Pot has long been demonized in the news. Labeled as a schedule 1 drug alongside strong narcotics, cannabis has been considered illegal for decades in most parts of the world.
Colorado, by the end of 2014 had a demand of 130.3 metric tons of cannabis flower.
Currently, there are around 23 states plus DC that have some sort of medical cannabis law.
Though not all cannabis laws were made equal, this is a huge step over the last few years.
Is pot legalization actually working in favor of the majority? Here’s the proof that we made the right decision to legalize pot.
#1: Decreased Criminality
Given all the negative publicity that media bombarded us over the years, what happened to the number of crimes committed within Colorado and other states that managed to pass a medical and/or recreational marijuana law?
In the past, mainstream media, with the help of pharmaceutical companies alongside the DEA manipulated public opinion about cannabis in different ways possible. It has even been considered as a gateway drug, which was debunked especially during the 1980s.
Right after legalizing cannabis, there was a drop in the number of burglaries, and drug related violations in Denver, Colorado from 2013 to 2014. Is it surprising? Following the hysteria made by the DEA and pharmaceutical companies it is the complete opposite of what was expected from cannabis.
#2: Economic Benefits
In the past, the smallest possession of cannabis will create problems for you. However, what they don’t recognize is the fact that it costs around $300 in order to adjudicate the case. In Denver, there were 3000 fewer cannabis related arrests that took place after the legalization took place. If you combine this with the millions of tax money from the cannabis industry, it shows the economic impact of the legislation.
In fact, the first four months after introducing recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado, there were over 10 million taxes from the retail sales. Of course, these numbers have already increased given more establishments have joined the cannabis industry.
The four decades of “drug war” against cannabis has accounted for more than $1 trillion worth of spending. How much money do Americans have to spend for pot prisoners yearly? In order to incarcerate pot users, the US is spending more than 1 billion dollars annually. Could you imagine the unnecessary spending on prisoners who were locked because of cannabis? Given the fact that 1 out of 8 drug prisoners were merely there because of cannabis, it goes to show wasted resources spent on criminalizing pot.
Another benefit of cannabis is that more funds became available for things that are more important. In June 2015, US House passed several amendments that have scaled back the federal war against cannabis. For instance, $9 million from DEA’s funding have been channeled towards helping victims of child abuse. Also, $10 million was funneled towards body cameras of police officers, while $4 million went to untested rape kits. These are just some of the funds that have been used for more productive things.
#3: Health Alternative
So far, there is a great multitude of conditions which could be improved or treated completely by cannabis. From cancer therapy to glaucoma, these are among the conditions that could be drastically improved by cannabis.
But what made cannabis reach headlines is the case of Charlotte Figi. A nine year old who was cured mainly by the cannabidiol based Rick Simpson Oil. Because of this, families turned to Colorado and became medical refugees. During the earlier part of 2014, around 100 families were considered medical refugees looking for a cure on Dravet Syndrome.
In search for the cannabidiol rich Rick Simpson Oil, families flocked to Colorado in order to receive treatment for their children. Now that more states are providing access to cannabis, more options are becoming available for children affected by this rare type of epilepsy.
How do cannabinoids work in the body? The body has an endocannabinoid system which helps in rebalancing our overall health. There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors where cannabinoids could attach. There is the presence of CB1 lined in our digestive system. Also, there is CB2 in the nervous system. The location of these cannabinoid receptors is crucial in applying medication especially to children, who shouldn’t be high from taking in the cannabis medication.
What makes cannabis better than pharmaceutically prepared drugs? You really don’t see anyone suffering from a drug overdose from cannabis, mainly due to the fact that there is no sufficient number of cannabis in the brain which controls our breathing patterns. In the long history of cannabis use among individuals, there is no recorded case of cannabis overdose.
#4: More Research to Come
We only scratched the surface when it comes to cannabis benefits, as well as pros and cons. Currently, we know a few things about cannabis. Given the limitations that researchers have in the past decades, this is a positive change. Now that it has been legalized, expect more researchers to come forward with their own findings about cannabis.
From medical to industrial potential of cannabis, these are some of the things that we could expect now that states are having cannabis laws. In the past, finding respondents and cannabis samples from the authorized farm of the DEA slows down the work that researchers do.
