The Marijuana Stigma: Why it’s up in Smoke

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Marijuana has for a long time been viewed upon as a negative or distasteful thing; it was viewed as a hard drug which only less than reputable people partook in, and as a gateway drug which lead to Heroin or Crack. People who smoked or ate marijuana, or were really related to it in any way, were stigmatized by society and frowned upon as “hippies” or “stoners”. However this stigma has slowly but surely been changing, as can be seen by the way states like Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana for recreational use, and California is soon to follow. Every year more and more states are getting involved in the struggle for legalization of marijuana for medical and/or recreational purposes.

The Marijuana Stigma: Why it's up in Smoke

The benefits and uses of marijuana are slowly coming to light and the stigmas around it are fading into the not so distant past. This has created a large profitable industry, a marijuana market (along with related products), and when there is a market and industry wanting to grow there are also investors wanting to make money and grow with it; the increasingly positive and relaxed view regarding marijuana has created a tidal wave of investors looking to make a profit in the cannabis industry. This can be seen from new-age investment firms such as ForeFront Venture Group who are one of the first Venture Capital Firms to boldly claim to be shifting their entire investment portfolio to Cannabis Related Investments. “The returns we’ve had in this market are incomparable to any other market of our generation. It is just a matter of time before old dogmatic views of Cannabis change and more people start seeing the positive benefits the Cannabis plant has to offer the economy, modern medicine, and society as a whole.” says ForeFront Venture Group CEO “When you stack up all the benefits legalization brings, it makes you wonder why it has been a clandestine topic for so long.”

annual tax revenues

There are a few reasons as to why the stigma around marijuana is changing, one of these reasons is that the marijuana industry creates many jobs, and as unemployment is a big issue as of late the marijuana industry could be very useful in helping solve this issue. There are so many different jobs created by the marijuana industry; creating edibles, processing concentrates, making and selling glass for marijuana consumption, growing and trimming marijuana, couriers to deliver it, there even needs to be security, administration, and software development to support the industry. The list of jobs are quite endless and the profits they would make are quite astronomical; people are beginning to see just how valuable this industry can be, both in terms of creating jobs and creating taxable revenue. Due to the endless potential forstartups; there is even a non-profit organization dedicated solely to Marijuana Entrepreneurs. Their motto is that the quickest way to push legalization is by empowering entrepreneurs and start-ups through education, networking, legal templates, and even providing Marijuana friendly Funding Avenues for Start-Ups. Almost like an incubator for Cannabis, here is a link if you want to check them out HustleGreen

The Marijuana Stigma: Why it's up in Smoke

Money is always an issue, and society as well as the government has begun to see that the profits, especially in tax revenues, to be made from this industry are very high. The medical and recreational marijuana industry pays taxes just like any other industry; Colorado in 2014 took in close to $70 million dollars from marijuana related taxes. The U.S takes in close to $6 billion dollars annually from the sale of marijuana, both recreational and medical and by 2018 this is estimated to climb to over 8$ billion dollars.
There are even more benefits to the complete legalization of marijuana, one of them being that prison populations will be greatly decreased, this being extremely important for the U.S, a country with the highest comparable prison population in the whole world. In both federal and state prisons, marijuana offenses account for close to 13% of all prisoners and on average the U.S has almost 1.5 million people in prisons for marijuana related offenses. Just imagine how much less crowded prisons would be if these people were not viewed as criminals, and how much more time the U.S government and police forces would have to actually fight real crime.

The Marijuana Stigma: Why it's up in Smoke
Furthermore, no longer labeling marijuana as being criminal would also completely end the black market and the illegal sales of it; organized crime and other criminal groups will no longer have the need to grow, transport, or sell marijuana because they simply wouldn’t make any money. Organized criminal groups all over the world profit greatly from the illegal sales of marijuana, countries like China, Pakistan, Mexico, Canada, as well as many South American countries are known for their growth and exportation of illegal marijuana. This money then funds their other, more serious and harmful criminal activities like terrorism and human trafficking. Legalize marijuana and many of the criminal enterprises will be forced to shut down or find other sources of revenue to stay afloat.

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