We’ve all heard the reasons for marijuana to be legalized, and until recent polling, people were more in support of marijuana legalization than in support of gay marriage. Marijuana is the drug of choice for women, for America, and for veterans. It’s non-addictive, doesn’t kill people, and opens the door to hemp (the thing you can use for everything). Let’s talk about weed as a symbol of American commodities and the long-term societal impact of legal green.
Straight up. We are losing money as a nation. We are losing money in a fight for marijuana prohibition, losing the potential tax revenue, and giving money to the drug dealers.
The 20 billion spent on marijuana prohibition could be spent on schools. It could be spent on roads, trains, buses, or any of the other awesome infrastructure needs we have as a nation. Twenty billion bucks, that’s 62 dollars per person in America, or the equivalent cost of an eighth and a ton of munchies for every American. That’s so much freakin’ money. The entire GPD of Liberia is being spent on marijuana prohibition in America. You could argue that this money creates jobs in the DEA, which could be transformed into a regulatory agency instead, but that money is just the tip of the barrel in terms of burned cash.
Adding to the burned cash pile that is just straight up lost money is with the potential tax lost from black market marijuana. You know who’s not paying taxes? Well, terrible people, and drug dealers. Cashing in on the income tax from drug dealers and sales tax on marijuana is a big deal. Currently, most marijuana dispensaries are cash only, which means that under-the-table reporting is more rampant than if there was a heavy reliance on credit business (it’s hard to evade taxes when there are electronic records). The black market marijuana industry in the U.S. could have been worth about 41 billion back in 2010. Taxing a market larger than 6 Donald Trumps (if you go by his own estimate), or 20-seater mini-bus full of Trumps if you go by the Forbes assessment is an enormous amount of tax revenue. That’s a market bigger than 10 Dallas Cowboys (the most valuable team in the NFL), or the brand value of Disney. It’s the ultimate American luxury item, and we aren’t taxing it to pay for our broken infrastructure, instead the money lines the pockets of drug dealers.
We might as well be giving away gold plated machine guns to drug dealers, like the ones seized by cops in L.A. at this drug dealer’s house.
Now that the V.A. can legally recommend marijuana for sufferers in states where it is legal to do so, it’s a little ridiculous that those veterans can’t visit the national parks they helped protect. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal (like Montana) a disabled veteran might be limited to the outskirts of town. While there is a ton of things to do in Whitefish, it’s hella lame that patients are not able to explore the majesty of Glacier National Park. They are limited by federal restrictions on marijuana and unable to take their medicine into the park.
And it’s not just medical marijuana that is restricted from entering national parks, but anyone with marijuana derived CBD oil. A non psychoactive, heavily regulated medication regularly used to prevent seizures. While there are a ton of uses for CBD oil and hemp-based CBD is legal in all 50 states, it’s still a little insane that prescription medications aren’t allowed in certain national parks.
Limiting Quality of Life
Moving is hard to do. Finding a job is difficult. Especially if you are doing something illegal to maintain your mental or physical well-being. Or for someone who just likes to get high as a form of relaxation, pot being illegal limits the quality of life that they could be living. While pot isn’t a medical necessity for everyone, and some people abuse it in the same way really fat people might abuse cheesecake.
I don’t care about the stereotypical potheads. What I care about are the everyday Americans who might have trouble negotiating a raise because of their weekend hobbies, the person who wants to not have a seizure everyday and has to relocate, and the million other serious implications of doing something illegal that they do not feel is morally wrong. As a population, we are not living to our fullest potential, or able to get the medication we need based on where we were born. Which is terrible, not just for every lost Sunday afternoon of chronic museum tours, but also because of the medical needs some people have and the quality of life that those people are not able to live.
Why Weed is so Damn American
If there is an American drug, it’s probably meth. But if there is an American drug we can be proud of, it’s weed. Weed is the great equalizer. It’s the drug of choice for a huge variety of people, an ex-Surgeon General endorsed its legalization, it’s the third most popular drug behind alcohol and tobacco. The only thing more American than shooting moonshine up an old beach road outside of Wichita while a bald eagle hunts mice overhead, is that, with a joint in one hand.
Don’t care about stereotypical pot-heads. Don’t care about getting high. When it comes down to it, what really matters is money and happiness. If the quality of life is reduced for people without it going up for a super-majority of other people and large quantities of money is spent to make that happen, we need to stop.