Legislatures that legalize marijuana are creating fortunes for friends, so how great the temptation must be to help campaign donors who want to get rich quick by getting licenses to sell marijuana.
Here are case studies from two states where recreational marijuana is not legal. But medical marijuana alone brings in mega-millions.
Here’s what happened in Florida:
“Less than 24 hours before the Florida Legislature passed the state’s first medical marijuana law in May 2014, Matt Gaetz and other members of the state House of Representatives rewrote the bill to limit who would be able to get in on the ground floor of what has since become a billion-dollar business.
“A number of Gaetz’s friends and allies managed to squeeze through that narrow door. Among them:
“— The brother of Gaetz’s friend and fellow state Rep. Halsey Beshears, who co-founded one of Florida’s first licensed marijuana companies and amassed a fortune currently valued at about $600 million — and became a major Republican Party donor.”
And in Pennsylvania:
“Cultivation and processing operations are fetching $100 million and more. And dispensary licenses are commanding prices of $20 million-$35 million for each storefront as the state’s retail sector consolidates.”
So early licensees are cashing in on the privilege that they got – and that others didn’t get somehow.
Here in North Carolina, maybe we can share the wealth. Social equity licensing has not shared the wealth yet. Still, if some disadvantaged person cashes in some day, maybe that’s better than the rich getting richer. But that’s not sharing the wealth much – just one more newly rich person.
This is America, where money talks. Instead of laboratories of democracy, we have laboratories of plutocracy. We’ll see.