Cannabis: Resurrecting New Jersey’s Innovation Economy
How can we invigorate the NJ economy and restore a hotspot for innovation?
NJ was once the hub of innovation, but Silicon Valley has since taken the crown. Yes, “tech” is important, but let’s not neglect the potential benefits that the cannabis industry can bring to New Jersey. We need to keep cannabis local, reinvest in our communities, and put NJ’s influence on this massively growing industry!
New Jersey’s Vibrant History
New Jersey has a history of leadership and was a key player throughout early America.
Over 100 battles, small and large, were fought here during the Revolutionary War and over 25,000 men fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Despite its relatively small geographic size, NJ is one of the most diverse States to live in—culturally, socioeconomically, and geographically.
Many of the world’s most amazing inventions—air conditioning, bar codes, the cell phone, the electric guitar, the light bulb, and many more—were all invented in the Garden State! So, what happened?
The Rise of Silicon Valley
World War II, low cost land, top research institutions, and an effective community college system attracted some of the brightest minds to Northern California (Intel, HP, Xerox). The 80’s and 90’s brought Apple, Oracle, eBay, Yahoo, PayPal, and Google. Fast forward to the present where Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and Tesla have eagerly joined the lineup.
The Cannabis Industry
Is expected to hit a market size of $57 billion and create over 250,000 jobs by 2020.
A Unique Opportunity
Nobody, not even New Jersey, can compete with Silicon Valley. Instead, NJ has a unique opportunity to invigorate our economy and capitalize on a market that’s poised to be bigger than beer & coffee: cannabis. For example, in Colorado the cannabis industry is a stronger economic driver than 90% of the industries active in Colorado.
New Jersey is on track to be the first of the Tri-State to fully legalize cannabis. We have the opportunity to lead the Northeast cannabis industry.
NJ can’t afford to wait or be short-sighted because college grads are leaving the State at an alarming rate.
The cannabis industry is poised to create over 250k jobs by 2020.
Creating a new industry that is owned & operated by New Jersey residents will combat the high cost of living, stagnant wages, and exodus of our college-educated youth.
Cultivation can bring jobs to Southern NJ and decentralize a very densely populated state.
New Jersey’s marijuana arrest rate is the most disproportional in the nation (3:1 for black vs. white arrests). With proper focus, we have the opportunity to correct this tragedy and set an example for the rest of the nation.