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The Growing Marijuana Industry In Salinas

Marijuana grown in Salinas Greenhouse.

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The rise of the marijuana industry came with marijuana being legalized in many states. Of course many people are against this, arguing that it’s only making it easier for people who don’t really need medical marijuana get it. However, I began to wonder what the effects of this new marijuana industry were on our local economy.

The legal marijuana industry is a multi billion dollar industry. According to Melia Robinson of Business Insider, “The North American marijuana market posted $6.7 billion in revenue in 2016.”

While many people believe that the Salinas Valley has a well performing economy thanks to agriculture, Salinas actually has a high unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salinas’ unemployment rate is at 7.6% as of April 2017. A decent and manageable unemployment rate should be in between 4-6% making our current unemployment unacceptable. With the new marijuana industry, more jobs can be created at least here in the central coast decreasing the unemployment rate. According to a Washington Post article, “In 2015, the legal marijuana industry in Colorado created more than 18,000 new full-time jobs.”That was in 2015, I can only imagine how many more jobs it can create now.

Another notable and positive aspect about the marijuana industry is the fact that these pot growers are buying run down greenhouses. Currently, many greenhouses here in the Salinas valley are extremely old. This is the case with George Omictin who used to grow flowers back in 2008, but now years of little to no usage of the greenhouses has taken a toll on them. Marijuana growers are now willing to pay huge prices for these old greenhouses, seeing as they can get more usage out of them. This is a plus for both the greenhouse owner and the marijuana grower.

Now, this whole marijuana business is not as simple as it may seem. It is extremely regulated by the Monterey County, as well as the federal government. According to the Monterey County site, “A permit is required for all medical cannabis activities in Monterey County.” That means everything from the cultivation to the distribution. Surprisingly, that part just deals with medical marijuana, recreational marijuana is a different story for now. “Adult use/recreational cannabis businesses are not permitted anywhere in the County until…January 2018”, as stated in the Monterey County site. In the meantime, Monterey County officials are planning on, “adopting regulations” for the recreational counterpart.

Adding to the already major benefits, all of those businesses that plant/distribute marijuana will have to pay a tax. Starting on January 1st of this year, marijuana businesses have to pay a tax of 5% of gross receipts according to the Monterey County marijuana permit site. The tax will only increase with the years reaching a 10% tax by 2023. An interesting fact that the site included was the following: “Paying the cannabis tax does not permit a cannabis business operation under state law or Monterey County Code.”

It is important to note that marijuana is not just a small industry, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that will only keep on going.  According to Melia Robinson of Business Insider, “The North American marijuana market posted $6.7 billion in revenue in 2016”. The opportunity to introduce an extremely well performing industry into our local economy can make a huge difference. We will be able to provide more people with new opportunities to work and most importantly our economy will flourish like never before. Nonetheless, the marijuana industry cannot be denied much longer, it is here to stay and its benefits outweigh the negatives by a landslide.

Of course marijuana is a drug, and it can get out of hand but with the governmental regulation it already has established it can easily be distributed so that no one abuses its use. We should all move on with this notion that marijuana is bad, prescription drugs are easily as harmful yet they are given to patients by the boatload. We are living in the future and we have to experiment with new things, especially locally or no one will.

By Juan Tovar

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1 Comment

One Response to “The Growing Marijuana Industry In Salinas”

  1. Edwin Tovar on September 26th, 2017 2:01 pm

    Very insightful work, nice article.

    [Reply]

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The Growing Marijuana Industry In Salinas