Why Marijuana Legalization is a Boon to the US Economy
As more and more states legalize marijuana, many US citizens are beginning to notice the enormous economic benefits of pro-cannabis policy; not only are companies in the legal marijuana business providing jobs and tax revenue to states across the nation, but a decrease in prosecution and incarceration rates of casual marijuana users is also freeing up tax dollars that can be put towards much needed social services.
Here are just three ways that marijuana legalization is creating a boom time for the US economy, and why marijuana legalization will likely benefit the country's economy for years to come.
1. Lower Incarceration Rates
Since the US Federal Government under the auspices of then-President Richard Nixon implemented the so-called War on Drugs in 1971, incarceration rates for casual users of marijuana have skyrocketed, with per capita rates of incarceration for American citizens more than quadrupling between 1971 and 2008. Across the country, the cost of incarcerating marijuana users under draconian anti-drug laws has been truly enormous, with some estimates placing the bill at billions of dollars per year, taking funds from important pro-social programs that could help citizens in big ways.
2. Tax Revenue
As though savings on trial and incarceration costs were not enough of a benefit, tax revenues resulting from marijuana legalization will also swell as more and more states decide to decriminalize cannabis use. An estimated 55 million adults already regularly use marijuana in the US, meaning that states can tap into a pre-existing market that doesn't mind paying extra to support the legal side of the industry. Indeed, states that have legalized marijuana are already seeing huge financial benefits; a single county in Colorado alone has seen a net benefit of more than $35,000,000 in tax revenue, for example.
3. Employment Benefits
In addition to providing enormous budget surpluses to states in the form of extra tax revenue, legal marijuana is also providing employment through an increase in farm and dispensary job positions. Within the next several years, for example, the marijuana industry is projected to create 1.1 million jobs within the United States in addition to a surplus of $52 billion in tax revenue. Increased employment rates will also add to tax revenue, and the perennial popularity of marijuana should mean that states will see benefits to their budgets even in sluggish economies.
With such economic benefits as increased state employment rates, lower criminal justice costs, and increased tax revenue, marijuana legalization appears to be one of the biggest boons to the US economy in generations. With countries such as Canada now legalizing cannabis use for all citizens, it looks to be only a matter of time before the US legalizes marijuana at the federal level, meaning that the country could start to see exponential financial benefits from cannabis decriminalization. For many citizens who are seeing such benefits first-hand, the legalization of marijuana could spell nothing short of an economic miracle, and one that will undoubtedly change the lives of US citizens for the better.