by Doug Casey, International Man:
As I write, the US is experiencing its biggest change in generations.
And the story of Desert Hot Springs, California, is the key to understanding it all.
You’ve probably never heard of this small town of 29,000 people. It’s the forgotten neighbor of storied Palm Springs.
Like many US cities, Desert Hot Springs had chronic financial problems. The city filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in 2001. Then it nearly went bankrupt again in 2014, when the city declared a fiscal emergency.
Desperate to solve their financial troubles, the people of Desert Hot Springs opened their minds to a new idea.
They voted to become the first place in California to allow indoor cannabis cultivation on an industrial scale. A full 70% were in favor.
The city would, of course, tax these operations.
Local politicians had nixed the idea before. But the risk of two bankruptcies in 15 years changed their minds. Necessity has a way of doing that.
This once-dying town is now experiencing a renaissance. Since the vote, it’s issued permits to more than 30 growers for over 3 million square feet of cannabis cultivation.
Hundreds of new jobs have been created. Previously vacant industrial real estate is buzzing with activity.
The city now has a $15 million budget to pay government employees and run the town. Yet it’s soon expected to take in $50 million in cannabis taxes alone.
Desert Hot Springs has gone from a dying town with big money troubles to a booming city with more cash than it knows what to do with.
This is why widespread cannabis legalization is inevitable… money.
It’s also imminent. After all, 29 states plus Washington, DC have already legalized medical marijuana. And nine states (plus DC) have approved recreational use, including Vermont earlier this year.
It’s only a matter of time before other states do the same. There’s too much money and too many jobs at stake not to.
Just look at Colorado. In 2016, its marijuana industry generated $1.3 billion in sales. It also created 18,000 full-time jobs. And that’s just one state.
Even Republicans Are Pro-Pot Now
In the past few years, attitudes toward marijuana have radically changed. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64% of Americans say cannabis should be totally legal. That’s the highest level of support since polling on this issue started 48 years ago.
Today, opposition to legalization has dropped to an all-time low of just 34%. Plus, a majority of Democrats and Republicans support cannabis legalization… so it’s bipartisan.
Support has also more than doubled since 2000. And, as you can see in the chart below, it’s continuing to grow.
Meanwhile, serious efforts are underway to legalize recreational cannabis in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and a handful of other states.
And then there’s New Jersey. The state’s new governor pledged to legalize recreational cannabis by the end of the year.
With each passing election, fewer politicians are in a position to say “no” to legal marijuana. Especially in cash-strapped areas of the country where jobs and opportunities are hard to come by.
Rapid-Fire Changes in Pot Politics
Cannabis politics are moving in a pretty clear direction, even at the federal level. In fact, I think the industry has reached a critical impasse over the past few weeks.