Eight Ways Legal Cannabis Will Change The World
Marijuana legalization is having profound beneficial effects in the cities in which it is available. We take a closer look at the areas of society that benefit the most.
Marijuana, the budding flower of the cannabis plant, has long held an unfortunate stigma. Once openly cultivated around the world, marijuana fell into its own dark ages, turning consumers and growers in criminals. All too often, marijuana found itself associated with dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. As the years passed, awareness of the medical benefits of marijuana has become more widespread sparking debate around the globe. The more we come to understand about the flowers of cannabis, the more that stigma falls away. The cannabis revolution is taking hold from The United States to the EU and bringing with it a number of benefits some may not have realized. We have outlined the top eight benefits society stands to gain from cannabis legalization.
Books could be written on the amount of information we now know about medical cannabis. Research suggests it could have implications in the treatment of cancer and chemotherapy, chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's and a host of other ailments that people are currently forced to turn to pharmaceuticals for relief. Marijuana has never resulted in death from use, unlike opioid-based medicine, which causes thosands of deaths each year. As more research scrambles to investigate therapeutic potential, the movement gains new ground every day.
Numerous studies have shown that cannabinoids actively kill cancer cells. THC, the primary compound in cannabis, interacts with the cancer cell at the CB1 cannabinoid receptor. Once THC interacts with the receptor on the surface of the cancer cell, the cell releases a compound called Ceramide which breaks down the mitochondria of the cell, causing it to basically shut itself down. This effect however only occurs in cancer cells as THC does not interact with healthy cells in the same manner.
In addition to cannabis, legalisation is seeing the resurgence of hemp – the industrial, fibrous, non-psychoactive member of the Cannabis sativa family. Cultivated for the strong fibre, hemp was one of the first crops grown during the agricultural revolution. It was used for centuries to manufacture rope, paper, and canvas. Hemp changed the world but since production mostly disappeared after marijuana prohibition we have all but forgotten how much of an integral part of our lives it once was. Looking forward, hemp can be used to make fuel, concrete, protein supplements, clothing as well as hundreds of more applications. It can also replace our dwindling rain forests as sources of textiles.
Hemp as a renewable resource costs less to grow than trees, can be replaced in a matter of months as opposed to years, and does not destroy fragile ecosystems in the process. The prohibition of hemp was driven by corporations who had a foothold in other industries like oil and paper. Hemp was a threat to these industries. The information age has brought an end to old myths about hemp and cannabis. As we look for greener solutions to our industrial needs, cannabis hemp reveals itself as one of the top solutions to the current environmental problems we face.
Legalization brings with it a need to ensure public safety, therefore, strict growing and production techniques must be implemented. This results in a better, safer product that removes any potential concerns. Government oversight guarantees that marijuana cultivated for public sale is free of toxic and potentially dangerous pesticides, and that it is grown in facilities that are as clean as can be. Regulation also brings with it product testing to determine exactly how potent your weed is.
Regulation also has the unusual side effect of decreasing use in under age consumers. Portugal decriminalised all drugs in 2001. Since their legalization, studies found that drug use, overdoses, and deaths all decreased at a steady rate. While cannabis isn't dangerous, the effects on developing minds is unknown hence the need to ensure marijuana is only consumed by those of age. Regulation has proven to be effective in curbing under age drug use and will do so with marijuana as well.
REDUCTION IN VIOLENT CRIME
Areas with legal cannabis have shown dramatic decreases in crime rates particularly violent crimes. Are people too high to fight? We have a feeling there is more to it than that. Some areas have shown dramatic decreases in reports of theft, DUI and violent crime by as much as 15%. While it is too soon to have enough definitive data, all indications show that areas with legal pot enjoy a higher quality of life with lower violence and crime rates. The studies are at least all in agreement, that there are no connections between legal pot and increases in crime.
Cannabis is the highest value cash crop on the planet. It is attracting the attention of investors eager to cash in. Along with investment comes jobs. The cannabis industry is bringing in money hand over fist. With such a large consumer base worldwide, investment in a cannabis grow is guaranteed to see big bucks come through the door. Along the way, cities in the United States that have legal marijuana have seen unemployment numbers drop to historic lows. The growth of the cannabis industry has also created many other new industries that look to cater to the green industry. During a gold rush is a great time to sell picks and shovels. A world of online, media, and horticultural services have sprung into existence since the first days of legal cannabis.
The legalization of cannabis has had a significant effect on illegal drug cartels as well. Instead of money being funnelled to illegal drug organizations, the same profit is making its way into the pockets of entrepreneurs and business owners, who in turn spend that money on employees, technology, and expansion. Shifting a product from the black market to an open market takes a huge chunk of what would otherwise be illegal money and turns it into legitimate taxable earnings that will help grow our economy. Another side effect of legalization is a reduction in prescription drug costs. As the pill industry sees more people turning to cannabis, they have had no choice but to drop prices.
ELIMINATING THE BLACK MARKET
Legal cannabis drives prices so low due to basic supply and demand principles that illicit drug dealers and large drug organizations simply can't compete. Not only can they not compete financially, they cannot compete in quality. Modern cannabis businesses are hiring master growers with advanced degrees in horticulture to run their facilities. The end result is not something that you can find in an ad-hoc grow op. The war on drugs created large cartels responsible for flooding the streets with narcotics. With legalization and regulation, the black market operators can no longer thrive. Some cartels have even been busted trying to get into the legal weed game.
Along with a booming economy comes an increase in tax revenues. Some places tax sales on marijuana as high as 40%. Legal cannabis has driven prices down. So low in fact that even after a 40% tax, legal cannabis is still cheaper than the black market. Any time the government can take a black market product and regulate it, not only do they reap the financial benefit, they make the overall experience safer. Tax revenues in places that large scale cannabis production is legal have seen new heights. Much of the new money coming in is spent on education, drug awareness, and prevention programs and medical programs for children.
Recent estimates show that European nations currently consume approximately ten billion Euros worth of cannabis each year with the heaviest concentrations being in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the UK. The difference in cannabis use between these nations and the rest of Europe is significant, in part because of cannabis' legal status. Opening up legalization would significantly increase tax revenues in these nations. In 2015, the state of Colorado in the US generated over 125 million dollars on 1 billion dollars in cannabis sales. The increase has been steady over the years, peaking in 2015. As cannabis becomes legal, increased tax revenues is a guarantee.
NEW GENETICS MEANS NEW POSSIBILITIES
As cannabis grows in acceptance, more and more people are researching the medical potentials and breeding new strains with specific properties to treat specific ailments. The properties of the cannabis plant are self-evident, however with new strains come new discoveries. Horticultural scientists and cannabis breeders are constantly crossing varieties to find the next big thing in weed for both recreation and medical use. Crossbreeding led to the creation of the strain Charlotte's Web, the highest CBD strain and currently the most effective in fighting seizures. The list of medical breakthroughs due to cannabis research is growing every day. Breeding cannabis to push the boundaries of medicine may be the single biggest benefit that we will see as legalization continues to spread.