Imagine a world where cannabis is legal and the stigma surrounding it was non-existent. What would the world be like today if cannabis was never banned in the 1930s, would it be a household plant? It is hard to picture this but with the legalization of cannabis taking place in various countries and states, it is a wonder how the global economy will change with this shift in attitude.
For decades, stigma has been attached to cannabis but that is now changing as people are learning about the plants’ properties. Not only are they seeing potential medically but also industrially, as hemp is making a comeback too.
Research about how cannabis can help treat many different illnesses is becoming widespread and it is obvious how legalization of cannabis will impact the medical field. However, we should also be asking how it will impact the global economy?
Let’s take a look at,
- Who is embracing the cannabis industry?
- How will it change the economic landscape?
- What’s holding up the progress?
The Cannabis Train
In April, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill legalizing cannabis, making it the 24th state in the U.S. to board the Weed Train. Ohio became the 25th in June 2016. As of today, there are now 25 who are on board in the U.S., that’s almost half of the country.
There’s been more traction than ever to legalize marijuana. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) this year gave the go signal to begin trials for the therapeutic use of cannabis on veterans who suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
This is a huge step forward because the stance of the DEA last year was the complete opposite. The head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, even said that marijuana “...has never been shown to be safe or effective as a medicine.”
It’s not only the U.S. making big moves towards the legalization of the herb. The Australian Parliament had a vote this year which made medical cannabis legal for the entire country. Now they are creating a plan to implement the new laws and setting up an authority which will oversee the licensing of cannabis farms and the nationwide distribution of medical marijuana.
In Canada, the legalization of cannabis for medical purpose was implemented early on, the journey started in July 2001. They made it possible for Health Canada to allow patients with severe conditions access to Medical Cannabis as an act of compassionate care.
Access was issued by physicians who provided a confidential document between Health Canada, the prescribing physician, and the patient.
Fast-forward to 13 years later, on April 2014, the Medical Marijuana Access Program changed its name to Marijuana for Medical Purpose Regulation by Health Canada. It would allow the production and distribution of Medical Cannabis to licensed producers or dispensaries.
More than that, people in Canada will also be allowed to grow their own medical marijuana with permission.
Although there’s still a way to go in terms of legalizing it worldwide (keep in mind some countries never followed suit with the war on weed), there has been a lot of progress.
Countries are starting to understand that the legalization of cannabis may give way to an entirely new Industry and in return boost the economy. It will introduce new jobs and services in line with the sale of weed, edibles, oils and paraphernalia. For example, Colorado’s marijuana-specific tax revenue reached $70 million, which is almost twice what they earned from alcohol tax revenue (Just imagine what it could do for the global economy if it was legal worldwide!).
Healthy Plant, Healthy Global Economy
So let’s take a look at the specifics on how the legalization of cannabis can impact the economy:
Money, Money, Money
According to Marijuana Business Daily, they predict the cannabis industry will add $44 billion to the U.S. economy by 2020.
Earnings of legal cannabis businesses are at $14 to $17 billion in 2016 and are expected to rise in the next four years. That’s a huge jump.
New Products & Services
And it won’t be just because of the production and distribution of marijuana that will be responsible for the huge profit but the whole industry itself. This includes advertising, transport services, making edibles, making pipes, packaging, websites, lotions, creams, oils, the list is endless!
Less Spent on Jail Fees
Furthermore, if it was made legal that would mean fewer people in jail for marijuana-related offences… which means fewer fees for incarcerations.
Did you know, 40% of all drug-related arrests in 2014 were for marijuana possession and not production or sale? If you took that 40% out of jail, the justice system would have huge savings!
With less focus on cannabis users, the justice system will have more time and resources to focus on the bigger problems and crimes being committed.
The biggest thing the new Cannabis industry will provide will be JOBS. By providing more jobs for the economy it means a lower unemployment rate and more people paying taxes. Many new jobs can be created from farming, production to the services and retail sectors.
Sounds Good, What’s Holding it Up?
From this brief overview, one can conclude that not only does cannabis legalization mean new treatment for diseases but also a possible better future for the global economy.
As mentioned at the start, there is still a huge stigma surrounding cannabis and it is only going to improve and be removed with the education of the masses.
To help the world change, and for us to get access to the plant legally, we have to ensure that the correct information is made accessible to everyone. If we all understood how cannabis could change our lives medically and economically we may speed up the cannabis legalization process.
So spread some love and pass it to the left.