state Economies Grow with Legal Pot
In the United States, we are dealing with unusual circumstances. While we’re still recovering from COVID-19’s health crisis and its financial ramifications, along with the Ukraine crisis and an ever-looming political turmoil, another issue is brewing underneath. The legalization of cannabis has been tabled many times, however, it is always “returned to the kitchen”, so to speak, for further refining.
Industry insiders have reason to believe that decriminalizing cannabis will continue to be an incredibly profitable venture for state and federal governments, if done properly. Of the many reasons legislation has been slowed at the federal level, the lucrative nature and controversial history of criminalizing the cannabis plant has been well-documented by U.S. courts.
These systems use the term “prison-industrial complex” to refer strictly to private prisons in the United States, an industry that generates approximately $4 billion in profit a year. Recreational and medical cannabis industries blew the annual prison complex industry profit margin out of the water in a landslide, however. In 2017, medicinal marijuana in the United States garnered $5.1 billion in revenue. States earned over $3.7 Billion in tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales in 2021.
A lot of things can factor into why these current models are so successful, and and efficient in giving their customers what they desire. Of note, cannabis industry consumers span across every single demographic possible, proving the old adage of the “classic stoner” stereotype to be wholeheartedly untrue. There are four primary population groups in the United States; here is the projected number of Americans belonging to each age category according to 2019 data:
- Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) 73 million
- Generation X (born 1965-1980) 65.2 million
- Generation Y or Millennials (born 1981-1996) 72.1 million
- Generation Z or Centennials(born 1997-2012) 68 million
Are you shocked to discover that each generation in the United States has an almost identical demographic make-up? Many individuals believe that there are more Baby Boomers, even though this is not the case. People are also having less and less children, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which monitors birthrate. In 2020, the U.S. birthrate fell by 4%. When demographers look for trends in declining birth rates, they’re mainly interested in determining why people are having fewer children.
Overall, the growth of the global population has significantly decreased. Fertility rates have dropped by 50% over the last five decades, from five children per woman in 1968 to just 2.5 in 2017. Since the Great Depression, however, the United States hasn’t seen such a sluggish population rise, according to the US Census Bureau.
Surprisingly, some of the states in the U.S. have experienced population growth in recent years. As you may already have guessed, they are the states that have legalized adult use. Adults over the age of 21 years can lawfully possess, purchase, and consume cannabis in these jurisdictions.
The states witnessing the most migration from other states are those that have legalized adult use. Marijuana legalization has several social and economic benefits that can help to fuel population growth.
Cannabis-restrictive programs and laws may lead to a loss of residents in those states
The first thing to consider is whether you live in a state that has legalized marijuana. If you have one or more chronic health problems, you may wish to use medical cannabis. Certain symptoms might be resistant to pharmaceuticals. Sometimes, the medicines used to treat long-term illnesses can have unpleasant side effects.
Many people are aware that marijuana helps to manage their symptoms. However, there may be individuals who live in a state where medical cannabis is legal but tightly controlled. For example, chronic pain might not qualify as a qualifying health issue for legal pot in some situations. In other states, chronic pain does qualify but medical records are required in order to be approved by a certified physician. On average, there are usually 20-30 qualifying medical conditions for patients to consider when applying for medical cannabis programs. Sometimes, a qualifying condition like chronic pain is assumed in other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, or migraines.
Some states have a highly accessible and liberal medical marijuana program, while others only have a restricted one. Some clues that your state’s medical program is restricted would be if they only have low-THC strains available, if they only allow you to buy in 3.5 increments at a time, or if you are only restricted to certain dosages and methods of ingestion when purchasing at a licensed pharmacy. Many states that authorized medicinal cannabis allowed for retail dispensaries. Patients who have a medical card can go to a dispensary and purchase varying strengths of cannabis products. The dispensary is run by doctors and trained staff, and they will prove to be an indispensable resource of information for patients.
However, in certain states, there are no retail dispensaries. There are no extensive product categories accessible to patients, or they are not allowed to show you the product before selling it to you (as it must remain packaged at all times until final sale). Patients in Texas do not have a medical cannabis card. However, they may be given cannabis with a maximum potency of 1% in the form of tinctures (drops) or capsules. At this time, petitioning their Compassionate Use Program is currently the only viable option to be allowed access to this medicine.
Outbound moves are high in these states
The state of Texas is feeling optimistic about its economic and social prospects, with many people moving there. However, the 2021 Texas Relocation Report found that while up to 582,000 people relocated to Texas (mostly from California), another 471,000 citizens departed. The report was made available to the public and details this state-swap. California ranked first in the United States for the number of residents moving out of state in 2019, with Texas coming in second.
