Tag: economic benefits of marijuana

These 4 States Could Legalize Marijuana this November

Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

November 6th marks a turning point in the United States, as the elections will determine which party holds the majority in Congress for the next two years. What many people do not understand, however, is that voting for candidates to represent them will not be the only thing that occurs next Tuesday in booths across the county.

After voting on specific state and national Congressmen and Congresswomen, an alternate section in the voting booth will ask questions pertaining to major issues in the respective state, by voting on initiated state statutes. On the ballots for 2018, four states will mention either the legalization of recreational and/or medicinal marijuana. Among those four states are Missouri, Michigan, Utah, and North Dakota. These states are taking the initiative that we have seen in many other regions across the country.

Marijuana — Side Effects & Consequences

Missouri

Missouri is the most radical of the four, laying out a 54th section to Article IV of the state Constitution. The proposal would make amendments as follow:

“Cannabis shall immediately be removed from the Missouri list of controlled substances”.

“Remove state prohibitions on the possession, growth and sale of marijuana for personal or medical use by anyone 18 years and older.”

“Anyone under the age of 18 shall have access to cannabis through physician recommendation or consent from legal parent/guardian”.

“All prisoners who have been incarcerated for non-violent, cannabis-related crimes shall be released within 30 days, unless time remains on the sentence for another dissimilar offense”.

Under Amendments Nine and Ten of the US Constitution, Missouri will reserve its right to nullify any federal laws conflicting with this act. The state will also prohibit any state funds to be used to assist in DEA or any other federal agencies in marijuana offense enforcement.

Michigan

With Michigan’s Proposal 1, the state would become the first state in the Midwest to legalize the possession and use of recreational marijuana for citizens aged 21 and over. The motion would set a state-mandated tax on cannabis products with a 10% tax, to eliminate incentive to buy the products. “Revenue from the tax would be allocated to local governments, K-12 education, and road and bridge maintenance”.

The other side of this Proposal allocates the full responsibility of their actions to the pot users and growers, allowing the citizens of Michigan to grow up to twelve plants on their respective property unless municipalities restrict marijuana institutions in their jurisdiction. Marijuana-related charges will be decriminalized for future cases, and cases with offenders currently serving time may be overturned on a case to case basis.

Utah

The culture around Utah has a different outlook on legalizing all cannabis, like the cases in Michigan and Missouri. Most prominently, the progressive political action committees are lobbying for the legalization, while the protruding Church of Latter Day Saints suggests otherwise. Proposition 2 this November pledges to legalize medicinal marijuana for specific situations with the necessary conditions. Licensed physicians would be able to give out medical cards for marijuana products with guidelines and restrictions on use of said products.

Approved individuals are permitted to buy at most two ounces of unprocessed marijuana and/or a cannabis-based product with no more than ten ounces of THC included. The restrictions get even more limited, with absolutely no permission to smoke these products. Proposition 2 also will levy high business costs for the institutions creating the products, but alternatively spare marijuana from local and state sales taxes.

North Dakota

After trying to get this statue, or ones like it on the ballots for the past three election cycles, North Dakota finally has landed a position for ‘Measure 3, Marijuana Legalization and Automatic Expungement Initiative’ for the 2018 Midterms. This option on the ballot was created to legalize all the uses of cannabis in the state of North Dakota, whether for medicinal or recreational reasons. This would be true for any citizens aged 21 and over, with lobbied penalties for offenders caught using or abusing marijuana products who are under the age of 21.

Furthermore, the state of North Dakota will turn to the elimination of criminal records for people sentenced to jail time because of marijuana-related crimes. People arrested with counts of possession or were caught dealing will reserve their rights under Measure 3 to a speedy trial in order to pardon them out of the prison system.


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New York Could Legalize Marijuana Soon

By Nick Hamilton | United States

New York could become the tenth state to legalize marijuana, according to a local CBS affiliate in New York.

Andrew Cuomo, New York’s governor, has historically opposed legalization. However, with Massachusetts legalizing marijuana and New Jersey considering legalization, he’s reconsidering. State government is already investigating possible consequences of legalization in a study Cuomo proposed. The study is likely to conclude this fall.

Cuomo is reconsidering the notion because New York is losing tax revenue to neighboring states. As seen in Colorado, marijuana brings in revenue for both government and the private sector. Therefore, it would make sense for the third most populated state to consider legalization. This comes at a time when the state faces a massive budget gap. Legalization may help to close this gap via an increase in tax revenue.

Despite Cuomo’s newfound approval, legalization of marijuana does still face backlash in the state. Most notably, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio opposes the measure. However, his wife disagrees. In a statement on Friday, Chirlane McRay stated that she indeed supports legalization, saying that people shouldn’t be punished for using the controlled substance. NYPD Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce acknowledged that many people in New York hold that same position.

As many people know, there are many benefits to the legalization of marijuana. (which are listed here) If New York legalizes marijuana, this will be a huge victory for legalization advocates not only in New York, but across the country as well.

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The U.S. Legal Marijuana Economy Is Booming

United States

It’s 2018 and we’ve made a lot of civil rights progress, but weed still remains illegal in the majority of the US, not allowing you to do what you wish with your own body.

However, continued federal prohibition hasn’t stopped the marijuana industry from growing very profitable.

Despite what could be considered an unfriendly administration in Washington D.C., nine states and the District of Columbia now allow recreational marijuana use and 30 other states allow for medical use. And with more states lining up to join the legalization wave, pot has become big business in the U.S.

The newly emerging industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017, according to the managing director of BDS Analytics, which tracks the cannabis industry, Tom Adams. Sales are so high they have been equivalent to the entire snack bar industry, or to annual revenue from Pampers diapers.

Heck, that was even before California opened its massive retail market in January. The addition of the Golden State is huge for the industry and Adams estimates that national marijuana sales will rise to $11 billion in 2018, and to $21 billion in 2021.

In addition, the on rising industry has also been creating jobs and opportunities. There are 9,397 active licenses for marijuana businesses in the U.S., according to Ed Keating, chief data officer for Cannabiz Media, which tracks marijuana licenses. This includes cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, dispensaries, distributors, deliverers and test labs.

More than 100,000 people are working around the cannabis plant and that number’s going to grow, according to BDS Analytics. The industry employed 121,000 people in 2017. If marijuana continues its growth trajectory, the number of workers in that field could reach 292,000 by 2021, according to BDS Analytics.

Also, the economic benefits have helped states where marijuana has been legalized by funneling tax revenue from the sale of the drug to things like education and infrastructure.

BDS Analytics estimates that the industry owed $1 billion in state taxes in 2016, and owes another $1.4 billion for 2017.

“It’s a great thing because the money was already being spent [when it was illegal;] it’s just now being taxed,” said Tick Segerblom, a state senator from Nevada, which has reaped $25 million in tax revenue since recreational sales started in July. “And cops don’t have to waste their time arresting users.”

Marijuana isn’t just marijuana anymore. The products on offer at legal dispensaries range widely from the traditional flower to processed products like oil, hash, shatter and rosin, which can be smoked or vaped, and a wide variety of edibles including baked goods, candies, and gummies.

Its roots are spreading into the health and wellness industry, too.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a product in the form of oil or candy that’s used as a treatment for epilepsy or pain even though it faces a federal ban. The industry for CBD, derived from both hemp and marijuana, totaled $360 million last year, according to Sean Murphy, publisher of the Hemp Business Journal. He said it’s expected to grow to $1.1 billion by 2020 and $1.8 billion by 2020.