Thursday, July 22, 2010

Medical marijuana provides an economic boost in Montana

The rapid growth of Montana’s medical marijuana community has fueled a local economy but isn’t making anyone rich, yet. In the past two years, the state’s licensed patient pool has grown to 20,000 who are supplied by nearly 4,000 caregivers. Montana allows small individual growers to provide the supply of medical marijuana, whereas in New Mexico growing is limited to state approved non-profits or licensed patients themselves. The result in Montana is a flourishing medical marijuana cottage industry, reports the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, that generates millions in economic activity in various sectors of the economy.

As the Daily Chronicle reported:

After the home construction market crashed, medical marijuana has helped “a massive amount,” said Ron Boston, president of Comfort Systems, a Bozeman ventilation, heating and air-conditioning business. “It has put a jump start to part of our business.”

Boston stressed his company is reputable and only agreed to install ventilation systems for marijuana growers because it isn’t breaking any laws. New systems can cost $8,000 to $20,000, he said. The new business allowed him to hire a couple people.

“In a downturn, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to survive,” Boston said.

The paper said the industry had benefitted garden supply stores, “lawyers, accountants, builders, electricians, Web page designers and commercial real estate brokers.”

The executive director of the Montana Medical Growers Association said growers have spent $17 million on start-up costs for things like lights, nutrients, soils, odor abatement gear, security, lawyers and insurance. Then, there are the utilities, rent, and employees to help tend the plants in a routine similar to the doting that’s required for orchids.

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