From the 2.20.13 edition
By Paul Mann
Redwood Capital Bank Vice President and Regional Area Manager Jennifer Budwig will discuss how Humboldt County’s economy would be affected by low-cost, legalized marijuana in a talk on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 5:30 p.m. in the Native American Forum adjoining Humboldt State University’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Building.
Budwig, an HSU alum (’89, Business Administration) and active in the local banking industry for more than 20 years, will examine the potential economic impact if marijuana were legalized, generating a major increase in supply and greatly reduced prices. The probability of legalization appears to be rising, she notes, and if it led to mass production, profits to local producers might plummet.
Budwig’s research confirms that marijuana has increasingly filled the economic gap in Humboldt County left by the steep decline in the timber and fishing industries. The scope and scale of the county’s underground economy are powerful enough to affect “all local businesses and individuals,” she says. Once again the county finds itself overly dependent on a single resource, continuing an historical pattern that has stunted the county’s economic diversification and imperiled its environment for decades.
In her research, Budwig estimates the annual gross dollar impact of county-grown marijuana, how much of the money is spent in the county and how much it contributes to the county’s economy relative to the amount exported from it. She will also analyze other variables believed likely to influence the short- and long-term impacts on Humboldt County if legalization transpires.
A member of the Redwood Regional Economic Development Committee, the McLean Foundation Board and the Fortuna Sunrise Rotary Club, Budwig graduated with honors in 2011 from the Pacific Coast Banking School. She joined Redwood Capital Bank in mid-2006, following more than a decade with Umpqua Bank and four years at US Bank.
Budwig’s Feb. 26 presentation at Humboldt State is the fifth in a series sponsored by the university’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research.