Legalized Cannabis Provides Big Money, Big Relief to the United States
Why the Legalization of Marijuana is a Good Thing
Photo Used With Permission
If you are a high-risk-high-reward type individual, you might want to look at the current black market for the cannabis industry. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, and all the profits go to the black market when cannabis is illegal. Black market entrepreneurs don’t all pay taxes, they can’t legally employ people, and they’re absorbing the billions of dollars of revenue that the United States government is losing. If this continues, the black market will continue to thrive and expand while the U.S. adds to its deficit.
Now that we’ve quickly assessed that prohibition is full of doom and gloom, let’s look at a few of the cheerier prospects of legalizing cannabis.
The (Not) Scary Current Trends in the United States’ Job Economy
Just kidding. Want to hear something even scarier? A robot is coming for your job. Well, probably not yours, but someone’s–a very many someone’s. A recent report done by PwC estimates that by the mid-2030’s, 38% of the American job market could be lost to automation. The industries that are going to be hit the hardest are going to be financial services, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and the wholesale and retail sector. These are the jobs that require computation and repetitive motion. Unfortunately, those jobs make up over a third of the United States’ job market. Looking ahead, what can those people do who would otherwise be working in those markets? How can we keep the economy running when so many people are out of work?
One job sector that is ramping up and could pick up some of the slack is the cannabis market. It is already adding jobs to the states that have legalized it, not to mention the juicy revenue states like Colorado are posting year-after-year. The Federal Government–if they legalized cannabis–could spread those jobs around the nation. In fact, a breakdown of projected cannabis job growth released by New Frontier Data estimates that by 2025, the cannabis market–if legalized–would produce over one million new jobs. Most of those jobs would reside in the administration, retail operation, manufacturing, and labor divisions; those jobs are a perfect fit for people whose jobs will evaporate in other industries. That would obviously be a godsend for those people, but looking at the bigger picture, it’s clear the United States would reap great rewards.
The U.S. Government’s Financial Benefit of Legalizing Cannabis
According to Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the CEO of New Frontier Data, projections of “$106 billion in tax revenue over an eight-year period in the U.S.” are not abnormal. Part of that revenue–per the report, Cannabis in the U.S. Economy: Jobs, Growth, and Tax Revenue, 2018 Edition by New Frontier Data–is created from the one million jobs that the new market will produce. More jobs mean more payroll deductions for the United States government.
Now, there is no federal sales tax in the cannabis market. Adding in the new business taxes and a hypothetical 15% retail sales tax at the national level, the potential revenue from the market versus what it is today is a difference of over $61 billion. While all this new money and opportunity for work would be a boon to the United States’ economy and job market, there are more, less-obvious economic benefits to cannabis legalization.
Stealing from the Criminals to Give the Citizens
For every billion dollars that moves into the legalized cannabis market, that’s a billion dollars that moves out of the black market. If the United States’ Treasury Secretary were to bring in $106 billion over the next eight years, they would be able to pay for the entire Treasury Department’s budget each year and still save a couple billion annually. That’s a lot of money, but it shouldn’t go that far. That money is funds that could be used to build better bridges, fix our roads, pay for higher education, or rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric grid. What better way to handle the money taken from criminals but to put it into the well-being of the people?
How else do people benefit from cannabis legalization?
Legalized Cannabis Frees Up Law Enforcement Resources
Firstly, there are thousands of people currently locked up for nonviolent drug offenses. This is an atrocity. Families have been ripped apart by the penitentiary system because someone decided to smoke a plant. Legalizing cannabis would not only stop this practice, but it would also bring about progressive action and release the nonviolent drug offenders back to their families.
Secondly, with fewer inmates, correctional institutes can free up their resources by limiting their spending. Furthermore, police officers would no longer need to waste their time processing nonviolent cannabis users. Their efforts could be driven towards more serious matters instead of tainting their image in the public’s eye by persecuting the harmless consumption of cannabis.
Lastly, this new allocation of resources, combined with the revenue projections, would be a double-shot against real crime. The black market would lose out on revenue while facing higher scrutiny from more focused law-enforcement.
$106 billion. That’s what United States government is leaving on the table if they don’t legalize cannabis right away. That’s $106 billion in the hands of the black market. That’s time lost by our police officers, money wasted by correctional institutes, and money lost that could be pumped into education, social programs, and infrastructure to improve all our lives. So, the next time you hear a politician say there isn’t any money to do these things (or whatever else you’d like to see done), you can ask them: what about the $100 billion that could be generated by legalizing cannabis? What about the resources we could save by removing the criminalization of a flower?
Cannabis is a plant that we all benefit greatly from–it’s time to take action against its demonization.