How Legal cannabis benefits the economy
The ever expansive cannabis industry will soon become legal worldwide. Of course, there are a few hurdles to overcome still, but we can say with almost absolute certainty that cannabis will get legalized.
Some people believe that legalizing cannabis will increase social costs across the board, however, this is far from true.
We have now serious data about the legal cannabis industry to support our arguments, no longer is it speculative. Today, I’m going to be outlining some of the financial benefits of legalizing cannabis in your state.
The Obvious One: Tax Revenue
One of the biggest boons to the economy is the revenue generated from taxing the legal sales of cannabis. Since 2012, when Colorado first legalized recreational cannabis…tax revenues have skyrocketed.
Watch how Colorado’s total sales revenue marched on from 2014-2017.
2014: $699 million.
2015: $996 million.
2016: $1.3 billion.
2017: $1.49 billion.
In relation to generated tax, that’s more than a half a billion dollars since 2015 and this year the market is poised to grow even more. Most of the tax revenue goes into education, law enforcement and drug awareness programs as well as infrastructure.
With California jumping into the recreational market, we’ll be seeing nationwide growth in terms of total sales nearing the $20 billion marker.
Jobs…a whole lot of jobs!
Politicians are always clamoring on about bringing in new jobs yet are silent when it comes to amount of jobs the cannabis industry is generating. By 2020, there could be more than 1 million new jobs created due to this booming industry.
As the industry continues to grow, the marketplace will diversify and you can count on more jobs being brought in.
What this means is that more tax revenue is being generated (income tax), stimulating local economies by having people participate in purchasing goods and services and so forth.
Jobs equals opportunities for new investments, new startups and so the legal model continues to generate benefit on society.
Fewer sick days
Some prohibitionists believed that people would be stoned all the time if weed was legalized. Oh how wrong they were. Cannabis legalization has actually reduced the number of sick days being used in states that have a legal program on the books.
People are utilizing cannabis responsibly. Who would have thunk it?
Turns out, that one of the fastest growing demographics within the cannabis marketplace is the ‘low dose’ user. These are consumers that use cannabis as a tool rather than a “stupefacient”. These are responsible adults who use it to minimize stress without wanting to be “high” per say.
Furthermore, irrespective of whether you’re consuming cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, the cannabinoids within the plant promote general wellbeing and health. Within every brownie a person eats before they sleep they get anti-inflammatory properties, pain management, boost in the immune system, anti-viral properties and a slew of other medical benefits.
Unlike alcohol, consuming cannabis is actually beneficial to your health. Of course, there are exceptions but in general, cannabis helps promote healthy living.
Lower Costs in terms of Incarceration
While there is a slight increase in costs of enforcement when cannabis is legalized, mainly related to regulation, the cost to the state decreases when we’re talking about low-level cannabis offenders being jailed.
Costing roughly $40,000 a year to maintain an inmate [it fluctuates based on the state], by legalizing cannabis you reduce the number of people getting convicted for low-level offenses. In most states, if you break the minimal threshold of personal use, unless it’s a staggering amount, you get off with a fine or a misdemeanor offense.
While statistically speaking it’s difficult to say who is in jail for marijuana-only related offenses, by simply removing them from the prison population could end up saving millions. Not to mention freeing up the courts to deal with real crimes that actually hurt society.
Lower Health Care Costs
People are substituting cannabis for a wide range of pharmaceuticals. While this isn’t good news for Big Pharma, it’s great news for state sponsored medical aid as people are using these medications at a lower frequency.
One of the bigger substitutions in terms of pharmaceuticals are pain killers. Some studies have found a 25% reduction in fatal opioid overdoses in states that have legalized medical marijuana.
People would much rather use a natural remedy for their pain as opposed to using harmful pharmaceuticals.
The Tip of the Iceberg
The aforementioned points is merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As the industry evolves, new ways of generating revenue is being created and all of this is flowing right back to the States that have legalized cannabis.
Over the next year, you’ll see the value of the industry skyrocket as more states begin to embrace the idea of legal cannabis.