UVSS HEMPOLOGY 101 CLUB
LESSON #14 : ECONOMICS OF LEGALIZATION - Part 1
Benefits for legalizing cannabis go beyond the economic gains expected by taxes from new businesses and the savings incurred by withdrawing from the drug war. There are many extra costs from the war on drugs that cannot be calculated. Legalization is different than decriminalization, which is a term for loose enforcement with a system of fines. Decrim does not allow for the sale of cannabis and often decrimin proponents support stiffer penalties for growing and selling the herb. Different models of legalizing cannabis have been proposed, each with obvious strengths and weaknesses.
One model has strict corporate control over the production and distribution of cannabis, similar tobacco restrictions. Many see this system as an easy means of tax collection and quality control, while the business community sees massive profits in a new market. Another model proposes a system that encourages the development of small and mid-sized producers and distributors, similar to the way the wine industry works. This would allow the current growers to obtain licenses to sell cannabis at local retail facilities. By encouraging small producers for local markets, this model maximizes the economic benefits of legalizing cannabis.
Many individuals currently earning a living producing and distributing cannabis would greatly benefit if their livelihood were to become legal. These benefits would range from health care benefits to Workers Compensation to pensions. Insurance companies would provide services to producers who currently cannot hire licensed electricians or security companies to control potential problems like theft and fires. Other industries would benefit from legalization, as the entire economy would grow. The production and sale of cannabis products for people with medical issues should be separate from that grown for recreational use.
There are several different ways medical cannabis
products could be delivered. It would be possible for drug
companies and local compassion clubs to operate simultaneously, providing
a full range of choices to the ill. Many medical cannabis products
developed by drug companies will appear on the market under any system of
legalization. Prices for medical cannabis should be less than for
recreational users and many believe the best system would have casual
smokers subsidize medical use.
People have a right to grow their own and new businesses will form to curtail to their specific needs. It is difficult to calculate the savings that our government will see when resources are no longer wasted on prohibiting cannabis. The amount of money spent attempting to prosecute cannabis growers and consumers alone are substantial. Health care costs should not increase noticeably from legalizing cannabis and may actually decrease, especially if health problems, violence and accidents from legal drugs like alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs decrease.
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