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Why The Legal Cannabis Industry Is High On The American South


When it comes to cannabis, states like California, Colorado and Oregon get most of the attention. But some of the nation’s largest marijuana companies are planting roots south of the Mason-Dixon Line.“The South is the biggest frontier in cannabis,” says Jim Cacioppo, the CEO of Jushi, a marijuana company that has 26 dispensaries across Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois and Massachusetts. “It’s just a matter of time.”Jushi has two dispensaries in Virginia but will open a total of six stores by 2023. His company’s stores are just outside of Washington, D. C. in Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax. Cacioppo says that while California boasts the title of being the country’s largest marijuana market in terms of annual sales, he sees states like Virginia and Georgia as having the greatest growth potential.“We view Virginia as one of the best licenses in cannabis,” Cacioppo says, explaining that his company has the exclusive right to sell weed legally in the D. C. suburbs, which has 2.5 million residents. “It’s the keystone of Jushi.”Virginia is still a small medical market. But with a population of over 8.5 million people, it has the potential to be bigger than Colorado, which has 5.7 million residents and a $2.1 billion (annual sales) cannabis market. Virginia launched medical sales at the end of 2020. Cacioppo says the upside hasn’t even started yet—Virginia is expected to launch its adult-use program by 2024.“It has tremendous momentum,” he says. “When you go adult-use, sales could triple overnight.”It’s no secret: most Americans believe cannabis should be legal. And legalization is continuing to spread state by state with 36 states already regulating their own cannabis markets. According to the latest Gallup poll, 68% of Americans support legalization with 83% of Democrats, 71% of Independents and 50% of Republicans being in favor of ending prohibition. For decades, Democrats have carried the issue of cannabis legalization. But that’s no longer the case. On Election Day in November 2020, a wave of states that are usually thought of as Republican passed legal cannabis laws. Arizona, Mississippi, Montana and South Dakota all voted to legalize either medical marijuana or adult-use cannabis, which revealed what’s been hiding in plain sight: cannabis is not a Red or Blue issue. This week, Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced a bill that would end federal cannabis prohibition. The bill features a few classic Republican stances, a low federal excise tax and states would still have the right to enact their own laws around the drug, but it’s further proof that marijuana legalization has support on both sides of the aisle. Perhaps one of the biggest signals that legalization is no longer a neo-hippie cause is that Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity is backing Mace’s bill.“For a long time, the perception was that cannabis was a party line issue,” says Kim Rivers, the CEO of Florida-based cannabis company Trulieve.

All data is taken from the source: http://forbes.com
Article Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/willyakowicz/2021/11/18/why-the-legal-cannabis-industry-is-high-on-the-american-south/

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