Pot Numbers: The Impact Of Marijuana Legislation

Oregon is only days away from seeing the legalization of cannabis. As the wave of laws based on logic – rather than bias and fallacy – continues to gather traction across the country, I wanted to have a look at the real implications of cannabis remaining a scheduled drug in many parts of the country.

$20 Billion

According to the Huffington Post back in 2013, cannabis prohibition was setting the US government back twenty billion dollars each year.

For a drug that has never caused a single death, and has been shown to possess actual medical qualities, it’s funny that the powers-that-be would really want to invest so heavily in keeping it illegal.

On the other hand, considering this is a country where private prisons exist and there is money to be made from every slack-jawed, morally-decrepit pot smoker they can get their hands on, the current federal legislation makes a lot more sense.

750,000 People

The Rolling Stone sets the number of people arrested for cannabis possession each year at 750,000. While this is drastically lower than some other estimates out there, it’s not hard to argue that the resources required to put this many people through the legal system for simply having the plant on them could be utilized much better elsewhere.

Additionally, the repercussions that come from having any kind of legal record in the US can be life-changing. Why should intelligent and capable individuals be punished for using a drug that affects no one else?

$76 Million

The Cannabist reported that the state of Colorado was seventy-six million dollars better off thanks to legalization. Not only is the state itself benefitting, but so are the residents, who are able to have convenient, legal access to cannabis, while businesses and jobs have also been created.

Waiting For Babylon

I believe that widespread legalization (or, at least, decriminalization) will not be without its share of problems. Given the polar opposite, though, it’s definitely a progressive way to not only rebuild economies, but also to improve lives and encourage laws that are based on science and not hearsay.

What are your thoughts on the current state of cannabis legislation? Do you think it will have only a positive impact on society, or do you foresee drawbacks too?

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