Cannabis has become the medical miracle of the 21st Century after decades of being an illegal recreation drug in various forms responsible for the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Americans. The most familiar forms, all psychoactive drugs, are ganja, hashish and marijuana. More people have been arrested for marijuana use alone than for all violent crimes combined, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Medical cannabis has been legalized for medical use in most U.S. states by 2016, although still a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and despite being legalized for recreational use in a half dozen states starting in Colorado and Washington. An increasing number of states have decriminalized or approved cannabis for recreational use between 2012 and 2019. The proven medical benefits of marijuana, notably for relief of chronic pain, are bolstered by continuing research showing that it kills cancer cells and other potential health benefits.
Economic Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
As is the case of alcohol, which has some modest health benefits if consumed in moderation, legal marijuana would be legally available for adults age 21 years and older. There is no arguing the economic benefits of alcohol production and consumption worldwide, although its abuse is also responsible for widespread death and injury.
What about the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana and cannabis? They have been misrepresented in the past as leading to homelessness and unemployment because it stifles drive, focus and energy, turning users into nonproductive tokers. And what about the charge that it is addictive and leads to use of “harder drugs”? Let’s just say the economic and health benefits of marijuana now outweigh some of those old arguments.
We submit that legalization of marijuana would help the economy and has, in fact, in California, Washington and Colorado, where it has been legalized both for medicinal and recreation purposes. The result has been a dramatic improvement in their economies.
For starters there is the boost to agriculture, starting with the businesses and individuals who grow and harvest the crops. Then there are the marketing and transport to a growing number of businesses selling cannabis products. Legalizing cannabis production would give rise to a lot of employment opportunities, even for individuals who grow the crop over several acres and cultivate it. Law enforcement, courts, human services and prisons won’t be as overworked and overcrowded with marijuana legalized. Money may be better spent on education, health care, rehabilitation and other social services.
There would still be need for law enforcement so exceeding care should be taken that the laws enforcing this injury are carefully laid out and researched because there are always those plotting illicit trade, growing, transportation and use, staying a step ahead by undercutting rules and regulations.
Medical Benefits of Marijuana
Before listing the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana, first its benefits in terms of medical purposes must be noted. Marijuana is known to cure all kinds of chronic pain including those associated with certain illnesses. Cannabis is even being researched further as it has been shown to kill cancer cells, and this use can be tapped further for tremendous benefits. The lung function is also said to improve after smoking pot, and it has been found to improve mood as well. Glaucoma and spasms have also been treated with marijuana. In the case of seizures, medical marijuana use has been found to reduce their intensity or to control them altogether; a reduction in overall symptoms has also been noted.