This Bud's For You - And I Don't Mean Beer
http://www.cnbc.com/id/24792440 (click link to watch videos)
Friday, 23 May 2008
by Jane Wells
It's generally believed that the number one product from California's number one industry isn't legal. Agriculture remains the Golden State's biggest business, and some believe marijuana is worth $14 billion. No one really knows for sure.
The LEGAL medical marijuana business is estimated by advocates to be worth up to $2 billion. Legal, that is, in the state's eyes. It's still illegal under federal law.
Today I'm reporting on the business of selling pot legally, the costs and challenges that go with it. Twelve years after California was the first state to make medical marijuana legal, many clinics are still raided as criminal enterprises (and some are--even under state law), and many others remain paranoid, having come from an underground culture that has pervaded the industry for so long.
Then there are those pushing for openness, transparency, ethics, and standardized practices. In the face of almost no regulatory standards, they're developing their own, and making money doing so.
One company, Oaksterdam University (a combination of its hometown of Oakland and Amsterdam) is charging people $200 to take classes and be tested to achieve "certification" as a grower or clinic owner. There's a company that will even certify your marijuana as "green," grown to organic standards. The USDA, of course, can't do this.
But not everyone in California is on board. Some counties are reportedly suing the state so they don't have to issue identification cards to medical users.
Still, the state has seen a fivefold increase in clinics in the last few years. Some offer only a few choices, but Oaksterdam's Danielle Schumacher says other clinics offer up to a hundred different varieties watched over by a dozen "bud tenders." Teaching these bud tenders is part of Oaksterdam's goal. As Schumacher says, "somebody's gotta do something about this."
And why not make a perfectly legal living doing so?
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Comments so far from the CNBC website:
On the stories about the legal business of medical marijuana, an interesting email from Ed at LA Container, in Yorba Linda, CA:
"We have been selling small plastic containers that we manufacture here in the good old USA to the medical Marijuana biz ..for approx 3 years.. What a crazy business it is. When we first started marketing to the sector the other partners laughed at me. They are not laughing now. It is approximately ten percent of our total sales volume and growing... We have a few of these guys who use almost 20,000-30,000 containers a month..."
Jason J. writes:
"Forget bartending school, I am going to the school of bud. BTW - as I sit at my desk in pain (played 3 hours of hoops last night and my knees are not happy with me) I wonder, how come Vicodin doesn't come in more than one flavor or variety?...I think the pharm industry should follow the same logic as the Satan's sticky and give me some variety like "Pineapple Express" (new movie about bud coming out) or "Agent Orange" - heck even a nice "Purple Haze"would work. All the fun, none of the smoke, and totally legal."
And Jeff J. wonder about boomers who smoked pot recreationally when they were younger:
"How many are partaking in pot to ease those old age aches and pains? I have myself thought about when I reach 'that age' and don't want to be addicted to some Pfizer product, how I would get myself some pot?"