CNN’s Don Lemon sat down to talk legalization with stakeholders on both sides of the debate: Steve DeAngelo, Kevin Sabet and Jamen Shively.
This video clip features Jamen Shively, former Microsoft Exec and hopeful ganjapreneur, describing the current global cannabis market in the hundreds of billions of dollars per year despite prohibition; as legalization unfolds cannabis will make more millionaires than Microsoft.
He goes on to say that amnesty should be offered, not just to those like myself that have a felony record for cultivating a personal stash, but to everyone up to the cartel leaders, provided they lay down their weapons (and, presumably, the rest of their criminal empires). I doubt this approach will work for cartel leaders, or any other people that profit from more than just marijuana, but of course amnesty should be offered up to folks whose only crimes were marijuana-related.
Highlights from the Video: Pot to Mint More Millionaires Than Microsoft?
- Shively: “First of all, just look at the size of the industry, it’s a multi-hundred billion dollar market worldwide, currently, under a global regime of prohibition.” [0:09 mark]
- Shively: “The answer is amnesty. It’s general amnesty, all the way to the heads of the drug cartels in Mexico…” [1:13 mark]
Shively is probably over-optimistic in thinking that ending marijuana prohibition will end the drug war or blink out the cartels, and his personal goals for legalization are unnerving for most cannabis enthusiasts, but we can all certainly agree that ending cannabis prohibition on a global scale will be a very positive thing for very many reasons. The cartels will take quite a financial hit, although it will certainly not put them out of business.
If legalization continues to unfold with disproportionately high taxes, as it has in Colorado and even more so in Washington, legalization may not even put the cartels out of the weed business. To Colorado’s credit, allowing home grows will help reduce profitability of those overly-high taxes as well as the cartels. Uruguay has chosen a different approach, setting up a government monopoly on cannabis and setting the price at a wonderful $1 per gram, let’s just hope they produce good bud.