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Federal weed legalization may be years away, but we have already seen the significant impact its legalization has had in multiple states, from unprecedented job growth to increased tax revenues to a wealth of investment opportunities.
Currently, cannabis is listed as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Cannabis prohibition has done irreparable economic and social harm that can be addressed with federal legalization. Here are six benefits of weed legalization for the United States.
Benefits of Weed Legalization
Increased Tax Revenues
In states that have legalized recreational cannabis use, tax revenues have flooded into state and city coffers supporting a wide range of community services and programs, including youth prevention programs, substance abuse treatment, and social equity initiatives to uplift communities that have been hit the hardest by the war on drugs.
A report from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) found that, as of May 2021, adult-use states brought in nearly $8 billion in tax revenue since sales began in 2014. A report by New Frontier Data estimates that federal cannabis legalization “could produce nearly $130 billion in additional tax revenues.”
Currently, federal cannabis prohibition does not allow cannabis businesses to deduct standard business expenses from their taxes. Legalization would undo tax code 280E, forcing cannabis companies to pay taxes on gross revenue (excluding their cost of goods), hurting businesses’ profits.
Cannabis Job Growth
In the United States, cannabis is the fastest-growing job market, despite only being recreationally legal in 18 states, plus D.C. According to Leafly’s 2021 Jobs Report, the U.S. cannabis industry supports over 321,000 full-time jobs. Companies added 77,300 jobs in 2020 alone. The increase is double the job growth that happened in 2019 (33,700 jobs added).
Despite the global economic and employment instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the cannabis industry has remained a leader in year-over-year job growth. Cannabis legalization would create a significant boost in cultivation, manufacturing, retail, and ancillary job growth.
Cannabis Investment Opportunities
Federal cannabis prohibition prevents cannabis companies from listing on U.S. stock exchanges, forcing many to list on over-the-counter and Canadian stock exchanges since cannabis is legal in the Great White North.
Legal cannabis would open up many investment possibilities for cannabis companies to list their stocks on U.S. exchanges. Cannabis legalization would improve their liquidity and give investors a chance to invest in cannabis stocks and cash in on the green rush.
Reduced Crime Rates and Improved Public Safety
Cannabis prohibition was never about reducing crime. Many studies have shown that cannabis legalization can significantly reduce violent and property crime rates far better than prohibition could ever do. In fact, prohibition has worsened public safety.
Cannabis legalization would significantly reduce cannabis trafficking from cartels, gangs, and organized crime. If users have more accessibility to affordable legal cannabis, they will not resort to buying from a street dealer and continue the cycle of violence.
In addition to reducing crime rates, the cost of enforcing these outdated cannabis laws would end and allow police resources to be focused on more pressing matters. As a result, public safety would improve with police handling violent crimes.
On a similar note, traffic accidents and deaths and DUIs have been known to decrease in legal cannabis states. Studies have shown that drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to drive less risky than those under the influence of alcohol.
Safer Cannabis Consumption
Medical and recreational cannabis laws create a regulatory framework for the safe use of the drug. States develop lab testing regulations to test product batches for residual solvents, pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
Analytical cannabis testing also analyzes the product for potency to ensure consumers know exactly how much they are taking. Testing allows consumers to consume a consistent and safe dose time after time.
In addition, regulations ensure products come in child-resistant packaging. Laws also enact minimum age requirements and regulations against products or advertisements appealing to children. Cannabis legalization provides greater consumer protection compared to the black market.
Reduced Racial Disparity
It is no secret that cannabis and drug prohibition, in general, is rooted in racism. Case in point, a Black person is nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested for a cannabis charge than a white person, even though usage rates are about the same, not to mention the longer sentences received by people of color compared to white people.
Cannabis convictions do more than put away people behind bars. When, and if, they get out, they have a harder time receiving public housing, financial aid, employment, and loans because of their criminal history.
Cannabis legalization, if implemented with a strong social and criminal justice element, would help address these past injustices for those who have been most affected by the war on drugs.
