Politicians are always talking about creating jobs, boosting local economies, and helping industries thrive. For some reason, that rarely applies to marijuana. Alcohol, yes. Pharmaceuticals, yes. But for some reason when it comes to marijuana, a substance far safer than the two I just mentioned, politicians are either outspoken in their opposition, or are unwilling to go on the record. Why is that?
Alaska voters will vote on marijuana legalization next week, along with Oregon and Washington D.C.. The marijuana industry could be sizable in Alaska if legalization is approved. Per the Washington Post:
The state of Alaska stands to gain $23 million in annual tax revenues from a fully ramped-up legal marijuana market, according to a report released this week by the Marijuana Policy Group, a research organization that does not take a stance on marijuana legalization issues. If Alaska voters approve a legalization measure on the ballot next week, the report estimates that total sales in a legal marijuana market would climb from $56 million in 2016 to $107 million in 2020.
Based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the report estimates that there are 103,000 marijuana users aged 21+ in Alaska, representing at least one-fifth of the state's adult population. It says 72,000 of them use marijuana monthly or more, and 22,000 use marijuana at a near-daily rate. Surveys and government reports consistently show marijuana use in Alaska among the highest in the nation, due partly to the quasi-legal status of marijuana in the state.
The marijuana industry could do a lot for Alaska, and every other state that seeks to reform marijuana laws. Name one state in the nation that couldn't use extra jobs, extra dollars flowing in the local economy, and extra tax revenues? Why isn't every state doing this?