Medical Marijuana Industry
Although still in its earliest phases, the medical marijuana industry has already established itself as a hugely profitable and promising field. A number of big-name investors—including celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Melissa Etheridge, Willie Nelson, and more—have already entered the game, and many more are expected to in the future, especially as medical cannabis becomes legal in more states.
The financial prospects of medical marijuana are so strong that the industry is beginning to draw a new crowd of professionals to its ranks: law enforcement officials.
“While neither state regulators nor the medical marijuana industry track the number of employees who were former law enforcement officials, The Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 in Illinois, many of whom have outsized influence—from a trustee of the state’s chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police to one-time undercover narcotics officers,” said an article published by Chron.
The attraction cops are feeling to move into the cannabis industry extends far beyond just Illinois, where medical marijuana is still fairly new.
Marijuana companies in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon have all seen this type of transition.
“Who better would you want to oversee your compliance than a cop?” said Scott Abbott, a retired Illinois State Police colonel who was hired by a medical marijuana company to help ensure that its two dispensaries follow the state’s strict laws and regulations.
For Abbot, and many ex-cops who now work in the cannabis industry, this kind of work is more or less the same as what he did before.
“I never got to pick and choose which laws I enforced,” he told reporters. “This is the same thing.”
“It’s legal right now. As long as they follow the law, I’ve got no problem with it.”
But there are also many ex-cops who are taking up much more direct, hands-on roles in the emerging cannabis industry.
For example, a former homicide detective and assistant police chief now advises marijuana companies on their security needs.
In Chicago, a former Will County Circuit Judge is now the co-founder of a company that’s been approved to open two new dispensaries in the city.
Another former cop described the way he and his business partner are “trying to corner the market” in medical marijuana protection and armored transportation, Chron said.
Not surprisingly, the more these ex-cops are away from the rhetoric of the war on drugs, and the more they interact with the actual cannabis community, many of them have said that their views on marijuana have begun to change.
“I’ve done a total about-face on my views,” said Ben Percy, who worked as a cop in Illinois for 27 years before becoming the general manager for a medical marijuana company.