About 1 in 4 people have claimed to have used marijuana at least once in their life (the rest are probably lying) and according to the Federal Government about 15 million Americans are currently using marijuana at least once per month. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the world and has shown no signs of slowing down.
Economics 101 states that where there is demand, there will be a supply and right now, the supply is mainly coming from Mexican drug cartels. These drug sales are grossing Mexican cartels a healthy $64 billion in untaxed drug revenue each year.In the last 5 years, police and drug cartels have killed a staggering 55k people and cartels aregrowing Marijuana in National Forests while running drug distribution networks in over 1k cities across the U.S. The legalization of marijuana will put a big dent in the cartel revenue, reducing crime, lowering money spent fighting cartels while adding another source of revenue for the U.S. government.
Each year, over 75k people die from alcohol and over 100k people from prescription drug abuse yet, there have never been any documented deaths from the use of marijuana.
With marijuana legalization in states like Colorado, Washington and California (medical legalization) and many others, it has opened up many opportunities for new and existing businesses and the direct/wholesale sales industry are not the only ones benefitting from this. Businesses such as marijuana business listings services like Weed Maps and FindLocalWeed.com have made very profitable businesses helping people find where to buy marijuana.Other business have followed suit by offering services such as strain testing, publicly traded marijuana vending machine companies and even scenic marijuana tours to name a few. Cannabis is a rich source of paper (hemp), plastic and oil which could become a massive industry in no time.
Even with marijuana legalized on a state level it’s still difficult to track revenue that should be taxed. This is because marijuana is still mainly a cash business. As long as marijuana is illegal on a Federal level, credit card companies won’t service Cannabis businesses which makes it hard to track what revenue should be taxed. By opening up marijuana legalization on a Federal level, it will solve this problem and help states increase tax revenue from the sale of marijuana.
Additionally, the United States is known for its high incarceration rates. It is estimated that 1 in 5 inmates in state prisons and are serving time for drug related offenses. At a cost of $20-$40k annually per inmate to taxpayers,this could help reduce state and federal funding requirements for prisons and put that money to use in better places like transportation, education and the like.
Consider the facts:
Over the last decade, the NYPD has spent over 1 million hours enforcing marijuana Laws; in 2012, over 600k individuals were arrested for marijuana charges with the majority being for simple possession and since Nixon declared a “War on Drugs” in 1971, the U.S. government has spent over a trillion dollars fighting it.
Decriminalization of marijuana will open up more studies as pharmaceutical companies will be able to fully profit from its medical benefits. Medical marijuana has already been found to have medical benefits with things such as pain, Multiple Sclerosis, hardcore drug dependency and depression. Prescription drugs such as Sativex andMarinol have already been approved and are currently being used in countries such as the UK, Canada, Sweden and Denmark to name a few. Legalizing marijuana would help the U.S. enjoy more medical benefits from Cannabis.
With more citizens including economists and politicians jumping on board to legalize marijuana; now is the time to make this happen. The first step should be to remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug and decriminalize it on a Federal level. This will push states to follow suit and ease the burden that it has had on our pocket books.
Many thanks to Medium.com for this story.