election was won by the candidate that received over 2 million fewer votes, but won the electoral college by having just a few more votes in some key states. Just 0.2 points or about 10,000 votes separated the candidates in Michigan. Only 0.7 points or about 22,000 votes made the difference in Wisconsin.
This is not a time for us in the cannabis industry to be complacent. We have won some hard-fought victories, but there is still much to do, many wrongs to right, and a lot of work ahead.
My hope is that everyone in this amazing industry will share the belief that while we have a lot to be thankful for, we still need to keep moving forward and progressively for a better future.
Get involved. Make your voice heard. And vote.
Enjoy the conference!
Kary Radestock, CEO, launched Hippo Premium Packaging in March 2016 offering an array of services to the cannabis market, including: Marketing Strategy, Brand Development, Social Media, Public Relations, Graphic and Web Design, and of course, Printing and Packaging. Radestock brings over 20 years of award-winning print and packaging expertise, and leads a team of the nation’s top brand builders, marketers and print production experts. Hippo works with businesses looking for a brand refresh or an entire brand development, and specializes in helping canna-business get their products to market in the most beautiful and affordable way possible. Radestock’s Creative Collective of talent and experts, allows her to offer world-class solutions to support the unique needs of the Cannabis Industry.