Mike Cote's Business Editor's Notebook: Marijuana industry smells smoke in NH
Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.
Like the hit comedy series "That '70s Show" - which depicted Ashton Kutcher and his teenage buddies getting "dazed and confused" but never actually showed them smoking pot or mentioned it by name - marijuana use was something that was understood but left beneath the surface. Nobody believed that small corner shop on Schuyler Street was targeting tobacco lovers who wanted to roll their own.
What a long, strange trip it's been.
In advance of Wednesday's House vote to give initial approval to the marijuana legislation bill, we received an email from a public relations agency offering up the availability of two industry experts who could comment on the bill.
Available for interview was Justin Hartfield, the CEO of Ghost Group, described as an "operating company that owns and manages marijuana technology companies" and Jason Thompson, an attorney for GFarmaLabs, a "cultivator, processor, wholesaler and distributor of medical and adult use cannabis-based products," the pitch person wrote.
After all, while Wednesday's vote was historic, the bill's likelihood of passage this time around - Gov. Maggie Hassan has promised to veto it if it reaches her desk - is not enough to spark a reefer madness gold rush in the Granite State just yet.
And then, there is, of course, the huge piles of cash to be had.
"This underscores the need for us to collaborate with not only our partners in the field, but also businesses, law enforcement, the medical field, and schools to implement proven strategies to prevent youth use of marijuana," he said in the release.
Without a wink or a nudge, the debate rolls on.
Mike Cote (West High Class of '81) is business editor at the Union Leader. Contact him at 668-4321, ext. 324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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