There are many songs about marijuana in hip hop but now superstar Snoop Dogg is turning his passion for pot into big business, raising $45 million for his Casa Verde investment firm.
“As build brands, as you look at the ancillary businesses, there’s tremendous money to be made,” International Cannabrands CEO Steve Gormley said. “And will only really realize the scope of that when prohibition is actually repealed.”
Marijuana’s popularity is spawning many businesses, like the Emerald Farms Tours in San Francisco. With recreational use legal there, the seed-to-dispensary tours are like a wine country tour for weed lovers. Las Vegas is considering pot lounges at the airport. It’s full steam ahead towards legalization, according to Evan Nison of NORML.
“Now you pretty much have a bipartisan Congress that is looking very seriously at the issue, so the momentum over the last 10 years I’ve been involved has picked up much quicker than I would have hoped,” Nison said.
In tandem with the legalization momentum is drive for decriminalization, especially after studies showed that black and Latino males were disproportionally prosecuted.
But that is confusing people, according to Phillip Hamilton, a criminal defense attorney.
“It has not yet been decriminalized, the conversation is ongoing, we are having a lot of reform measures that are being put out,” Hamilton said. “But right now, as we speak, marijuana is still illegal in New York.”
Excessive use of marijuana and the impact on public safety was on the mind of Police Commissioner James O’Neill when I sat down with him recently for an exclusive interview.
“As far as legalization for marijuana, I know it’s coming, NYPD knows it’s coming, but there are a number of things that I’m concerned about,” O’Neill said. “Driving under the influence of narcotics, it’s a real issue for us, there’s no instantaneous test for it like dui, driving under the influence.”