Could Medical Marijuana Be the South's New cash crop?
According to Rolling Stone, there is another reason to support medical marijuana in South Carolina besides the safe and effective treatment for qualifying conditions.
According to Jessica Billingsley in a recent Rolling Stone opinion piece, the South could turn marijuana into a major cash crop.
Billingsley points out that some of the current largest revenue-driving crops in the state are expected to decline over the next decade, which would leave farmers with a major hole in their bottom line.
She also notes that the South has a proven track record of taking the kind of legislative steps needed to nurture important revenue streams, so the region would be poised for success if Southern states embraced cannabis sales.
Besides the economic benefits to states that welcome this new source of revenue, Billingsley says that fully embracing cannabis would positively benefit Southern communities in other ways.
Who is Jessica Billingsley, and Why Should the People and Lawmakers of South Carolina Give Any Consideration to Her Opinion?
Successful Entrepreneur and CEO Sees Big Money for the South in Cannabis
Based on her track record, Billingsley knows a thing or two about cannabis as well as business.
She is the CEO of software company Akerna, but before entering the digital world, Billingsley worked in the cannabis industry.
She co-founded and served as CEO for the first cannabis technology to be listed on Nasdaq, and remained in that position until her company merged with another to form Akerna. She was also named one of the Most Promising Female Entrepreneurs by Fortune and one of the 100 Female Founders by Inc. Magazine.
So when Jessica Billingsley gives predictions about the cannabis enterprise, it is best to pay attention.
USDA Predicts Decline for Many of the South’s Big Money Crops
Billingsley noted in her article that there is reason for Southern farmers to start considering the implementation of an additional cash crop.
The USDA projects that several major crops produced in the region, including corn, soybeans, and cotton, are expected to see a decline in demand, and thus sales, over the next decade.
“Declines in commodity prices could cause devastating repercussions to ripple throughout many communities,” Billingsley writes.
“Suppose these Southern farmers were to grow cannabis instead… As a commodity, cannabis could have exponentially increasing effects on the economy with those revenue dollars in crops, leading to new jobs and tax revenue opportunities.”
Economic Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana Are Widely Known
There are many economic benefits for states to enjoy when they legalize marijuana.
In a report on marijuana and tax revenue, a Newsweek representative spoke with Jared Moffat of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a pro-legalization advocacy group.
He told Newsweek that “Legalizing cannabis for adults has proven to be a wise investment. Not only are states seeing the benefits of a regulated market and far fewer cannabis-related arrests—they're benefitting in a direct, economic way, too.”
“Before legalization, money from cannabis sales flowed through an underground market that endangered public safety and disrupted communities,” Moffat told Newsweek.
“But now, we see all across the country that revenue from the legal cannabis industry is supporting schools, health care, and a range of other beneficial public programs.”
Southern States Are Well-Positioned to Maximize Marijuana Revenue
Billingsley notes that another reason to support fully embracing marijuana in the South is that states here are well-positioned to maximize the money to be made by doing so.
“The South knows farming, manufacturing and regulated frameworks — three of the four foundational pieces of building a fruitful cannabis economy,” Billingsley pointed out in another piece she wrote for Rolling Stone.
Billingsley also points out that the Southern lawmakers have shown that they can properly legislate heavily-regulated agricultural markets.
“Six of the top seven tobacco-producing states are in the southern region,” Billingsley wrote. “And that’s just the tip of the South’s success in regulated materials and frameworks. For instance, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, one of the country’s largest alcohol distributors, has massive operations, presence and employment throughout the southern region.”
Cannabis Could Help the South Reverse Its “Brain Drain” Problem
Finally, Billingsley noted that the fourth piece of the puzzle, besides farming, manufacturing, and efficient regulatory framework, is the skilled labor needed to implement a state cannabis industry.
She said that in this area, the South may be disadvantaged, but there is no reason the region needs to stay that way.
“There are a number of well-known universities in the South,” Billingsley wrote, “but retaining southern-grown talent post-graduation has proven an issue for most southern states.”
With a blossoming cannabis industry in their home states, it’s likely that embracing cannabis could help the South end the brain drain that has seen talented, educated workers leave the region for better employment elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, the southeastern region has experienced increasing brain drain over the past few decades, with a large portion of their highly educated natives leaving their home state for other areas,” Billingsley wrote.
“When these states lose their top talent, they are putting themselves at risk of economic stagnation and potential eventual erosion of local economies.”
Medical Marijuana Would Be Beneficial for Farmers and the Economy, But Most Importantly It Would Benefit Suffering Patients
While increased tax revenues and an influx of returning skilled workers are both good reasons to get behind medical marijuana, they’re just supporting players.
The real star of the show is the immense relief that marijuana would finally be legally and safely available to state residents.
If you suffer from one of the qualifying conditions likely to be recognized by South Carolina’s eventual medical marijuana law, and if you’d like to see a major new cash crop come to the state and benefit the entire economy, you can take action today!
First, let your lawmakers know that you support providing safe, natural relief to suffering South Carolina patients.
Also, be sure to let them know that you’ll support politicians who take steps to help the farmers of the state, such as expected price fluctuations in their industry. These politicians will be protecting the economy the whole state.
After You’ve Contacted Your Lawmakers, Contact Us!
Reserve an evaluation with one of our compassionate doctors today, and we’ll book an appointment for you just as soon as South Carolina’s medical marijuana market is up and running.
Not only will you not have to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary to start finding relief, but you’ll save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
Doctors Who Care
Relief You Can Trust.
South Carolina Marijuana Card’s mission is to help everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6670, or simply reserve an appointment to start getting relief you can trust today!
Check out South Carolina Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information!