Blog Post #8: Marijuana should be Legal

The fight to legalize recreational marijuana has been quite successful recently. In 2012 Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize weed and two years later in 2014 Alaska and Oregon joined them. The push for legalization remained quiet until the 2016 elections five total states had ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana. Now, in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada, it is legal for those 21 and older to use marijuana. Arizona was the only state that didn’t pass their initiative. With this great increase in approval, more and more lawmakers are considering the option to add recreational use on their future ballots. Those who believe marijuana should be legal throughout the country feel that there are many impacts of the drug that will be at a greater benefit such as a increase of economic benefits and a decrease in crime.

Evidently, the marijuana sales in Colorado and Washington had continued to show positive trends in economy due to legalization in 2012. Marijuana sales in Colorado has reportedly been a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the other industries. In a recent report, Colorado alone brought in $200 million in tax revenue last year and Washington brought in even more with $256 million. Our very own California, a state almost twice as big as Colorado, is estimated to bring in $1 billion a year in revenue. In addition, for the states that just recently legalized pot, the first step would be setting up dispensaries which is a clear means for creating jobs and business opportunities. Colorado was able to create up to 18,000 jobs with the legalization.

As most of us know, mass incarceration has been a huge issue in this country. The United States has locked up more people than any country. Half a million more than China and their population is 5 times greater. In 1972 our country’s prison population was 300,00 and today it has hit a total of 2.3 million. The Prison Industrial Complex is a scheme where private owned prisons rent out their prisoners to big companies to rack in billions. The majority that are imprisoned by these private jails are those with nonviolent drug related crimes. This unjust system basically is a loophole to the 13th amendment and enslaves humans who don’t deserve it. People in support of legalizing marijuana believe that crime rate will go down and the Prison Industrial Complex will abolish. In Colorado, marijuana rests drop by 46% when voters approved legalization. Laws with fewer criminalization leads to fewer criminals which robs the Prison Industrial Complex of their workforce.