Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Some early-adopter states, such as Colorado, are already revealing statistics commensurate with predictions about what would happen if we finally permitted pot in America.
People who study drug laws and trade have long acknowledged the irony of prohibiting weed while some of the most devastating substances—alcohol and tobacco—remain legal. Finally, this paradox is becoming part of the national conversation.
Here are some very real reasons that removing marijuana’s stigma is working in our country’s favor.
Marijuana is used as medicine.
Nearly 30 states have already legalized MJJ for medical reasons. Many scientists, both major U.S. political parties and patients around the country are agreeing that marijuana can safely relieve chronic pain conditions and even aid some specific diseases.
Different parts of the marijuana plant and extractions are also being studied and upheld for a wide variety of health benefits. Plus, weed consumed for fun might just be making the world a little happier. And in a country where the suicide rate is rising and over 15 million American adults suffer from some form depression, why not?
Prohibition costs money and creates crime.
States that continue to make pot illegal spend more money, time and resources enforcing that drug law. It burdens police, courts, prisons and other agencies. Likewise, illegal drugs create black markets, leading to international corruption and crime.
Taking the marijuana market away from cartel businesses could eradicate foreign drug trade while saving billions of dollars, according to economists, by ending the drug war and capitalizing on cannabis.
Pot can lead to pure profit.
Legal cannabis is clearly proving a profitable industry. In Colorado, for example, legalization has created over 18,000 jobs and contributed over $2.5 billion to the state economy.
Recreational sales are raising significant new tax revenue in all states where it’s legal, with funds going toward positive programs, such as school construction. Pot is now a recognized commodity that through legalization is creating a measurable economic impact.
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