What do Rick Steves, Bernie Sanders, the Dalai Lama, Jack Nicholson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and two-thirds of police officers have in common? They all support the legalization of weed. I’m not going to get into the moral implications of legal weed (religious texts are pretty mum about it) or whether it will destroy your mind (it doesn’t). Instead, today’s blog post will focus on why legalizing marijuana makes economic sense for the United States.
We’ll Collect Mad Tax Dollars
The majority of the articles written about the financial benefits of marijuana focus on the tax dollars it brings in. And, I think this bears repeating. Most Americans who oppose legalization are caught up in the 1980s “Just Say No” social reasoning. The Drug War grouped the demonstrably-relaxing marijuana in with brain-frying drugs, like meth, crack, heroin, and others. Yet, these same Americans also tend to want our government to be fiscally responsible.
What is the best way to become fiscally responsible? Collect more tax dollars. Of course, collecting tax dollars is another sore point. “We are already taxed enough!” But, if we associate the tax with a vice, such as marijuana, or to put it in more amicable terms for the anti-weed crowd, if we “punish marijuana users” with a tax, then we can easily balance the US budget. There is already clear evidence in Colorado that this is an effective strategy. And, we’ll have more evidence as recreational sales start in California on January 1st.
We Will Create Jobs
Pot doesn’t sell itself. Well, maybe it does a little bit, but you still need people to work in the shops, you need growers, you need security, and there are also many secondary industries that are supported by legal weed, such as glass blowers, rolling paper makers, Frito-Lay, and so on. Every politician talks about creating jobs. This is an easy way to do it. Plus, many of these newly employed individuals will come from the current black market. In other words, they will no longer be criminals. They’ll have gainful employment. This will put less stress on our welfare system.
Fewer Tax Dollars Will Go toward Arrests and Incarceration
In a given year, about 750,000 people in the US are arrested on marijuana charges. Arresting, convicting, and incarcerating these otherwise harmless individuals is expensive. Additionally, when you incarcerate people, some families will then lose their main breadwinner, companies will lose workers, and you have one less consumer out there. I know I don’t want my tax dollars paying to put someone caught with a doobie in jail. I’d rather have them go toward mental health services and education.
The evidence for all of these benefits is easy to find in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, and Alaska. It’s time for those people who truly believe that our government needs to be fiscally responsible to take a stand and demand the legalization of marijuana.
Author Bio: James Brains is the founder and owner of Brains Report , a humorous product review and responsible consumerism website. His work has appeared on hundreds of websites. James holds a master's degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon. When he is not writing, you can find him creating unique sushi rolls and playing roller derby. Not at the same time.