What makes research so important today? Research allows medical professionals to explore the benefits of cannabis. Also, through research, it is possible to determine the pros and cons of cannabis use, something that we barely know as of the moment. With research, it helps us to debunk misconceptions about the substance, making us aware what it really brings to the table. Questions whether or not it affects productivity or driving could be answered with the right amount of research.
#5: Job Opportunities
In Colorado alone, 10,000 people are directly involved in the industry. Over the next months after the legalization, up to 2,000 individuals gained employment due to the increasing demand in the cannabis industry.
If you ever need a new career for a change, might as well check the cannabis industry for opening. Since cannabis movement is inching closer towards federal legalization, there are a number of new posts that you could fill in.
Ever heard of an edible creator? A trip to a medical dispensary will give you a number of tasty edibles. Since it is becoming a highly competitive market out there, it is a must to have someone who could create edibles that have specific amounts of cannabinoids that could taste good the same time.
Maybe you have a background in chemistry? If you wish to be the cannabis version of Walter White, it is possible to be a concentrates processor who would handle things like Rick Simpson Oil, dabs and other products that require precision especially for medical consumers.
#6: High Quality Cannabis
After the legalization, you are not forced to grow your own stash especially when you don’t have any background at all growing cannabis. With the help of businesses, cannabis can now be grown in the best environment which could produce the right amount of cannabinoids and terpenes specific for your needs.
Also, you don’t have to stir your own Rick Simpson Oil just to have your own stash. This has been a practice that has started fires among residential areas. These days, posh and professional dispensaries are present ready to serve the finest cannabis edibles to RSOs.
Given the legalization of the cannabis industry, businesses can openly invest on equipment such as tanks that release certain oxygen after certain hours in order to produce the best cannabis products to the consumers. With additional manpower and funding towards research, expect improvement in the concentration that would cater to different diseases/conditions and wants of consumers.
#7: Other Businesses Prospered
Aside from work opportunities, cannabis legalization brought a number of businesses on the map. For instance, you have the handheld as well as desk vaporizers. Could you imagine years ago that the vaporizer industry will become a lucrative business which even hospitals will recognize?
Aside from the vaporizers, there are also the glass merchants who are having new customers in the cannabis industry. Selling bongs and pipes years back wouldn’t be in demand if not for those who discovered cannabis early. Now, there is no reason for you to worry that you are breaking the law. And because of this, glass industry has found its new customer.
Also, you have the courier business picking up thanks to the cannabis industry. With people looking to get their stash delivered on their doorstep either for medical or recreational purpose, some companies are hiring professionals who are trained in delivery to get the products to their customers the quickest time possible.
And since cannabis industry is still not federally legal, retail stores are in need of security. Why? For most retail shops, they are most likely not accepting credit cards as payments, and simply transact in cash. Add the fact that there are threats made by drug cartels to legitimate cannabis businesses, security companies also benefit from the rise of the cannabis industry.
#8: Less Legal Problems for Cannabis Users
How many people were incarcerated due to the use of cannabis? In 2010, 52% of drug busts were actually from cannabis. Between the years 2001 to 2010, there were around 8.2 million cannabis related arrests within the US. 88% are people who simply had cannabis when they were arrested. Because of this, one arrest is made for every 37 seconds.
Though it is still not federally legal to have cannabis, cannabis users now have an elbow room to bring their own stash. But of course, you’ll have to take the initiative to learn the laws in the particular state you are traveling to. There will be states wherein you will only be allowed to carry a considerable amount.
In the past, arrests could affect someone’s future. One misconception is that when charges have been dismissed, that your record goes away all at the same time. This is not the case since arrest record remains within reach. Typically, before you could request the court to expunge your record, you still need to wait for a certain period of time. It could be as long as five years.
So what if you have a profession which requires a thorough background check? Licensure boards cross reference with the police departments to know not only of convictions, but also of arrests that took place. And what you have to understand is that you don’t have to be convicted in order to have your license denied. Drug related offense, even without conviction could already deny your license.
In summary, cannabis legalization has brought a number of good things to the community. Ranging from additional work opportunities and economic progress, it has proven that the last decades of cannabis prohibition was a mistake.