The People vs. Marijuana
Marijuana Legalization: Economic Benefits
Marijuana Legalization: Economic Benefits
Unfairly lumped together with dangerous illegal drugs like heroin and cocaine, marijuana - as plenty of studies have shown - is no likely more harmful than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. Research has even shown that marijuana has plenty of health benefits, ranging from pain and stress relief to treatment in certain rare diseases.
As such, decriminalized use of marijuana is gradually gaining acceptance in the world today. Aside from having recreational and medicinal benefits, there are also economic benefits to legalizing marijuana, as some parts of the world have discovered recently.
Increased Tax Revenues for the Government
In 2015, the U.S. state of Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees from medicinal and recreational marijuana. Total sales in the state nearly reached a staggering $1 billion for that year as well, according to this infographic about legalizing marijuana. Obviously, there's money to be made in the legalization of cannabis.
Since many states consider the marijuana industry as a vice, like alcohol, taxes levied on the substance is high. The industry accepts it as a cost of doing business. Financially, it all works out for all the stakeholders concerned.
The government can then harness the vast financial reserves for more important issues like healthcare, public utilities, and infrastructure projects.
Decreased Government Spending on Prohibition
According to a consensus of economists, cannabis prohibition costs the local and federal government billions every year. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimates that legalizing marijuana could save the government around $7.7 billion per year in enforcement expenditures.
These costs mostly come from the burden on the justice and penal system, as well as state and federal law enforcement's time and resources. Given the widespread availability of marijuana nowadays, the government's expensive war on cannabis seems to be practically ineffective anyway.
More Jobs, Increased Incomes
Marijuana nurseries and pot dispensaries are part of a state's regulation and control on the said substance. These establishments, in addition to requiring employees, can also jump start the economic activity around their areas. The increased traffic in the area can be an economic boost to nearby businesses.
An RCG Economics and Marijuana Policy Group study notes that legalizing recreational marijuana in the state can result in the creation of over 41,000 jobs until 2024, as well as generating over $1.7 billion in labor income.
Weakening Drug Cartels, Underground Markets
Selling illegal weapons and drugs is a wildly lucrative enterprise that criminal cartels and organizations regularly delve into. Legalizing marijuana cuts into a significant portion of these miscreants' profit streams and transfers the revenues to licensed businesses, and ultimately, the government through taxes.
In addition, the government gains the ability to properly regulate the use of marijuana in their jurisdictions, given its legal status. They can then set standards for marijuana nurseries and dispensers to follow, as well as control where marijuana can be used.
It's clear that there are plenty of benefits to legalizing marijuana. Aside from recreational and medicinal benefits, marijuana legalization can also result in an economic boon for governments. Taxation of cannabis can be a potential gold mine of revenue for any government, provided it has proper regulations and standards in place.
Chile Legalized Medical Marijuana but Home Cultivators Still Risk Being Criminalized
Weed Finally Decriminalized in New Hampshire
The “Live Free or Die” state just became the last and final one in New England to eliminate the possibility of jail time for possession of small amounts of weed.
Republican Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill to remove criminal penalties for possessing up to three-quarters of an ounce of cannabis or up to five grams of hash.
But, in the words of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper spoken in 2012, don’t “break out the Cheetos or goldfish” just yet.
Decriminalization doesn’t take effect for 60 days, so take out your calendars and start counting.
The new law makes possessing weed a violation-level offense with a fine of up to $300 for adults. Minors caught with either would be subject to a delinquency petition. Someone can be charged with a misdemeanor, however, if they are found with marijuana for a fourth time within a three-year period.
Trump will cripple states if he reverses marijuana legalization
Last month I gave the keynote address at the Cannabis World Congress Business Expo in New York City. CWCBExpo is the trade show for the cannabis industry. I had the pleasure of meeting thousands of like-minded cannabis activists, and the experience was truly refreshing and inspiring on many levels.
I learned firsthand that those in the legal cannabis industry — whether they're growing hemp, medical marijuana or recreational marijuana in Colorado or California or Oregon or wherever — have formed a united front. Everyone at the convention was looking to work together to come up with solutions on how to get the federal government to move forward and embrace this industry, which has grown exponentially.
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