In November 2016, several states held votes alongside the Presidential election to decide on the future of the cannabis industry. This saw four states, namely Maine, Nevada, Massachusetts and California decide to legalize marijuana consumption. Furthermore, North Dakota, Florida and Arkansas moved to allow for medical marijuana. It is also worth noting that more states are making a move towards legalizing marijuana. With that said, let’s take a look at the benefits to be accrued from the legalization of Marijuana:
- Jobs and income
When medical marijuana is legalized, there are marijuana dispensaries and nurseries that are set. These then go on to create jobs for individuals in these states. It also grows the economic activity related to the pot industry in the areas. Additionally, it provides for investment opportunities both locally and nationally.
- Medical benefits
Though marijuana has a negative rap, it has been proven that it has medical benefits for those suffering from a number of diseases and ailments such as glaucoma, cancer and AIDS.
- Labor Income
States stand to benefit from the legalization of marijuana. A study by Marijuana Policy Group conducted over Nevada discovered that if recreational marijuana was legalized in the state, it would support more than 41,000 jobs up to 2024 and lead to more than $1.7 billion being generated as a result of labor income. Additionally, a study by ICF estimated that at least 81,000 additional jobs were created directly, indirectly or induced in California following the sale of marijuana.
- Fiscal benefits
Marijuana is among America’s highest-selling agricultural products. Statistics from the Colorado Department of Revenue, show that the state had combined four year marijuana sales of $4.5 billion since it made the move to legalize cannabis in 2014.
- Decriminalization in targeted communities
According to statistics from the FBI, 587,700 people got arrested in 2016 because of marijuana-related crimes. This number is more than for all the violent crimes such as rape and murder combined. This shows that arrests due to marijuana take their toll on the judicial system as well as prisons as they are an undue burden. Additionally, youth drug busts following marijuana offenses are followed by harsh penalties which in turn have undue social harm on them and induce lifelong consequences. Furthermore, following the legalization and regulation of marijuana, the government would save on $8 billion annually on enforcement, especially on the U.S-Mexico border security and the FBI.
In conclusion, cannabis is no more harmful that tobacco or alcohol is to one’s health, and these are legal and used widely. There are numerous benefits to be gotten from legalizing marijuana to individuals, the state and to the nation.