*This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Marijuana Venture, on sale now at a store near you.
An article in the Seattle Times recently caught my interest. It turns out that Seattle has more high-rise construction cranes than any other big city in America — 58 to be exact!
The next closest is Los Angeles, which comes in second at 36, followed by Chicago (35), Denver (34), Portland (32), San Francisco (22) and Washington, D.C. (20). The only red (Republican) city listed in the Rider Levett Bucknall report was Phoenix, with a measly five. Also worth noting is the fact that marijuana is legal in six of the top seven cities.
It is the second year in a row Seattle has led the nation in high-rise cranes. When you also add that the two richest guys in the world both live here (Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos) and that two of the five most valuable companies in the planet are Seattle-based (Microsoft and Amazon), you have to wonder if there’s something in the water. (And I’m not even mentioning Starbucks, Costco and Boeing.)
The other interesting thing about the West Coast in general is that Seattle and its other big cities are solidly Democrat, voted against Trump, have booming economies and legalized adult use recreational marijuana. It makes you wonder: If conservative Republican policies are so wonderful and good for the economy (as our president likes to say), then why do red states and cities consistently fall way behind the ones run by — and populated with — liberal Democrats?
I pointed out in an earlier editorial that Trump himself is no dummy when it comes to real estate, and despite all his professed love of red America, he only builds Trump properties in blue communities: New York, Chicago, Miami, LA, Honolulu and Las Vegas! Not a single Trump hotel or high-rise is located in a red/Republican city. It’s funny that the guy who rails against big government and regulations builds in cities with both, yet avoids places like Houston and Dallas, which have virtually no zoning laws and allow builders to do, basically, whatever they want. Maybe it has something to do with higher property values in cities with good laws and sensible zoning. I guess it’s just another example of Trump himself being a monumental phony who says one thing, but practices another.
But back to Seattle, it’s a great city, the center of the legal marijuana universe (for now) and a place with lots of opportunities. Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we know the world is changing and we act accordingly. Some of Washington’s rural counties are now bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in cannabis revenues, and the plant is currently third behind apples and potatoes in agriculture dollars generated.
But there are problems in Seattle too: Our traffic is horrendous; it’s gray for at least half the year; our baseball team is marginal at best; and if Mount Rainier ever goes off, it’ll make Mount St. Helens look like child’s play. However, overall, the good stuff far outweighs the bad: Our water comes from the nearby Cascade Mountains; the economy is booming; snow skiing is less than an hour away; we have some of the most amazing scenery on the planet; ocean beaches are close; and you can walk into a friendly local retail shop and buy some really good pot for $5 a gram with nothing more than ID proving you’re at least 21.
No wonder this city is booming.