Obama, Here's Why Young People Should Think About Cannabis
In a recent interview, President Obama told the world cannabis was likely to be rescheduled by congress. He also made the stark remark that cannabis legalisation should be at the bottom of the list when it comes to young peoples’ priorities. Instead the youth of today should be focusing on "jobs, climate change, the economy, and war and peace". The thing is though, each and every one of these ‘more important’ points is tied in heavily with cannabis legalisation.
So Mr. Obama, here is why the youth of today should be very concerned about cannabis legalisation:
THE ECONOMY AND JOBS
Legal cannabis has the potential to generate millions upon millions in tax revenues and sales. If you need an example of this, look at Colorado, where marijuana has been fully legalised. Over the past year, Colorado has generated of $50 million in sales tax alone, not accounting for all the additional peripheral effects, such as increased employment rates due to a new and growing industry, increased sales of paraphernalia, reductions in police spending, and the many other side effects.
It has been so successful, that the state has hit its tax cap, and is now having to consider refunding tax back to the citizens. The tax they keep is all funneled back into the education system and the state’s infrastructure, further boosting it. Imagine if this was conducted on a nationwide level? The economic and social benefit would be huge. So Obama, tell us how legalisation is not a core issue when it comes to the economy and jobs?
With the legalisation of cannabis, also comes the legalisation of hemp, a non-psychoactive member of the cannabis family. Hemp has many uses, one of which is helping prevent climate change. Hemp can be used as a carbon negative construction material, a renewable source of paper (preventing a lot of deforestation), a non-toxic source of fuel and plastic, and an agent of bioremediation (removing toxins and heavy metals from heavily polluted soils). It may all sound pie-in-the sky, but it is not, each and every one of these applications are viable. Hemp has a huge potential, and before its prohibition due to its link to cannabis, was seen as the future of industry and agriculture. It is a potential that is being re-realised as prohibition, and more and more farmers are now growing it. This also ties back in with the economy, as each and every one of these points are an industry in themselves.
WAR AND PEACE
There are two aspects to this point, both of which revolve around the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs goes far beyond cannabis, but cannabis does make up a large portion of it. This is no better seen then in Mexico, where it is predicted that cannabis sales in the US make up 40% of the cartels’ business. The sweeping legalisation happening in the US has been a big hit to their wallets. These are the cartels that, quite literally, wage a war with Mexico’s populace and police, asserting their dominance with a campaign of fear and terror. It has resulted in thousands of deaths, and is directly linked to the US led War on Drugs.
The War on Drugs was also one of the main reasons given for invading Afghanistan, where both heroin and cannabis are grown. Why? Because the black market is often used to fuel and fund insurgency, and the constant war that seems to plague us. By legalising marijuana, you eliminate most of the demand that the black market fulfils, choking it.
Besides these three main ‘priorities’ that Obama outlines, there are many other critical issues tied in with the legalisation of cannabis. For example, cannabis is being shown to have an incredible amount of medical value, potentially improving the lives of millions. It also has the potential to help alleviate racial bias found throughout the world’s justice systems, and end an industry of profiting of incarceration based on prohibition.
The list goes on. Everyday there is more evidence suggesting that society as a whole can benefit from the legalisation of weed. It effects everything in one way or another, so yes Obama, the legalisation of cannabis should definitely be a political priority for today’s youth.