To put things in blunt perspective, the U.S. national debt
sits well over $18 trillion dollars and counting. Although Federal marijuana legalization may not be the ultimate savior for this increasing economic disaster, to say that it wouldn't assist in decreasing this number substantially if taxable revenues and other expenditures were properly distributed, and spent resourcefully
, falls just short of asinine.
Legalizing marijuana "would generate revenue where we now hemorrhage out billions and billions of dollars", argued Allen St. Pierre, executive director at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), in a recent interview conducted by 24/7 Wall St.
Drawing similar parallels to Israel's medical marijuana program
, which recently announced it would be allowing marijuana in pharmacies, St. Pierre argues that current laws regarding prohibition are not reasonable.
"If alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and pharmaceutical products can be legally sold to adults in this country, it's hard to understand the constitutional economic or for that matter moral arguments put forward on why marijuana can't be within that same ambit of choices for adults."
Despite marijuana being the fastest growing industry in the U.S., and majority support of the plant
being at it’s all time high, only 4 states not including the District of Columbia, have outright legalized.
With economic success stories such as Colorado and Washington seeing estimated sales and estimated tax revenues being shattered, it’s hard to fathom why other states aren’t jumping on the bandwagon of perceived economic prosperity.
Colorado and Washington Marijuana Sales in 2014
In its first full year of recreational marijuana legalization, Colorado sales from both recreational and medical marijuana totaled $700 million, with taxable revenues being so high that the state actually considered giving some of it back to its citizens.
“It’s not that the pot tax came in too high,” said (D) State Senator Pat Steadman to the New York Times. “It’s that every other revenue came in high.”
Washington on the other hand, took in a cool $250 million since legalizing at the beginning of 2014, along with taxable revenues totaling $62 million, nearly doubling their projected forecast of excise taxes and other expenditures that can now be used towards state infrastructure, schools, and other public services.
The Next States To Legalize Weed
To determine the next states to legalize weed, the 24/7 Wall St
. blog reviewed data taken from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), marijuana arrest records taken from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, and annualized data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration. From this data, 11 states were chosen as the next states to legalize weed: 1.
New York, 5.
Rhode Island, 10.
Based on this criteria, it should be safe to say that California holds a commanding lead as the next state to legalize, with the state already having the most medical marijuana patients out of all the legalized states combined, due mostly to it's substantial population. With medical marijuana being legal since 1996, the Golden State has had countless attempts at trying to legalize recreational marijuana, all of which have fallen on deaf ears.
Unlike states that have extremely strict laws pertaining to medical marijuana recommendations, such as New York, where cannabis can only be prescribed in the form of an edible or marijuana vaporizer
and treatment can only be given under certain medical conditions for chronic pain, in comparison, California gives recommendations for conditions as minor as a headache or insomnia, already making it a laughable matter at most.
The Main Factors To Consider
In all states considered next for legalization, possession of marijuana is decriminalized and medical marijuana is legal. Regardless of the next states to legalize weed, marijuana advocates emphasize that the true power of the marijuana movement lies in the people. In order for marijuana to make the legal progress that it's destined for, public action translated into actual votes at election time are what's necessary. Without it, recreational marijuana legalization is just an imagined utopia, patiently waiting in the back of people's minds, until the mainstream dictates it's past due acceptance.