Welcome to recreational cannabis legalization, having the right to purchase cannabis just like beer, no stoner stigma, no toking up in back alleyways, and making your own decisions about your health, your well-being, and your general happiness. You’ve worked so hard for this since you legalized medical marijuana way back in 1996; just think of the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the creation of Proposition 64 over the past 20 years. Imagine what you, us, and all the other states fighting to legalize marijuana have been through to reach this pinnacle of possibility. In case you’re still feeling a bit hesitant about voting yes, here are 10 reasons you should.
Reason 1: Massive Green Influx
Let’s just be honest with ourselves and you, California, for a moment. The cannabis industry IS the fastest growing industry in the United States at the moment — between innovation, services, consulting, growing, edibles, medicines, and of course the over the glass counter cannabis sales, cannabis is literally killing it. Of course, cannabis works hand in hand with other industries like technology, marketing and branding, mental and physical health, and pharmaceutical creation. The possibilities are probably limited, but we can’t really see that limit right now. We can see that cannabis sales in Colorado were $720.4 million as of September, 2016, and that’s just the past six months. We are on track to shatter 2015’s $996 million record like Von Miller shatters Brock Osweiler’s quarterback dreams. If you can think of a reason why that’s bad, feel free to let us know.
Reason 2: Innovation
People all over this breathtaking state are cranking those head gears around and around, trying to come up with the next big cannabis industry thing. We’ve all done it – Wow, that’s a lot of money. Let’s go buy an ounce, take it home, and figure out how to earn some of that money for ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy – but it is easy to see that attracting innovators like Sue Sisley to Children’s Hospital, Marcel Bonn-Miller to Veterans Affairs cannabis studies, and entrepreneurs with money to burn can help our state become a marijuana-driven force to be reckoned with across so many different industries. Which leads us to our next reason:
Reason 3: Job Creation & Opportunity
Colorado’s unemployment rate for 2016 is currently at 3.4%. To put that in perspective, the unemployment rate in the United States overall is down to 4.9%, and California, your unemployment rate is currently at 5.5%. In fact, the only states that are beating Colorado right now are New Hampshire, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Hawaii, and Vermont. For the record, Alaska has the highest unemployment rate in the nation right now – but we predict that will be changing soon. With job creation comes job opportunity, higher pay rates, better benefits, and a generally better standard of living.
Reason 4: Groundbreaking Scientific Research
Scientific research funded by and in cahoots with cannabis is creating all kinds of amazing things right now, including personal grow spaces for the home, LED grow lights that take less energy to run, safe cannabis testing facilities, medical breakthroughs products like Charlotte’s Web CBD, and organizations like the Realm of Caring, which is just around to help newbies navigate the intimidating world of legal cannabis.
Reason 5: Lifesaving Medical Research
Speaking of Charlotte’s Web and the Realm of Caring, cannabis medicine pioneers like Sue Sisley and Marcel Bonn-Miller are working on groundbreaking research that promises to help medical patients (well into the next 100 years and probably beyond) access and properly dose cannabis-based medicines for various illnesses, from epilepsy to PTSD and CTE. Coincidentally, they are both performing their research in Colorado, funded by our own lovable, mountainous, pro-cannabis state.
Reason 6: More Affordable Housing
Okay, so we’re not there yet. In fact, with the influx of 100,000 or more in a year, housing has become pretty scarce, rents have shot up, and city planners are scrambling to create housing for all those people – and those of us who are actually from here. (You should know how that feels, California – remember the dot.com boom?) Well, Denver doesn’t have a lot of affordable housing, but all these people are forcing the city to do something about that – the focused affordable housing incentive the city just approved requires that new developments include affordable housing. If they do, they are allowed to build up to 16-storey buildings. Denver also passed a $250 million, 10-year affordable housing plan recently. So, if people can crash on their friends’ couches, stay in their relatives’ garages or basements, or continue pushing their things around in a shopping cart for a few more months (hey, it’s been a really warm October), housing might soon be available for those of us who aren’t ganjapreneurs.
Reason 7: Better Schools
Schools teach people things, and here in Colorado, they were starting to go the way of your crappy school, California. That is, until Colorado voted to give some of that cannabis tax revenue to them – to the tune of about $40 million. Unfortunately for Denver schools, voters also have to pass the bonds on the ballot this year to get Colorado’s BEST grants, also created from marijuana tax grants. If you ask us, there shouldn’t be a qualifier; they should just give the schools the damn money – it’s not like they’re hurting for it. Anyhow, $40 million is better than no million and, combined with the bond school bonds on the ballot, our schools should be looking pretty good over the next few years.
Reason 8: Better Food & Drink
On to one of my favorite positive results of recreational cannabis legalization – cannabis-infused foods and drinks. Edibles are almost irresistible, and the array here in Colorado is stupefying; literally in some cases. As long as you watch your dosage, know what you can handle, and plan for a ride home and a sidekick, the foodie and cannabis-infused delicacy scene here in Colorado is unparalleled. Cultivating Spirits is the Colorado destination for Californians who can drop $249 on a private food, wine, and cannabis tour, and although New York has the cool underground cannabis restaurants courtesy of Miguel Trinidad, it’s only a matter of time before cannabis-infused restaurants return to Denver.
Reason 9: Legal Cannabis Makes Life Easier and More Enjoyable
We think this one speaks for itself.
Reason 10: Why Not?