Last week’s election was, by all accounts, a positive step in the right direction for the country, but what does it mean for green investments and eco-friendly pursuits going into 2018? Specifically as it concerns New Jersey and the election of Phil Murphy as governor, it looks like change is coming, and in a big way.
Puritan Policies No More
Anyone who lives in and around New Jersey knows that the state has been in sort of a purgatory for the better part of the last decade, if not longer. In the middle of the 2000s, New Jerseyans were middling through then Governor Corzine’s tenure, and it was not happy times despite him being a Democrat. He was repudiated so forcefully that New Jersey opted to elect a hard Republican candidate in Chris Christie, who came across as down-to-earth, anti-taxes, and ready to get his hands dirty in order to fix the corruption and red-tape that typified New Jersey politics at the time.
As it turned out, Chris Christie was a walking catastrophe, failing miserably to make any significant dent in New Jersey tax issues, while obsessing over Puritanical conservative ideals that are by-and-large unpopular in New Jersey. One issue he was at extreme odds with, was the legalization of marijuana. He was adamantly opposed to this.
What kind of sense does that make? Well, Christie is in the camp of people who believe, despite zero evidence, that marijuana is simply “bad.” Nevermind the fact that tobacco and alcohol are far more dangerous, but these people are never big on empirical reality. They only care about the party line. The truth is, marijuana is actually an extremely potent medicinal plant, on top of it being a relatively safe recreational drug (at least in comparison to cigarettes and alcohol).
This odd belief that “weed” is dangerous stems from decades of Puritan-esque propaganda, when in reality, it already has a proven track record of healing and reducing the symptoms of numerous diseases, including epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and even some forms of cancer.
It is clear that with the election of Phil Murphy, we may be on the verge of a new era in New Jersey as it concerns marijuana, however. While his opponent favored decriminalization of the plant, which was a step in the right direction, Murphy favors full-throttle legalization for both medical and recreational use. This will transform the state in a number of ways.
The Answer to New Jersey’s Tax Problems
There is no question that New Jersey has a tax problem. It is widely known as one of the most heavily taxed states in the country. What does get lost in the shuffle, however, is that New Jersey also has some of the best public services in the country as well. Many of our schools commonly rank highest for graduation rates and amenities, our infrastructure, however poor it may seem to us, ranks extremely high compared to most of the rest of the country, and we also have great police, waste management, and other municipal services. Is there some corruption? No doubt. By and large, however, we enjoy a decent return on our taxes.
It isn’t all rosy however. Many New Jerseyans disagree with the high taxes, most specifically our property taxes. Marijuana could very well be the answer to this. What we’ve seen in other states where it has been fully legalized, the state rakes in huge amounts of brand new tax revenue, so much so that the state’s treasuries often gain a surplus. New Jersey with a treasury surplus sounds like some kind of fantasy, but after the legalization of marijuana, it could become a strong reality.
As a legalized recreational drug, marijuana could become one of the best forms of revenue for New Jersey, which in turn would strengthen all of our infrastructure, relieve some of the state’s tax burden, and take a ton of pressure off of law enforcement.
Police forces around the country allocate massive man-power hours to finding and arresting petty drug offenders. Our prisons are full of people who are literally sharing space with robbers and murders, because they were found with a couple of baggies of a plant on them. Think of how absurd that is, especially since we supposedly live in the “Land of the Free.” There’s people doing hard time for having ounces of a plant on their possession.
So not only will the state add to its tax revenue, but it will reduce the amount of prisoners, and reduce the amount of time the police forces have to waste on non-violent crime, thus freeing them up for more important things, or reducing the size of some police forces altogether. In some jurisdictions around the country, marijuana related arrests account for upwards to 60% of all the criminal activity they are credited with stopping and processing. So in theory, we can take a guess that many police forces will have half of their burden reduced by these new laws. That’s a huge savings in terms of tax money and manpower. Plus it will free up New Jersey’s overcrowded jails and prisons, which are in and of themselves another tax burden.
