by Nico Isaac
Updated: February 01, 2016
In 2015, the red-hot "green" movement (as in, marijuana) blazed through another incredible milestone, as reported by the February 2 Washington Post:
"Americans spent $5.4 billion on legal medical and recreational marijuana last year, more than they spent on Doritos, Cheetos and Funyuns combined."
Talk about putting the "pot" in potato chips! Ask me, and Doritos next flavor should be "Nacho Cheeba."
But all jokes aside, these kind of numbers don't lie. And they're only getting bigger (In the single state of Colorado, 2015 marijuana sales touched a record-setting $996 million) -- which reinforces the sum and substance of the Post's piece:
"Legalization of cannabis is one of the greatest business opportunities of our time and it's still early enough to see huge growth."
So, the question is, how did we get here -- here... an almost unthinkable place 10-15 years ago, where a Schedule 1 narcotic is the fuel for a legitimate cannabis capitalism movement?
Well, turns out, you don't have to go back very far. Over the last decade, the once shallow stream of pro-pot advocates has grown into a wellspring of outspoken supporters who otherwise wouldn't be caught on the same side of an issue; think: George Soros; U.S. President Barack Obama; conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson; and his Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
Not to mention a whole line-up of former anti-weed activists who up and "bought the ticket" and "took the ride" on the pro-pot bandwagon (as Hunter S. Thompson might have put it). Take a look:
Before 2003, eight U.S. states legalized marijuana in some form.
In 2009, the number grew to 11.
Today, in early 2016, 23 states plus the District of Columbia are on the list.
In 2005, 36% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana, according to Gallup Poll.
In 2013, that number leapt to 58%, the first majority in the Gallup's 44-year history. The majority has remained in place for three consecutive years.
In 2006, famous neurosurgeon and public figure Sanjay Gupta made his anti-pot stance known in an October 29 Time Magazine op-ed: "I'm here to tell you, as a doctor, that despite all the talk about the medical benefits of marijuana, smoking the stuff is not going to do your health any good."
In 2013, Gupta announced his latest project, a pro-pot documentary titled "Weed" and completely reversed his earlier position: "I am here to apologize. Apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now... We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the U.S." (August 8, 2013 CNN)
The list of examples just like these goes on, and on. The U.S. has officially gone from "Just say nope to dope" -- to -- dope being "one of the greatest business opportunities of our time."
Anticipating this kind of radical sea change is the greatest high an investor can ask for. It means getting in on the ground floor of one of the fastest growing markets in recent history.
Turns out, the team at EWI's sister organization, the Socionomics Institute, has done just that, starting with this simple yet groundbreaking forecast from the founder of the Institute himself, Bob Prechter. From his October 2003 Elliott Wave Theorist:
"Eventually possession and sale of recreational drugs will be decriminalized."
Then, in our July 2009 Socionomist, we warned that, where there was the smoke of marijuana reform, there would eventually be a blazing fire of decriminalization and speculation.
He is an excerpt from The Socionomist report titled "The Coming Collapse of Modern Prohibition":
"History shows that mood governs society's tolerance for recreational drugs. Social mood influences people's actions and their social judgments. In times of positive mood, people can afford to express the black and white moral issues preferred during bull markets, and drug abuse is a favorite target. During times of negative mood, on the other hand, society's priorities change. People have other, bigger worries and begin to view recreational drugs as less dangerous, if not innocuous, in offering stress relief, pain reduction, and the ability to cope with the pressures of negative social mood. Over the past 100 years, governmental activities have manifested these changing attitudes. During periods of rising mood, policymakers stepped up regulation of cannabis. During periods of falling mood, they eased those same stances.
"The public will become open to what now may seem like radical ideas about how best to deal with marijuana use in society."
Our research shows that, since 2000, social mood has been trending negatively for a prolonged period. While stocks have registered new nominal highs, they are still well off 2000's high in inflation-adjusted (real) terms. The trend towards decriminalization that has followed supports this case.Time and again, socionomics has anticipated some of the most dramatic, and at the time, unthinkable sea changes in the realm of politics, money, culture, and on.
At the 6th Annual Social Mood Conference on April 9, 2016, the world's greatest social mood scholars and practitioners gathered under one roof to share their insights about the unexpected twists and turns to come in the years ahead.