The Legalization of Marijuana: The Benefits of Getting the Government Involved

 

Currently, the U.S. government has a debt of $20 trillion. Experts have been trying to find ways to counteract this growing amount of debt, but nothing has had a long lasting positive impact. However, according to a study done by New Frontier Data, published in the Washington Post, a single industry could produce more than $132 million in tax revenue annually, and create more than one million jobs. In addition, this industry could fund more government programs and reduce your college debt. And finally, this industry could reduce the opioid epidemic and has medical benefits. So, I bet you are wondering, what is this industry? It’s known by many names. Mary Jane, grass, pot, reefer and ganja are a few. As you may have guessed, I am talking about marijuana.

Throughout the majority of this article, I will go through the benefits of getting the government involved in the legalization of marijuana. This includes focusing on the taxation benefits of marijuana sales, and the restrictions the government can put in place to further decriminalize marijuana. I will also address some concerns society has about the legalization of marijuana including the hallucination effects and lower test scores. And lastly, how the legalization of marijuana can help you. My goal for you is to further consider the benefits legalizing marijuana, and understand the benefits it could have for you and the United States.

You may have never thought about the financial benefits marijuana legalization could have for our economy, but that’s okay because I will tell you about those rewards now. As I said before, New Frontier Data found that taxing legalized marijuana would generate $132 million a year, reducing our debt significantly. In addition, legalizing marijuana would also create more than a million jobs. This would boost our economy and help unemployed people find work.

Looking into the government's current involvement, according to Governing.com, currently there are 10 states, and the District of Columbia, that have legalized recreational and medical use of marijuana. In addition, 20 states including Minnesota, allow medicinal marijuana. According to The Tax Foundation, at the moment, Washington State has the highest retail tax of 37% of the retail price. This means that an additional 37% of the retail price is added to the total cost of the amount of marijuana you are buying. According to colorado.gov, marijuana sales since 2014 to now have brought in almost $1 billion in tax revenue. In a report from Colorado Public Radio, with these funds the town of Aurora built a homeless shelter. In addition, a portion of the money made from marijuana recreational sales tax goes to Colorado’s Department of Education public school fund. These are just a few of the many rewards from legalizing all forms of marijuana.

Now let's look at the restrictions the government has on recreational marijuana. In states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana, the legal age is 21, similar to alcohol. According to codot.gov, the government website for the state of Colorado, if you are caught driving with five nanograms of THC (the hallucination factor in marijuana), in your blood, you can be arrested for driving while impaired. The legal limit of marijuana differs by each state, with the majority of states having the limit set to 1 ounce.

Focusing on non-government issues, the hallucination effects of marijuana may have you worried by possible lower test scores or a fatal marijuana overdose. To address the lower GPA aspect of marijuana use, I analyzed an academic article done by Amelia Arria, a scholar from the University of Maryland. She found that using marijuana frequently had, unfortunately, led students to skip more classes than those that did not. However, she found that their academic ability was not impaired by marijuana use overall. So to summarize the surveys results, students that used marijuana were more likely to miss class, but it did not affect their intelligence. Therefore, if they kept up with classwork, their GPA was not negatively affected. Shedding light on the issue of marijuana overdose, in a statement from a Huffington Post article, currently, there have been no deaths directly related to marijuana overdose in the U.S. This is different than other substances such as opioids or alcohol, that have a much higher fatality rate.

While reading this article, you may have thought that I, myself, was or currently am, a “pothead,” but I have never actually smoked marijuana. In addition, I dislike the smell and am not interested in the “spaced out” effect it has on the mind and body.

Understanding the legalization of marijuana is easier when the source is unbiased such as myself. Rather than trying to persuade you to smoke pot, I chose this topic to convince you to consider the financial benefit marijuana legalization could have if it was regulated and taxed. To wrap things up, I simply ask you to do this: support the legalization of marijuana to lower our government's national debt. The legalization of marijuana could also impact you! CBS News reported that some tax revenue from the sales of marijuana provided a scholarship for a student struggling financially. The recipient of the scholarship, named Janet, is a freshman at Colorado State University. The article states that the money she received would have been used in the black market, but it is instead being used to fund a student’s college education. Now I'm not promising that legalizing weed will give everyone a scholarship, but I'm also not saying you won’t.