Feds need to wise up to new U.S. cash crop

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California struck gold when cannabis businesses opened to the public.

In the world’s sixth largest economy, it’s no surprise the recreational marijuana industry is flourishing.

Even before legalization in 2016 medical marijuana was worth $2.8 billion according to an article titled “Colorado Pot Revenue Shows no Signs of Slowing in 2018” from westword.com.

But what about other states that legalized well before 2018?

Colorado opened cannabis stores to the public in 2014.

The state saw $76 million in revenue in the first year, according to an article titled “Five years in: The effects of legalization in Colorado and Washington state” from Lift News. In 2015 total tax revenues from cannabis increased to more than $135 million.

Why is the cash crop illegal to this day, at the Federal level?

The Federal Government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as Heroin, a more restrictive category than Schedule 2 drugs.

Cocaine and meth are Schedule 2.

According to “The spread of marijuana legalization, explained” an article on Vox.com, the Drug Enforcement Agency states Schedule 2 drugs have some medical value, while Schedule 1 drugs don’t.

This shows the utter inability of the Federal Government to see facts and reason, and to change the classification, when states and other countries like Uruguay are legalizing.

The article “Marijuana Doomsday Didn’t Come” by Antony Davies and James R. Harrigan from the U.S. News said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is out to increase the Federal Government’s involvement in fighting against marijuana legalization.

He has said on record, “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and supports the death penalty for marijuana dealers. He said it’s “slightly less awful than heroin.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana has been used successfully for cancer patients during chemo, childhood epilepsy, chronic pain and as a substitute for opioids, among other things.

Statistics in 2014 show Colorado having a 6.5 percent reduction in deaths from opioid abuse. A reversal of the previous 14-year upward trend according to the aforementioned article in Lift News.

Marijuana helps people with opioid addiction, so why is it in the same category as heroin, an opioid? Sessions does not know what he is talking about.

Despite the outdated stigma on the Federal level, cannabis shop owners continue to help the public, and it isn’t easy selling legally.

Owners can’t file for many tax deductions resulting in income tax rates as high as 90 percent or more according to Davies and Harrigan’s  article in the U.S. News.

These businesses often function as cash-only because most banks don’t want to deal with businesses that “break Federal law”.

The previously mentioned Vox.com article states the war on pot has cost the U.S. billions of dollars over decades.

A waste of money and resources over a plant, with proven medicinal value.

Over half a million Americans are arrested each year for marijuana possession according to U.S. News, wasting tax dollars and damaging families mentally and financially.

The facts are all there. Marijuana legalization brings prosperity, eases pain in patients and families who have struggled with the unfair justice system criminalizing their loved ones.

The marijuana industry in Colorado since 2014 has generated $617 million.

The state used their wealth for good.

The first $40 million each year goes to building and renovating public schools and the rest goes to substance abuse programs, recruiting new police officers and affordable housing, according to “Marijuana’s huge impact in Colorado by the numbers” from Fox News Denver.

We can all agree, schools in the United States are significantly underfunded.

Cowan Researchers have concluded a nationwide legal pot industry would cash out at $50 billion by 2026.

The Trump administration needs to move forward with the affluent marijuana movement instead of going backwards in time.