WASHINGTON, June 22, 2016 – States considering legalizing marijuana are often lured by the potential tax revenues that states like Colorado and Washington state have collected. There is also the correlation between the reduction in violent crime and the legalization of pot.
The struggle lies in the potential morality issues surrounding the potentially wider use of marijuana, its questionable non-monetary benefits and the effects it could have on U.S. society.
Potential effect on public morality?
Whether it’s pot, meth, cigarettes, or incense, smoking isn’t good for you. It pollutes the air with secondhand smoke that invades the air of others. However public smoking is already restricted in most bars, restaurants and public spaces.
There are several ways marijuana can be legally permitted in your state. Marijuana is used for its calming, anti-inflammatory properties, 16 states reap the benefits of permitting the usage of marijuana-derived CBD oil, which is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high.
There are also 25 states that allow medical marijuana leaving only 10 states that do not allow some form of marijuana to be used as a treatment. This means better access to much-needed relief for thousands of veterans who can now obtain a medical marijuana prescription through the V.A.
This a great way to combat the growing painkiller epidemic in this country. In addition, if a medical doctor believes it will help the pain and suffering of his or her patients, trying marijuana could result in an improved quality of life for many cancer patients or the terminally ill.
Who Stands to Benefit?
Everyone stands to benefit from a legal, taxed and regulated marijuana industry: small farmers, entrepreneurs and taxpayers. ociety can all benefit from revenue created by a legal marijuana industry, but also products created from hemp, a cannabis sativa plant with a negligible THC content whose oils fibers are primarily used in cosmetic and industrial products.
Luxury tax on a recreational item means less tax has to be taken in from other sources, like income tax or food. Colorado uses marijuana taxes to fund public schools and each state need to determine how this revenue should be applied.
Getting the Federal government out of people’s personal lives and allowing each state to decide what drug and tax policies it will impose gives states more of the autonomy that is protected by the 10th Amendment. If states are to once again become more responsible for their own debt, education and resources, this can mark a valuable return to tradition.
Veterans have so many problems facing them every day that access to medication should not added to their burden.
The fact that cancer-stricken Americans suffering from chronic pain, depending on their current medication needs, are not able to visit national parks because of medication restrictions is insane and unfair. Even if an ill veteran lives in a state where the medication is legal, like in Montana (were 10 percent of the population has veteran status), they cannot enter federal lands, which account of 29 percent of the state.
So, while they could take their medicine right outside of the any national park, being confined to Whitefish, Montana just isn’t the same as exploring the deep jewel-toned hills and stunning views that are inside Glacier National Park.
We could all stand to benefit from a tax on luxury items to fund education. However, the real winners would be those that are suffering.
What changes might need to happen?
CBD-oil, as it’s non-psychoactive, would require very few changes to make legal, just some FDA approval so it could be prescribed in as a drug. It’s already legal in all 50 states in it’s hemp-derived state, but the current status as a dietary supplement risks its integrity.
This is super dangerous when someone is taking it to prevent seizures.
Taxes and Regulation
Like alcohol, laws would have to be crafted to deal with the inebriated, similar to those crafted by Colorado and Washington.
Ending federal restrictions how banks can take marijuana money means that fewer transactions can be done “under-the-table”. Tax-fraud is harder to commit with electronic records and more small business owners can sell. Currently many businesses work around that by using an alias or going through a third party, like an EMV. This makes tracking the economics of weed hard and can impact the way laws are set up.
Less Money Spent by the Government
The federal government spends $20 billion a year on marijuana prohibition money that could be applied to the benefit, versus the prosecution, of Americans. Proper marijuana laws, that would mimic present day alcohol restrictions, would lead to a better quality of life for Americans that will benefit from its legal use.
For all those that bemoan the increase in ‘pot-heads’, those that use pot illegally now will continue to use it, responsibly or irresponsibly; that will not change. But the benefits for states, and a reduction of federal dollars spent fighting marijuana use, can be drastic.