Marijuana was once an illegal drug costing cities millions of dollars to police and control. Now helping those same cities revitalizing struggling economies.
Across the United States of America, several states have legalized the use, possession, and sale of marijuana. Despite the positive impact of marijuana legalization, there are still several cities which aren’t as eager as the rest to dip their toes into the marijuana pool. In eight of the states which have voted to legalize marijuana, some local cities have still chosen to keep their towns free of marijuana.
Despite the hundreds of success stories surrounding the legalization of marijuana, many small towns have fears that legalized marijuana will lead to an increase in crime and threaten their way of life. According to a new marijuana report published by Colorado State University, this attitude towards marijuana legalization could be very misguided. The main findings of the report found that the complete opposite was, in fact, true, with local economies thriving surrounding the legalization of marijuana. This growth in local economies feeds itself with the creation of new jobs and increased security without having to draw on local infrastructure to enforce public safety.
In the beginning, when Colorado first moved towards the legalization of marijuana, there were definitely those among the state that had concerns. Despite the fact that the majority of voters were in favor of the legalization of marijuana, there was still a large portion that assumed that legalizing weed would be the beginning of the end for life as they knew it.
For one small city legal cannabis has been an entirely positive experience. Pueblo, with a population of over 100,000, had struggled for decades after the economic collapse of the steel industry. Before the legalization of marijuana in 2014, Pueblo’s biggest employers were the hospitals and prisons. With an unemployment rate higher than any other city in the state, Pueblo had reached rock bottom.
Luckily for Pueblo, there was new hope on the horizon, marijuana. The study, which was a collaborative effort between the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has shown that legalized marijuana boosted the economy by around $58M in 2016. They didn’t achieve this massive increase in revenue for nothing, however.
The city of Pueblo invested over $23M between 2014 and 2016 to lay the foundations for legalized marijuana sales. Despite this massive investment by the city, they still claimed over $35M in economic benefits after their spending. It doesn’t look like stopping either. Conservative estimates by many involved in the marijuana industry believe that over $100M could be made in the next three years. When you think of where Puebla was just five years ago, legal marijuana can’t be all that bad!
What do you think about the legalization of marijuana? Feel free to comment below with your thoughts and feelings. We would love to hear how you believe marijuana could benefit your city, state, or country.