7 Reason For Cities And Local Governments To Legalize Weed
...for others to follow.
In recent posts we have covered why cannabis should be legalized as a whole, but there are gains and advantages to be made as well from cities and local authorities legalizing and regulating the growth and use of this plant. Things do not need to happen on a national level to cause change, quite the contrary, national change is often caused by the build-up of smaller profound movements. You only need look at the US, where the legalization by individual states and districts is putting mounting pressure on the federal government to lift prohibition.
So with this in mind, we thought we would outline the top 7 advantages cities and districts can hope to gain from a locally controlled marijuana market.
7. THE CREATION OF AN INDUSTRY
The legal marijuana industry is a very lucrative one, and can create both jobs and wealth, benefiting individuals and the local economy. We are not talking small sums here either. If places such as Colorado are anything to go by, local cannabis industries can be worth millions, if not billions. In fact, the creation of a marijuana industry has been so successful in Colorado that it is now ranked as number 1 for growth when compared to the rest of the US’ states.
When it comes to jobs, it is not just those directly working with marijuana that benefit either. Sure, thousands will be able to work directly within the industry as growers, lab workers, retail workers etc. (which is great), but supporting industries will also benefit. This can be anything from delivery drivers, to accountants, marketing firms, equipment providers, and even lawyers. There are very few who do not benefit in one form or another.
Also, an important point to make is that for this industry to really thrive, it has to be legal AND regulated. Without it, you can end up like here in Amsterdam, where a partial black market still thrives – negating many of the benefits of a legal cannabis industry.
6. HIGER TAX RETURNS
As touched on above, a legal and regulated cannabis market can generate millions of euros in tax revenue and sales. This money goes back into the local area, strengthening its infrastructure and facilitating its growth. We are talking about improved education, better health care, and a better funded police service, to name but a few things. As long as the money is reinvested in the people, there is no way that society cannot benefit from it. For example, cannabis taxes have so much money in Colorado that the state is even having to consider refunding some of it!
5. IT REMOVES THE NEED FOR THE BLACK MARKET
Whether cannabis is legal or not, people will always be buying. In fact, despite the efforts of law enforcement, cannabis use is higher than ever, and the illegal drug trade continues to grow. This can be said for anything illegal really, if there is demand, then someone will find it profitable to supply. A fine example of this was the prohibition of alcohol in the US. Back when alcohol was illegal, bootleggers reigned with terror and violence as they bribed officials, used violence against those who would oppose them, and dealt in extremely toxic alcohol (more toxic than normal). Yet, you don’t hear about bootleggers anymore, do you? This is because alcohol was legalized, and the black market around it died. The same happens where cannabis is legalized, reducing violence and corruption, and harder drug use.
4. LEGALIZATION FREES UP LOCAL POLICE RESOURCES AND TIME
The police currently have a habit of targeting marijuana users, with marijuana being the number one reason police use to search people in the US, and funding often reliant on meeting drug arrest quotas. It is a system that is fundamentally flawed, and annoys just as many police as it does citizens. Many police forces would rather be spending their time and resources focusing on more serious crime, and actually helping victims. Protecting and serving their local communities, and becoming closer to it, is a reason many people are inspired to join the police in the first place. Marijuana prohibition is currently getting in the way of this, and legalizing it would allow the police to actually do their jobs.
3. THIS RESULTS IN A DROP IN CRIME
As you can probably imagine, when the police are freed up to actually combat real crime, they do a pretty good job of it. This results in the local area becoming much safer, with crime rates falling across the board.
2. WEED TOURISM
A pretty self-explanatory point, but one that is extremely significant. Tourists looking to visit somewhere and chill out with a bit of weed can create a lot of money for the local economy, and create even more jobs, tying in with some of our previous points. What makes this even better is that weed tourists are generally peaceful, happy people. All they want to do is relax and have a good time, hurting no one. The same could not be said for say, football tourists, or ‘booze cruisers’.
1. LESS ACIDENTAL OVERDOSES, AND SUICIDES
Research has shown that when marijuana is legal, accidental overdose from prescription opioids drops by around 25%. This is likely for various reasons. Firstly, opioid based medicines can be extremely addictive, much in the way heroin is. As such, it becomes increasingly easier to overdose as the user gets the urge to use more. Then there is also the fact that opioids are just more dangerous. Cannabis is neither physiologically addictive nor lethal, so it is impossible to overdose on it. As it is often used as an alternative to prescription medicines, cannabis saves the lives that would have been lost.
When it comes to suicide, research has also found marijuana legalization dramatically causes suicide rates to drop – especially amongst men. Why this is could be anyone’s guess, but we would say that people can find solace from the stress of life when using cannabis, without getting addicted or losing themselves completely. It can be the buffer someone needs to get back on track. Either way, the fact that legalizing cannabis is shown to save a save life, in both terms of suicide and accidental overdose is a prime reason for local authorities to consider legalization. Above all else, cannabis has the power to preserve life where society would otherwise fail. Surely that is reason enough.