The Case to Legalize Cannabis Completely, Once and For All

With the recent movement of states legalizing cannabis on a local level, many are now wondering when the call for ending prohibition nationwide will be finalized. Though there is still a sizable number that opposes legalization, I believe that they are impeding America’s progress on a number of fronts and I’ll explain these bit by bit. The first front I’d like to call attention to is the financial realm because I believe it holds the strongest potential to persuade folks to favor legalization. On this note, there are two main ways that legalizing marijuana would benefit Americans financially: taxes and investments.

Finances


I think we’ve all heard by now how Colorado and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana use, have brought in extra tax revenue to give well-needed funding to schools, corrections departments, etc. It’s really hard to argue against this point and I think that Democrats and Republicans, religious and non-religious, Whites and people of color alike, can all agree that extra tax revenue for programs such as schools is something we can all agree on. So I will not add more to that point. The second main point of the financial argument for legalizing cannabis is its potential for earning investors money. According to Arcview Market Research and its research partner BDS Analytics as reported by Forbes, the Cannabis market in North America alone is expected to reach $47.3 billion dollars by 2027. That is a more than five fold increase from $9.2 billion in 2017. It is also estimated in this same report that 67% of sales will come from recreational use (not that that matters when discussing the pure finances of it). These numbers are staggering and many people are recommending to invest in the Cannabis industry as the next “Google” or “Apple” of stocks. Though not everyone wants to be an investor (and that is absolutely fine), those of us who want to make money from this should be allowed to. On a personal note, it still perplexes me that this alone doesn’t convince more folks to hop on board, especially considering that many of the same people who still oppose it are staunch defenders of capitalism. On this same note, the main force that is preventing these companies from taking off even further is that most major banks cannot take money from the industry due to federal regulations. Banks of all institutions know the value of money and I would not be surprised to see them start to lobby Congress for a push to lift these regulations. There was recently a bill proposed in a subcommittee of Congress for this very purpose and according to Bloomberg, it is scheduled for a vote in the House next week (fingers crossed). Now that I’ve talked about the financial benefits of legalizing marijuana, I will cover the moral aspects that favor legalization.

Ethics

It may seem obvious, but prohibition on alcohol did not work. There is no single argument that would make cannabis any different in this regard. The strongest argument that I’ve heard when I talk about this is “well I don’t necessarily favor keeping alcohol legal either.” Okay, that’s a fair point but just like with any other “vice” in society (i.e. sex, drugs, liquor, etc.), people are going to do it anyways whether you like it or not, point blank period. It would make more sense for the government to at least put regulations on such substances so that minors do not have access and also to keep criminals such as drug cartels and black markets at bay. Next, I will cover the medicinal benefits of the cannabis plant.

Medicinal

By now, I think we’ve all heard about the therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis and medical marijuana generally seems to be a far less controversial subject as opposed to recreational use. Just to give a few examples, it has been shown to alleviate symptoms associated with nausea, seizures, arthritis, epilepsy, insomnia and multiple sclerosis just to name a few. The Harvard Medical Blog covers these in more details. Currently, 33 states offer some form of a medical marijuana program. Though medicinal use is far less controversial as previously mentioned, there are still more than 15% of Americans that oppose this, according to survey results from Pew Reseach. This is sickening considering that they’re okay with denying little children medicine to stop their seizures. Yes, this is a more extreme example but ultimately, that’s what this boils down to and I refuse to sugarcoat it.

Industrial Hemp

Hemp is something we’ve all heard of but few of us know much about it and its vast potential. According to a report compiled by the USDA, hemp has industrial use for clothing, oils and plastics, packaging, lotions, human and pet food, paper, construction materials and even bio-fuel. Though more restrictions on hemp have been lifted under the Trump administration under the new Farm Bill, it’s difficult to foresee the momentum continue without legalization of the entire plant. The reason I say this is that hemp and marijuana have a long history of intersectionality and have often been suppressed by the same groups and for similar reasons. For example, industrial hemp was used extensively in World War Two but soon was outlawed at the same time recreational cannabis was during the onset of the War on Drugs by Nixon. Though recreational marijuana was opposed on more moral grounds, these groups were often funded by large corporations that would have garnered a loss from the expansion of hemp (i.e. fossil fuel companies, lumber, etc.). This is detailed in a report on the history of Hemp by MIT.

All in all, there are many reasons to support the legalization of cannabis and end its prohibition once and for all. Whether you want to make extra money, garner extra funding for schools, help sick people get the medicine they need, support more sustainable industries or simply relax and have a good time, there is a reason for all of us to support this measure. With this in mind, though it may seem obvious, you don’t need to consume the plant yourself to benefit from its legalization. I hope you find this informative and helpful in making a decision on whether to support or oppose the legalization of cannabis. For a more comprehensive report with objective standpoints from experts in drug policy-making (the Drug Policy Alliance), please click here.

Thank you reading and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions,

-David

2 thoughts on “The Case to Legalize Cannabis Completely, Once and For All

  1. I don’t think there is any rationale for keeping marijuana illegal any more. I just hope that when it is fully legalized we do the right thing and release those who are currently incarcerated on non-violent drug charges. It would also be nice if their records were expunged so they could reintegrate into society more easily. I know I have heard a lot of people who are upset by the idea of a bunch of “white hipsters” profiting so greatly off of something that a majority of black and brown folks have been locked up over for years, especially if those people are kept behind bars and blocked from being able to pursue the business legally because of their past convictions.

    1. Hey Jennifer,

      Thank you for mentioning this, it’s something that I totally should have incorporated but neglected to. You are absolutely right about this. I remember a couple years back when I was doing a similar research paper, I came across the startling statistics that detailed the similar rates of usage among whites and people of color despite the disproportionate rate of incarceration among PoC. Hopefully some form of criminal justice reform will be incorporated into legislation soon or at the very least, when it becomes legal federally. Fingers crossed!

      -David

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.