Legal Cannabis Makes U.S. Cities Healthier

Legal Cannabis Makes U.S. Cities Healthier
Legal Cannabis Makes U.S. Cities Healthier
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We already know that (legal) cannabis helps to make people healthier.

Used medicinally, cannabis is now being prescribed by physicians as a therapy for thousands of different medical conditions. In particular, cannabis has been shown to be especially effective as a medication for chronic pain and various neurological disorders.

As a general health supplement, cannabis helps people sleep. It tends to stimulate appetite, but also promotes weight loss (through boosting the metabolism). Elite athletes are finding that cannabis use assists them in their training and speeds up their post-workout recovery.

Nutritionally, the hemp sub-species is loaded with nutrients. Hemp seeds contain more protein that red meat. They also supply essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6), as well as vitamins, minerals and fiber.

As a recreational drug, cannabis is non-toxic and non-addictive. This makes it infinitely safer than either toxic/addictive alcohol or more-toxic/more-addictive nicotine. Using cannabis instead of dangerous drugs like alcohol and tobacco does more than greatly improve the health of the consumer. It also dramatically reduces the enormous health costs associated with treating alcohol- and tobacco-related illnesses.

Tobacco use is the #1 cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Alcohol use is the #3 leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. Cannabis has never killed anyone.

This leads to how legalizing cannabis makes U.S. states healthier. As just noted, legalizing cannabis can significantly reduce health expenditures by state governments on alcohol and tobacco diseases. But there are many directly positive impacts from cannabis legalization.

Colorado is (by far) the most successful U.S. state in legalizing cannabis. Legal cannabis has contributed over $1 billion in state taxes and fees. The cannabis industry is also now the fastest-growing job creator in the United States.

Contrary to the laughable fiction from government and the mainstream media, employment levels in the United States are at a 40-year low.

With only 63% of Americans currently employed and 50 million Americans permanently unemployed, the cannabis industry is putting some of these people to work.

The cannabis industry creates jobs. The cannabis industry generates robust taxes. That’s more than what most of Corporate America can claim.

Healthier people. Healthier states.

However, as anti-cannabis dinosaurs continue to lose credibility (and die off), they have found one area where they can still successfully play the role of cannabis Obstructionists. They are still managing to turn uneducated county and city governments against legalized cannabis.

Here California is the Poster Child for local government run amok.

Voters legalized cannabis in California. First medicinally, and then full cannabis legalization starting in 2018. But California’s state government (irresponsibly) made cannabis legalization merely permissive. Local governments can choose to opt in or opt out of legalization.

The result?

More than half of California’s counties still have full Prohibition in place. Only a little over 10% of California counties allow full cannabis commerce.

The consequence?

California’s partial legalization of cannabis has allowed the cannabis black market to continue to dominate. In an act of complete idiocy, California has launched a futile (and very expensive) War on Drugs on its cannabis black market.

As Colorado has already shown, California could accomplish far more in stamping out the black market – without spending a penny. All it needs to do is force local governments to open up legal cannabis, by mandating the legality of this industry state-wide, along with implementing moderate taxation.

Are there any reasons for California's state government not to compel its local governments to honor the will of California voters? No.

This leads us to the myths that anti-cannabis Obstructionists are peddling to cause U.S. cities and counties to continue to oppose cannabis legalization. In an in-depth and well-researched article, Leafly both presents and debunks the Three Big Myths.
  1. Legalizing cannabis causes crime rates to increase.
  2. Legalizing cannabis increases underage usage of cannabis
  3. Legalizing cannabis (and opening cannabis stores) causes property values to decline.

Here is what Leafly found in its research:
  • Legalizing cannabis causes crime rates to decrease.
  • Legalizing cannabis causes teenage usage of cannabis to decrease (something already reported at The Seed Investor).
  • Legalizing cannabis has no negative effect on property value and may actually result in modest increases.

These findings should surprise no informed reader.

Obviously, legalizing cannabis will decrease crime. The #1 reason for legalizing cannabis is to eliminate the black market (i.e. crime). The War on Drugs has generally been a complete failure because drug Prohibition (always) increases crime – in numerous ways.

As legalized cannabis squeezes out the black market, underage users have less access to cannabis. Teenage usage declines.

The impact of legalized cannabis on property values is less obvious. Leafly offers suggestions on how/why cannabis legalization can positively impact property values.
  • Employment benefits: as a robust job-creator, legalized cannabis raises income levels and rising income levels are associated with higher property prices.
  • As “attractive amenities”. Black market/gray market cannabis stores are typically located in dilapidated buildings that are often public eyesores. Conversely, legal cannabis stores are frequently created as “elegantly designed boutiques”.

Also, as legal cannabis helps to reduce crime, that indirectly boosts real estate prices, since lower crime rates raise property values.

Healthier people. Healthier states. Healthier cities. Legalizing cannabis offers nothing but positive dynamics.

For cannabis investors, the message here is potential.

Cannabis has now been legalized for medicinal use in 33 states (66% of U.S. states). It has been fully legalized in 11 states (22%). Yet the cannabis black market still generates nearly 90% of revenues from cannabis.

As The Seed Investor recently noted, cannabis could already be a $108 billion industry in the United States today – if it was fully legal nationally and well-regulated (like Colorado).

Ten times as many cannabis-related jobs. Ten times the cannabis revenues. Ten times as much tax revenues for cash-hungry U.S. states. Ten times the shareholder profits for cannabis companies. Lower crime. Less health problems.

As U.S. cities and states save enormous dollars on both law enforcement and healthcare from legalized cannabis, those extra revenues can be targeted at deficit-reduction or additional public services.

Legal cannabis is improving the personal health of consumers. The cannabis industry is showing that it can play a similarly positive role in improving the economic health of U.S. cities and states.

Cannabis Focus, Cannabis Industry
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