You may feel like the fight for legalization is over in California, but you’d be wrong. Cannabis is still illegal in some states and remains illegal on the federal level. This means that there are hard limits put on cannabis throughout the nation that impact everyone. Possibly the biggest repercussion to cannabis remaining federally illegal lies in the boundaries placed around research into the substance due to the federal limitations. 

While cannabis continues to grow in acceptance and we move toward eradication of the stigma surrounding use, there is still a lot that remains to be done.

Benefits of Legalization

There are so many different benefits that come with the legalization of cannabis that span beyond merely being allowed to use it recreationally. I’ll cover a few including: economic impact, advocacy, community impact, and cannabis safety. I encourage you to go beyond this post and do research on your own to further your knowledge.

Economic Impact

  • Increased revenue (taxes), job growth, investment opportunities
  • A recent study showed how the cannabis industry provided $80.8 million to the local economy in Colorado, a majority of this money coming from taxes and fees.
  • To bring this close to home, it was reported in 2018 that “cannabis sales had generated 411.3 million in excise tax, $98.9 million in cultivation tax, and $335.1 million in sales tax.”
  • Increased legalization means more dispensaries and cultivation sites, which leads to employment. This benefits the economy because it means more citizens making money, thereby increasing the amount of money going to taxes and the local economy. 

Community Benefits

  • Illinois passed legislation to legalize and tax cannabis with 25% of taxes collected being used to help struggling communities. This is projected to amount to $31.4 million dollars. This is all part of a move on the part of Illinois to acknowledge the unfair focus of cannabis enforcement on communities of color.
  • Legalizing cannabis also means an increase in job opportunities. As new dispensaries open there will be an increased need for employees. Not to mention it also allows the opportunity for diversification of cultivation.
  • Expungements of cannabis crimes are letting people return to their homes and families with a clean record (if this was their only offense).
  • Cannabis tourism will bring more people to the areas that have legal, recreational cannabis which puts money directly into the local economy.

Cannabis Safety

  • Cannabis being legal means that it has to be under regulation. While there are still areas of growth in regulation, it is much better than unregulated sales. 
  • With cannabis being regulated, consumers can rest assured their product isn’t mixed with any other substance that may cause harm that may be fatal.
  • One of the biggest benefits of legalization is that it pulls cannabis from the streets into regulated sales. This takes a lot of the danger out of finding cannabis and ensures the people purchasing are getting a product they can trust.
  • Something that many may not think about is the safety of our kiddos. Teens are going to smoke, it’s a fact of life at this point. Although legal cannabis will obviously not alleviate parental concern, we can at least rest easy knowing that what they’re consuming is safe.

Research and Legalization

  • We need legalization for studies and research. In fact, legal changes in the recent vote led to increased research and development of cannabis-based medical products.
  • There are so many hoops to jump through if anyone wants to conduct medical research on cannabis, sometimes taking years to get approved. There could be a plethora of genuine, proveable benefits of cannabis, but without federal legalization we may never find out.
  • While it is true that people can seek out medical or recreational marijuana to ease any number of alleged symptoms, without research we can’t know the true effect and how marijuana interacts with innumerable variables. 
  • Some of the biggest hurdles researchers face due to federal limitations include: supply barriers, funding limitations, and regulations. 

Wrapping it up

We urge you to get involved in any way that you can. Cannabis legalization nationwide and federally stands to benefit our country in more ways than we could possibly know. Get involved wherever you can and continue to be vigilant about changes, because they matter.