Yo, check it out, fam! According to the Austin Business Journal, cannabis businesses in Texas are about to make more bank than the wine industry. Like, for real, cannabis companies raked in over $8 billion in revenue last year, according to a report from Whitney Economics, a cannabis and hemp analytics firm based in Oregon. Now I know a lot of y’all like to indulge in both wine and weed (sometimes at the same damn time), but let me tell you, the wine snobs and the stoners are always trying to one-up each other, even if it’s just for fun. And right now, in Texas, it looks like the weed lovers might just be taking the lead.
But hold up, before we start celebrating this victory, there’s one major setback that’s keeping the stoners from puffin’ on that victory joint. Recreational cannabis is still illegal in Texas. Like, seriously, if you get caught with up to two ounces of that sweet Mary Jane, you’re looking at a class B misdemeanor charge that can land you in prison for up to 180 days and hit you with a fine of up to $2,000. It’s messed up, man. In November of last year, the good people of Denton, Texas voted to decriminalize low-level marijuana offenses. But guess what? The city leaders straight up defied those results and voted against adopting the ordinance that would’ve decriminalized weed. CBS News Texas reported that they ignored the will of the voters by a margin of 4-3. Talk about a buzzkill, right?
And it gets even worse, my dudes. There’s this Tex-Mex restaurant called E-Bar that recently went viral for its anti-stoner policy. They got a sign on their window that says, “If You Have The Smell Of Marijuana On You We Will Not Serve You.” Can you believe that? They straight up discriminating against the herb lovers. It’s like they don’t even want our business, man. Harsh, bro, harsh.
Now, I gotta give a shoutout to my fellow Texans who need cannabis for medical reasons. The Lone Star State does allow medical cannabis for conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and terminal cancer. The Compassionate Use Program in Texas confirmed that as of July, there were nearly 61,000 registered medical marijuana patients in the state. That’s a big jump from the 45,000 patients in January, according to state data. But here’s the thing, even if you’re a medical marijuana patient in Texas, you can’t just order up some high-THC edibles to help with your pain while you chill and watch some dark comedy. Nah, man, in Texas, they only allow low-THC oil with less than 1% THC. That law has been in effect since 2015. It’s a damn shame, really. Compared to states like New York and California, we Texans don’t have it so good when it comes to medical marijuana.
But yo, check this out! Despite all the restrictions and limitations, the cannabis industry in Texas is still booming. That’s what this report from Whitney Economics found. They surveyed CBD and hemp retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and all kinds of businesses that sell CBD. And get this, over half of the estimated 5,000 hemp, CBD, and cannabinoid businesses in Texas got to participate in the survey. Based on their findings, these businesses employed more than 50,000 hardworking Texans and generated between $19.1 billion to $22.4 billion in economic growth. That’s a whole lot of cash flow right there! And let’s not forget about the workers in the cannabis space who brought home over $1.6 billion in wages.
Now, let’s compare that to the wine industry. According to Wine America, the wine industry in Texas generated over $20 billion for the state’s economy. That’s no small change, my friends. It also supported more than 141,000 jobs and earned nearly $7 billion in worker wages. But guess what? Cannabis is catching up to wine, even though it’s only legal in its mildest form (CBD) here in Texas. That just goes to show you that Texans are putting their money where their mouth is, or should I say where their joint is, and showing that they want more cannabis options.
So, there you have it, folks. The cannabis industry is blowing up in Texas, despite all the roadblocks and restrictions. It’s predicted to surpass the wine industry in terms of economic impact. But let’s not forget that we still got a long way to go before we can spark up a joint without worrying about getting locked up. Until then, stay lit and keep fighting for that green freedom!