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To Legalize or Not?

Is Legalization really the way? A Colorado Case Study!

The legalization question has never been as relevant as it is today. It seems like anyone who is anyone has picked up on the new world trend of investing in cannabis. Coming from South Africa it seems like we are a bit late to plate. However, that couldn’t be more false. We are at the for front of one of the biggest economic booms to hit our generation. While the old generation complains about legalization, let’s make the most of it.

South Africa is infamous for having an incredibly diverse population, and the road to legalization will not be easy. Combining political influence, and the pure naivety of the current cannabis market, it will take many years until we stand on the same sturdy footing as the United States. The first difference I noticed while navigating the cannabis industry in Denver was, regulation.

I’ve been attending various cannabis seminars and educational talks here in Denver, meeting a great group of people in the process. They’ve tought me a lot about what it means to be in the cannabis business and how the opportunities are endless. Having spent a couple of afternoons in the head offices of the biggest cannabis accelerator programs in the country, I picked up on something incredible. None of them work with THC.

Does Colorado have it all figured out?

The rules are so air tight, relieving the industry of bad actors and those just out to make a quick buck. It paves a way so that companies can grow organically in a regulated industry. The market is far superior in educating clients, so businesses almost exclusively deal with a mature and knowledgeable consumer base. “Educate the minds, liberate the masses” the CEO of a dispensary company told me in a seminar panel at Cultivated Synergy here in Denver. A quote that struck a chord within me.

Folks here trying to make a mark on the industry are thinking outside the box. Anticipating market needs by studying consumer behaviour. Instead of going into what seems to be a flower dominant market, the real entrepreneurs in Denver are going into the tech side of the market. Understanding how the needs of the consumers have evolved. The target audience is evolving. 

Since legalization in 2013, Colorado has only benefited from liberating Cannabis on a recreational level. A 15% decrease in DUI since 2014. Graduation rates are up and drop-out rates are down since post legalization in 2014. And if that wasn’t enough, Colorado has just broken the record 1.5 billion dollars mark on total sales in 2018. Bringing in a whopping 250 million dollars in taxes alone.

Can it be done in South Africa?

Now to Legalize or not is a big question when we talk about South Africa. It has the potential to be a booming industry with the ability to grow locally. We currently see a great market emerging, valuing locally produced products over imported third party sellers. The fear about full legalization would be a monopolizing effect from big established European and American companies try to get a slice of the cake.

The key to a successful legalization would be to favor local companies with tax cuts. Apply high import taxes for outside products. That way, those with the buck can pay for overseas goods, and those who want to grow in South Africa have the entrepreneurial environment where competition is created at a natural pace.

Our country has a bright green future. The fertility of our land is unparalleled, the knowledge of our local growers will blow away the competition. We need regulations set in place to highlight what can and can not be done. It’s pertinent and necessary to start growing a strong industry together. We have the facility, we have the knowledge, we have all the tools. It’s up to us to make it all a reality.