The legalization of marijuana, as it concerns taxes, is nothing short of a must. It just makes sense. Not only should this simple plant not even be illegal in the first place, New Jersey and other states simply waste too much resources trying to stop people from smoking and selling it. Murphy is on record as stating he wants this new marijuana legislation to go through within the first 100 days of him taking his spot as governor, so by this time next year, New Jersey could be a completely different place in terms of taxes and crime.
Economic Powerhouse Once Again
New Jersey was once an industrial center, renowned for its economic output. Not that New Jersey is necessarily struggling in this regard at the moment, it is not the economic juggurnaut it once was. That could all change soon, if these new laws go into effect.
First of all, there are many facets to the “weed” industry. It has to be grown, farmed, shipped, distributed, marketed, and of course consumed in a variety of ways. These are all industries that currently don’t exist in New Jersey. The plant’s illegal. No one’s growing it on their farms, no one’s harvesting it, no one’s making tools to harvest it, no one’s shipping it in trucks, no one’s stocking it in their cigarette shops, no one’s marketing it online or on TV. None of this is a thing: so just think, once it’s all legal, how many jobs will it create?
Hence the reason why marijuana is slated to create over 300,000 jobs within the next few years, in just the states where it has already been legalized. This doesn’t even count places like New Jersey, which could easily become the front-runners in marijuana cultivation and consumption going into 2020.
We are looking at thousands of new jobs that will manifest overnight. It’s going to be an economic explosion. There may even be whole “smoke shops” dedicated to it, not unlike what you see for vaping. Plus there are plenty of retail outlets that would love to sell marijuana memorabilia and tools, and make tons of money off of it in the process. From an economic standpoint, legalizing marijuana is going to easily become a boon to the entire state.
It’s important to note how important it will be for New Jersey to be a “trend setter” in this. The success is going to be infectious, and will likely get people to commute here for job opportunities, especially if neighboring states are slow on the uptake and don’t pass their own laws to legalize marijuana quickly.
Another side of this is, marijuana is going to have its millionaires. Once the federal ban on it is lifted, it is likely that marijuana will easily overtake and outpace the tobacco industry, and we know how big that is. Why do I say this? Because with cigarettes, all you have is a mild and dangerous high. It’s addictive, and is simply not useful for anything. However, marijuana is multifaceted. Not only can it be smoked for a much better (and somewhat less toxic) high, it can be eaten, turned into oils, soaps, cookies, and some strains will be grown, marketed, and used solely for medication. Not only will we see herbal over-the-counter forms, but it is likely doctors will be able to prescribe more potent concentrations for severe illnesses, such as epilepsy, which marijuana helps out with.
Clearly, cigarettes don’t stand a chance in comparison. Think of an industry upwards to three times the size of the cigarette industry popping up overnight? The jobs it will create, and subsequent economic boom that will occur, is going to surprise a lot of people. What’s happening out in Colorado already has the entire country talking. New Jersey could be even bigger.
A Word About Marijuana’s Medicinal Properties
It cannot be understated enough just how powerful marijuana is as an herbal remedy. The measures Phil Murphy will likely take to get it legalized will definitely open up doors for its use as a medicine, but once the federal ban is lifted, the flood gates are going to be opened. Initial research has shown that marijuana can cure or positively affect over two dozen illnesses, and it has been used medicinally by herbalists and naturopaths for centuries. Cancer and epilepsy patients have relocated to different states and even different countries just for the sake of having access to legal marijuana that they can use to treat their illnesses, that’s how powerful it can be.
Here’s a small sample of some of the amazing healing properties it has.
Marijuana’s active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) binds the same brain cells that are responsible for these kinds of seizures, thus being one of the only means known to man of halting them. Therapy that includes marijuana can go a long way toward healing epilepsy completely over time.
Severe Seizure Disorder (Dravet’s Syndrome)
Another case of tetrahydrocannabinol coming into play, marijuana is adept in halting seizures of all kinds, and this is no different. Cannabis slows the excitable receptors in the brains of people who suffer from this illness, making it ideal and drawback free.
