Investors are interested to see how the Georgia marijuana bill plays out this year. The possibility of opening up Georgia for medical cannabis cultivation has inspired entrepreneurs to look at our state as a place to start business. The problem is that Governor Deal’s current proposal strips HB1 of actually allowing this critical feature. So, even if HB1 were to pass, its present form precludes widespread business innovation in the medical marijuana industry.
We’ve pointed out before that Governor Deal prefers to cater to the pharmaceutical industry over the marijuana industry. It’s not hard to see why. When you are faced with the choice of enticing a Fortune 500 company to invest in your state, or to allow medical marijuana to spawn a new industry, the safe choice is with the established companies.
However, data from Colorado suggests that legalizing marijuana has been more profitable than anyone imagined. In fact, the state made so much money off of cannabis that the state is considering giving taxpayers a rebate! The numbers are staggering. In 2014, Colorado brought in over $34 million in additional tax revenue from legalizing marijuana. It is unlikely relocating pharmaceutical company headquarters to Georgia will produce a sustainable, annual revenue of over $34 million per year.
Yet, legalization is a long way away. Allen Peake’s bill, HB1, is specifically limited to medical marijuana. Legalization is a hard sell in our state. Our politicians are missing out on low hanging fruit. Legalization promises to rake in million of dollars in tax revenue and evidence suggests that legalization has resulted in lower crime in Colorado.
Essentially, the argument for legalization is simple: more money and less crime.