Only 100,000 people moved to Texas in the last year, resulting in a net decrease. This may be because the state’s legal marijuana (compared to other states) isn’t adequate for patients’ requirements. According to statistics from the Texas Realtors, Texans are leaving the state in droves. Texans mostly fled to Colorado, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, Georgia, and Washington. The states listed, except for Georgia, have either positive or changeable marijuana regulations.
In 2020, the top ten states for residents leaving (outbound migration) were:
- Iowa (56.1 %)
- California (57.1 %)
- Indiana (57.8 %)
- Minnesota (57.9 %)
- Nebraska (58.3 %)
- West Virginia (59.8 %)
- Louisiana (60.1 %)
- New Jersey (60.6 %)
- Illinois (62.5 %)
- New York (66.4 %)
The COVID-19 epidemic is severing a lot of averages in both economic and sociological trends. The way we see the world has changed is palpable on a global scale, as well as a significant shift in the labor market. Any professional with a job that can be done remotely work from home now, and employers are being asked to pay more in the event commuting is part of the deal.
Another consideration is that work-from-home arrangements allow Americans to live where they choose. They can relocate from costly urban areas and cities (and states) with lower taxes and overall cost of living to less expensive rural regions. Sustainable medical or adult-use cannabis laws create profits for several other paralleled industries as well.
Patients may move to states with better medical marijuana policies
As of May 2021, states that have legalized adult-use (recreational) marijuana have seen the greatest population growth. States that have legalized weed are seeing a rise in newborns. According to a 2019 University of Connecticut research, quite a few more.
We may infer that those who have legal access to marijuana are more at ease. More amorous? Are you feeling more in-tune with your surroundings, more able to deal with undesirable symptoms? This makes sense, given that there has been a huge increase in newborns. Joyful people have more children. And, as previously stated, legalized cannabis causes people to be ecstatic.
There are many considerations to make in the event you reside in a state without legal cannabis. There could be a reason why states that have decriminalized marijuana are seeing an increase in residents. Who wants to live in a state where smoking a joint or stuffing a bowl may land you behind bars? Not many individuals, to be sure. When considering some of the monetary advantages of implementing tolerant marijuana laws, these factors should be reconsidered.
Growing Employment for States with a Marijuana Industry
When recreational (adult-use) and medical cannabis are legalized in a state, it implies new employment opportunities. The cannabis industry provides a unique wealth of potential in this regard due to the fact that entry level positions often do not require a college degree or any previous work-related experience. A rise in new job openings is usually what is required to stimulate the economy and show a rising trend of employees reentering the workforce after the pandemic. It also helps other industries, such as housing, retail, real estate, and more.
Legalizing cannabis will provide a significant economic boost for small businesses and large corporations alike. Leafly released its fifth annual “Cannabis Industry Jobs Report” in February 2021. The study in collaboration with Whitney Economics revealed that legalized cannabis had created 321,000 full-time positions in 37 states and 77,300 new employment opportunities were created in 2020.
Leafly compared the new job creation in the cannabis industry to that of other major industries. The information reveals that cannabis employment growth throughout the United States outpaced those in other key sectors, including dentists, paramedics and EMTs, electrical engineers, aircraft pilots, and engineers.
Legalized cannabis states maintain the same crime rates
Population growth and job creation are only a small example of the many benefits cannabis has to offer. The benefits of legal marijuana appear to outweigh any drawbacks, although quite a few states are still hesitant to make the push from a legal perspective. Even still, some of these same states are offering expungement for drug offenses related to marijuana use, providing people with a criminal record the opportunity to move on with their lives. Others are completely decriminalizing the plant, offering nothing more than a fine or citation when a person smokes in a public setting or is pulled over with cannabis in their vehicle.
When you consider that promoting amenable medical and adult-use cannabis laws leads to a drop in organized drug crime and a substantial economic upswing, the side effects of legal pot may very well outweigh the disadvantages. The fall of crime rates in states like Maine and Nevada after the implementation of marijuana laws is evident in “The Effect of State Marijuana Legalizations: 2021 Update.” According to state statistics, crime rates did not increase or decrease significantly following legalization in Nevada and Main.
The national crime rate has remained unchanged, debunking one of the most popular arguments against decriminalization and legalization. In states with recreational legalization and medical cannabis programs, violent crime rates have slightly reduced, giving analysts the impression that cannabis may keep crimes such as domestic violence and armed robbery at bay.
While it will likely remain up to states to decide how to handle the change in policy, legalization on a federal level would be a positive stride in the right direction for cannabis users who have previously been tarnished by the use of this plant. If you currently have a criminal record because of previous cannabis use, we strongly suggest you consider researching possible resources in your area for low-cost expungement services or legal advice regarding these charges. You may be surprised to find that new information and opportunities are now available in the state you received the charge.
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