Marijuana has long had a reputation for calming the nerves, but it turns out that there is actually science to back it up.
Nausea and pain are the two most widely reported symptoms of chemotherapy treatment, and it just so happens marijuana helps in both. Scientists have already documented how even small amounts of the plant may reduce these symptoms, and because of marijuana’s capability of reversing cancer, it becomes a must-have companion cure for anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
any disease or condition that involves muscle spasms and painful contractions may be eased with marijuana use. THC binds the nerve receptors responsible for the spasms, thus rendering the disease powerless. Over time, marijuana is shown to even help cure MS completely.
Anything pain-related, especially anything that involves inflammation, may be greatly affected by marijuana in a positive way. It is shown that the plant has a remarkable track record of reducing pain, as well as being a natural sleep-aid, which helps those who suffer from acute arthritis as well.
On these grounds alone, marijuana could revolutionize the medical industry once it is legalized everywhere. It is also for these reasons that we should be fighting for its legalization everywhere. It is such a massive misconception that cannabis is dangerous or only sought after by druggies. It is certainly more useful and healthy than alcohol could ever hope to be, and it’s widely accepted that it should be legal. Now that we have a responsible governor who is willing to make policy based on facts and reality rather than Puritan sentiment, we may see the upheaval of the entire medical industry, and a lot more happy patients, within only a few years.
Unquestionably, the legalization of marijuana is in the best interests of green tech advocates and anyone who supports clean energy and the ecology movement. Just growing it will create more works in the field and raise more awareness of what it takes to create herbal formulas, on top of the fact that it’s going to create a bunch of companies and therefore stocks.
“Weed” stocks are a surefire investment right now. Smart money is in them, and there is still opportunity to jump into them early. There are several kinds to choose from, as many different companies are involved with the growing and selling of various marijuana products. Perhaps the best stocks to look at would be the medicinal ones, as the demand for medical marijuana is going to skyrocket over the next decade. It is one of the only industries I would recommend placing your bets on right now.
This is also an excellent time to get into herbal healing or naturopathy yourself. The industry is only going to get bigger, and as science evolves to meet a more natural understanding of how our bodies work and how they interact with the compounds found in plants, more and more people are going to be relying on herbal remedies for perfect health. Medical marijuana may really be a “gateway drug” after all, but not toward more dangerous and illegal drugs, but a gateway for the public to open up to herbal remedies and begin to invest in them over the barbaric, nonsensical practices of mainstream medicine.
Another investment opportunity lies in the cryptocurrency community. If you’re not yet familiar with the crypto world, it is exploding in popularity right now, due in part to the breakout success Bitcoin is having as a decentralized currency. The worldwide appeal and usefulness of different crypto is what makes them amazing investment opportunities. Well, there are several crypto that are tied to marijuana in some way or another. Some examples include PotCoin ($POT), CannabisCoin ($CANN), and DopeCoin ($DOPE). There are others, also tied to ecology and other nature-based movements. Investing in them gives these movements more resources and opens up secure and useful platforms that the entire Internet and investment community can take advantage of. If you’re into digital currencies or just like to collect some altcoins now and then, I highly recommend picking some of these up. Their value is only going to go up.
New Jersey’s Green Future
As I always say, the future is green. It’s just a matter of how quickly we want to get with the program and take the steps we need in order to leave our dangerous and Earth-destroying habits behind so we can fully embrace a more balanced and functional society. The sooner we invest in green technology and natural systems, the better. If we want a sustainable society, we’re going to have to make this switch sooner rather than later. Steps such as electing Murphy are a sign that we may be headed in the right direction, at least in New Jersey. We want to leave the insanity of Puritan politics behind and actually invest in what makes sense.
We’re only going to get as far as we allow ourselves, and if we destroy the planet we live on, there’s not going to be much progress for us. Legalizing marijuana will not only bring more revenue to the state, it will open the doors for a host of more progressive legislature down the road, and that’s exactly what we need. Solar energy research and investment, scientific studies on herbal remedies, more money for organic farms, greening our cities, creating infrastructure. This is how society thrives.