B.C. Bud | BCBusiness

B.C. Bud | BCBusiness
The measure that legalized marijuana in Washington State and Colorado could devastate B.C.'s thriving marijuana industry.

The Washington State vote to essentially legalize marijuana will have a large impact on the illegal marijuana-growing industry in B.C. Is this the beginning of the end for our famed B.C. Bud?

Tuesday’s historic election in the U.S. was certainly interesting to us British Columbians, but not in terms of the Obama-Romney presidential fight.

In our case, the most interesting contest was in Washington State where they were voting on whether to legalize marijuana. Astonishingly, they did.

Well, they’re not really legalizing dope — it’s still against U.S. federal law. But they won’t enforce the law and the federal government will probably not do anything about it. Instead, Washington will license marijuana growing and sale.

What’s interesting about all this from a B.C. point of view is that the move could have an unofficial but serious  impact on our economy.

Let’s face it: MaryJane is probably the province's biggest cash crop, estimated to bring in between $6 and $8 billion annually. (I haven’t a clue how you can estimate this, but somebody actually does it.)

It’s apparently the third or fourth biggest money generator in the province.

And, while almost all of that goes to the U.S., not all of it goes to Washington. Rather, it’s believed California is our biggest market. (Overall, Canada, primarily B.C., has about 40 per cent of the total American pot market. Mexico has the rest.)

Still, the Washington ruling, which will license pot growers in that state, will be a big economic hit to B.C.’s industry.

As soon as other states see how much money they earn by taxing dope, they’ll enact similar laws.  

These hits are going to trickle down to B.C. There will be less money to spend on expensive condos in Vansterdam. The Kootenays may no longer be constantly wrapped in a fog of pot fumes.  

Who knows? It might get so bad that gangbangers will have to trade in their pricey, armoured SUVs for Kias.

It’s such a familiar B.C story. We're a supplier and our economy is built on resources and commodities. When another aggressive supplier moves into the market, often backed by legislation, we get hurt.

Softwood lumber, anyone?