Cannabis legalization will likely benefit society in many different ways. Entrepreneur and cannabis expert Michael Candelario of Arizona explains why and how legal weed could be a big boom
Right now, many states are decriminalizing, and increasingly, legalizing marijuana. This means people can not only buy marijuana legally, but in many cases, they can also set up businesses in the cannabis industry. Marijuana expert Michael Candelario of Arizona explains how legal weed benefits society.
“The most important aspect of legal marijuana is perhaps that it keeps people out of jail,” Michael Candelario of Arizona says. “The last estimates I saw showed that 40,000 Americans were in jail for marijuana offenses. These people are being deprived of their freedom and life.”
Legalizing marijuana will prevent people from going to jail for possession of marijuana and other similar crimes. Some states have also released prisoners after marijuana legalization. California alone released thousands of people. Governments in Michigan and elsewhere have released at least some prisoners, but many people remain behind bars.
“Locking people up over weed strikes me as morally wrong,” Michael Candelario says. “It’s perhaps cruel, to be honest. Less importantly, keeping people incarcerated costs a lot of money. First, you have to pay for the jail system, and second, you deprive people of earning an income, which means less tax revenue.”
Finances aren’t as important as freedom. Still, keeping marijuana illegal deprives the government of billions of dollars in tax revenues. And people locked up in jail are deprived of the opportunity to become productive, successful members of society.
Legal weed, on the other hand, provides money. California alone is bringing in more than a billion dollars a year in tax revenues from legalized marijuana. Washington pulls in more than $450 million, while Colorado is closing in on $400 million. It’s not just about money either. More importantly, the money can be invested in society.
“A lot of times, revenues brought in through the legal cannabis industry are spent on education, basic infrastructure, and other areas that benefit society as a whole,” Arizonian Michael Candelario, notes. “This means we can all benefit from legalized weed. Even if you don’t indulge, legalized cannabis may benefit you.”
Michael Candelario Discusses Potential Medical Benefits
So far, cannabis has shown a lot of potential in medical applications. Marijuana is being used to treat pain, for example, offering a safer, less addictive alternative to opioids. Many of the chemicals derived from marijuana have also shown the potential to treat a variety of conditions.
“Marijuana represents an exciting frontier for medicine,” Michael Candelario argues. “It’s possible to conduct research into marijuana and other substances even when and where they are illegal. Still, legalization should make it easier to conduct research.”
As scientists conduct research, they may develop medications that can treat pain, seizures, mental health problems, and more. Already marijuana and cannabis-derived substances have shown promise in treatment. Only time will tell how effective cannabis is for medical applications but the early returns are promising.