The Emerging Advantages: An in-depth examination of the possible benefits of legalizing marijuana in the United States.
Over the past ten years, there has been a significant movement in the discussion surrounding marijuana legalization in the US. Cannabis, sometimes known as marijuana, was formerly thought to be a social sin with little redeeming features.
However, research has shown that cannabis may have advantages in the social, medical, legal, and economic domains. It's critical to investigate the vast range of potential advantages that could result from federal legalization as more states choose to legalize.
Growth in the Economy and Tax Income
The immediate and measurable economic impact of legalizing marijuana may be its greatest attribute. Growing into a multibillion dollar industry, the legal cannabis sector has encouraged entrepreneurship and produced a wide range of job opportunities in retail, distribution, production, and auxiliary industries.
Taxation: States that have demonstrated how marijuana taxes may strengthen state coffers by funding infrastructure, healthcare, and education include Colorado and Washington.
Employment Creation: Legalization creates jobs in the cannabis sector as well as related fields including finance, technology, and legal services.
Investment Opportunities: Investor safety is enhanced by a legal framework, which may encourage more money to be invested in cannabis-related businesses.
Medicinal Benefits of Legalizing Weed
Probably one of the strongest justifications for legalizing marijuana is its therapeutic qualities.
Options for Treatment: Cannabis has been shown to help treat a number of ailments, including as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, and chemotherapy side effects.
Opioid Substitute: It can be used as a less addictive painkiller than opioids, which have been the source of a massive addiction crisis.
Prospects for Research: Legalization provides the opportunity for further investigation into the possible advantages and disadvantages of cannabis use for health.
Reforming Criminal Justice
Communities of color in the US have been disproportionately and severely impacted by the drug war. Legalizing marijuana could be a big step in the direction of reforming the criminal justice system.
Decriminalization: It lessens the load on the jail system by reducing the number of individuals imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses.
Expungement of Records: In order to give affected people their rights and opportunities back, several states have started the process of expunging or lessening prior marijuana convictions.
Law Enforcement Focus: By allocating police resources to more violent and serious offenses, community safety may be enhanced.
Development of Communities and Social Equity
Legalization can be designed to advance social justice and community growth, particularly in areas where prior drug bans have had a disproportionately negative impact.
Equity initiatives: A number of states have put in place social equity initiatives that give people affected by the war on drugs priority when applying for cannabis company licenses.
Community Investment: In underprivileged communities, tax money can be used to support drug prevention programs, education initiatives, and community projects.
Public Safety and Health
Regulation and legalization can improve public health and safety by lowering the black market and guaranteeing the quality of the products.
Quality Control: Standardized testing and labeling are brought about by regulation, which guarantees that buyers are aware of what they are buying.
Reduced harm: It makes it possible to have more candid conversations and educate people about healthy consumption habits, which may help to lower the number of cases involving contaminated or overconsumed items.
Diminished Black Market: The amount of criminality connected to the black market, as well as its size and influence, can be decreased by a legal, controlled market.
Uses in Agriculture and Industry
Legalizing cannabis could spur innovation in industrial hemp, which is utilized in a wide range of goods, in addition to its recreational and therapeutic purposes.
Industrial Hemp: The production of hemp-based textiles, biodegradable plastics, and building materials is aided by legalization.
Ecological Methods: Since hemp farming has a minimal negative influence on the environment, it may be incorporated into more environmentally friendly farming methods.
Summary Of Cannabis Legalization Benefits
There are several possible advantages to legalizing marijuana in the US, including social, medical, economic, and justice implications. The benefits seen in the states that have already made this move offer a strong case for federal legalization, even though it is not without difficulties and the requirement for cautious control.
The entire range of legalization's advantages will become evident as conversations and study continue, possibly opening the door to a more fair and environmentally friendly future.
Prepare for Weed Legalization with Cannabis Education
It is never too early or late to prepare for federal cannabis legalization. Online cannabis education from a renowned training institute can give you the knowledge you need to safely and legally use and grow cannabis and become part of the growing cannabis workforce.
Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.