In part 3 of this post we are going to examine the impact of the cannabis industry specifically on the United States economy overall. It is from the economic perspective that cannabis truly reveals itself as, not only “not evil”, but an enormous force for good in modern America. We’ll focus here on the economic impact on Colorado here, as it is the oldest and best established model we have for legal recreational cannabis in America.
Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead
If we want to accurately assess the impact of cannabis on the Colorado economy we must examine both the direct, and indirect effects of legal cannabis on our economy. According to a comprehensive look at the Colorado economy published in Oct of 2016 by the Marijuana Policy Group the following observations were made:
The direct amount of revenue generated by legal cannabis in Colorado in 2015 fell just short of 1 Billion Dollars at $996 Million
This resulted in almost $2.4 Billion in increased economic activity (indirect effect)
Colorado collected over $121 Million in new tax revenue
It created 18,005 new jobs in the state in 2015
According to the report, roughly every dollar spent in the cannabis industry generated $2.40 in economic activity. That fact deserves some looking at, because it is quite significant. This figure measures the impact, on a dollar basis, of an industry to help generate activity within the Colorado economy. The higher the figure, the better it is.
According to the MPG report: “State-level control of cannabis creates a highly-localized industry. Almost all spending on marijuana flows to workers and businesses within the state. As a result, the marijuana industry generates more local output and employment per dollar spent than almost any other Colorado sector. Only government program spending generates more employment and output per dollar spent.”
All of this data paints a very clear picture. Legal cannabis is the single strongest factor contributing to a recent boom in the Colorado economy and it is producing hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes for the state every year. The economic impact of cannabis is overwhelmingly positive and the Colorado experiment has proven to be a great success economically.
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope… and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
– Robert F. Kennedy
Over the past 3 posts we have examined cannabis in modern America from a moral, social and economic perspective so we can answer one question, “Is cannabis really evil?”.
From a moral perspective the evidence shows us cannabis is simply a plant. Cannabis, like many other things, can cause psychological dependence in some people. There is no point in soft-peddling this issue, it exists. Just like it exists with cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs of all kinds, over the counter medications like laxatives and even food. The problem is simply not with the substance, it is with the addictive nature of the person. You can’t classify cannabis as evil unless you are prepared to declare everything above evil as well. In fact, out of the substances listed above, cannabis is by far the least toxic and does not cause physical dependence like cigarettes, alcohol and many prescription drugs do.
We also looked at the impact on society and the economy. We found no compelling evidence that could lead to a rational conclusion where cannabis could be “evil”. At worse, it is just a plant with no real moral implications and much controversy and prejudice surrounding it. At best, it is an almost unequalled economic stimulator, particularly to local economies. For many, it provides relief from a range of symptoms including inflammation, pain, glaucoma and wasting syndrome. It is also showing great promise in the battle against cancer. Cannabis is also a great eco-friendly, rapidly renewable natural resource. It provides fiber, fuel and nutritious seeds along with a commodity product that generates hundreds of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue. Cannabis creates tens of thousands of jobs. It is producing a new generation of medicine that provides significant relief without being toxic or interacting with other medications in the system.
So, how could anything which is doing so much good, be evil in any way? The plain and simple truth is – it can’t. Your view of cannabis may or may not be a positive one, but we hope you will review the evidence now available and stand in agreement with us on a singular point – That cannabis is not evil, plain and simple.