Why We Are Covering Marijuana, Big Time
Managing Editor, CNBC.com
Today we are unveiling our "Marijuana & Money" special report; what we believe is an exhaustive look at the economics and business prospects surrounding this notable, albeit illegal, crop. It was a major undertaking for us, involving a lot of time and effort. And a fair number of people will ask ... why?
Fair question. Marijuana, after all, is an illegal commodity that some people argue causes a lot of social ills. Why promote it, or dignify it even, through coverage? On the other hand, others would say that the medical benefits and economic possibilities deserve even more study.
Hey, we wouldn't be serving our business news audience very well if we decided to ignore what we believe is a $40 billion industry. Rightly or wrongly, marijuana attracts dollars. And we follow the money.
We also wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't look at what kind of return those dollars could make under different circumstances. And those circumstances are likely to change to some degree. Fourteen states allow medical marijuana. A dozen are considering decriminalization. California, one of the most influential states, is considering legalization. That kind of change deserves special attention, especially given the money involved.
And the money questions surrounding marijuana, frankly, are undercovered. What industries would benefit from a pot industry? Which outfits are in it now? Pharma or tobacco? Agribusiness or farmer? How big is the market? These are all valid and vital questions to pursue. If it weren't for the taboo nature of pot, no one would question the coverage.
For that reason, we've tried to stay away as much as possible from the "stoner" and giggle stories. Sure, you find a few tongue-in-cheek phrases and cute headlines. But marijuana is a serious social and economic issue for this country. And so we're treating it seriously and hope that you find our work useful in approaching and understanding this complex issue.
Okay. We did have fun with the day we chose to publish.