Marijuana legalization is a booming trend in the United States that does not show any signs of slowing down. As political support for legalization continues to grow, it seems as though many more states will begin the legalization process in the years to come. Beginning with California, which legalized medical marijuana way back in 1996, and followed by Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and a slew of other states in more recent years, the decriminalization and legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has had significant impacts of society at a local, state, and federal level.
Today, the glass experts at Fat Buddha Glass will explore the social impacts of legalization relating to crime and law enforcement, tax revenue, and job creation. Are you in the market for a new glass piece? Visit Fat Buddha Glass to shop our extensive assortment of glass bongs online.
The Social Effects of Marijuana Legalization
Crime and Law Enforcement
For decades, marijuana has been recognized by law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system as an illicit drug, and still is at a federal level. But in legal states like Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, more and more studies show that the legalization and decriminalization of recreational marijuana for adults is having a significant impact on reduced crime rates. What’s more, states like Colorado have even reported a 15% reduction in DUI cases since legalizing marijuana.
Reduced Possession Arrests
For instance, in Washington State alone, marijuana possession arrests and low-level court filings have seen a huge drop — as much as 89-96%, in fact. What’s more, the retail marijuana market is not the only thing having a positive effect on crime and punishment. Not only are adults in legal states able to purchase recreational weed, but they can also cultivate and distribute marijuana, as long as the amount grown falls within the local and state guidelines, and that individuals have obtained the proper distribution licenses to legally sell weed within the law. As such, all categories of law violations relating to marijuana in Washington have dropped and convictions are down by more than 80%.
Greater Focus on Illicit Drug Activity
With legalization, law enforcement and those within the legal system are placing a greater emphasis on pursuing cases against illicit drugs being cultivated, sold, and purchased, as well as illicit marijuana activity in legal states.
One of the most apparent effects of cannabis legalization is seen in booming tax revenue numbers. In 2018 alone, marijuana sales generated millions in tax revenue. As seen in a recent Forbes article, the numbers don’t lie. According to the article, state-by-state data in 2018 shows that Washington generated $319 million in tax revenue, closely followed by California with $300 million, and Colorado with $266.6 million.
States are redistributing the tax revenue to fund an array of public improvement projects, public education programs, open space projects, and parks and recreation. Additionally, marijuana tax money is helping enhance social development by funding programs meant to benefit and improve society as a whole, including stamping out homelessness and creating affordable housing. Some reports predict that if all states legalized today, legal weed would generate more than $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue by 2025.
If there is something we always need to improve in the U.S., it is jobs. State-by-state data shows that since legalizing and regulating marijuana, the marijuana industry alone has created millions of jobs, improving unemployment rates across the country. For instance, in 2015, the Colorado marijuana industry created more than 18,000 new jobs. Along with creating billions in tax revenue, if marijuana was made legal at a federal level, it could create close to 800,000 jobs immediately, and more than 1.1 million by 2025.
More Effects of Legal Weed on Society
While there will always be pushback to national legalization, the numbers suggest that cannabis legalization at a state level has had an overall positive impact. Here are a few more effects of legal weed on society:
- Growth in the small business sector.
- Potential for more investment opportunities.
- Growing political support for legalization.
- A positive shift in public attitudes toward marijuana.
- Increase in the agricultural sector in legal states.
- Lower law enforcement costs in legal states.
- Increase in consumption for recreational purposes (good for markets).
- Increase in consumption of marijuana-derived products for health and wellness (also good for market).
- Reduced homelessness as a result of job creation and funding projects from marijuana tax.
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It will be interesting to see how the social landscape continues to change as more and more states legalize medicinal and recreational marijuana. Based on the statistics we have just looked at, we can hope that the impact will continue to be a positive one at levels of society.If you are looking for ways to support the marijuana industry, head over to Fat Buddha Glass to shop the highest quality bongs, pipes, bubblers, and smoking accessories, always offered at the lowest prices and backed by friendly customer service. As always, happy smoking!