Voters may have handed the proverbial car keys to to a group of domestic terrorists, voted against their own interests, and generally proved that Americans can be expected to make incredibly stupid decisions, but in a glimmer of hope, Americans supported one measure that will increase tax revenue and essentially provide a powerful health care tool without a prescription, and give people a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol.
Two states, and Washington, DC, have joined Washington state and Colorado in legalizing marijuana for recreational use. This will open up a new market in those areas and, if Colorado is to be an example, will help fill the state’s coffers with the sweet, sweet tax revenue created by such a legalization. Colorado is doing so well that $30.5 million in revenue from the sale of marijuana will be given back to taxpayers.
Now, voters in Oregon and Alaska, as well at our nation’s capitol, have told lawmakers they want legalized weed as well. In total, four states (plus DC) have made cannabis legal recreationally, and twenty-three medicinally.
“The results are particularly encouraging, since voter turnout during a midterm election is typically smaller, older and more conservative,”Rob Kampia, Marijuana Policy Project’s executive director, said in a statement. “Clearly, support for ending marijuana prohibition spans the political and ideological spectrums.”
“Proposals to regulate marijuana like alcohol are headed for the ballots in at least five states in 2016, and they’re being considered in legislatures around the country,” he said. “This year’s election was a large step forward, but the 2016 election will be a huge leap toward ending marijuana prohibition in this country once and for all.”
CNBC reports that legal cannabis has thus far done a lot of good for states whose voters ended prohibition:
America’s legal wholesale and retail cannabis industry already reached $1.5 billion in 2013, according to the ArcView Group, which invests in cannabis businesses and collects related data. The sector is forecast to grow to $2.6 billion by this year’s end, and to $10.2 billion by 2018.
In Colorado alone, the cannabis market is forecast to more than double to $801.9 million this year from $347.2 million in 2013, according toArcView. In Washington state, where recreational and medicinal uses are allowed, the marijuana sector is anticipated to grow to $316.2 million this year from $63.4 million in 2013.
In California, where medicinal use is allowed and efforts are underway to legalize recreational use in 2016, the market is expected to grow to $1.1 billion this year from $980.2 million, according to ArcView.
If this election is any indicator, things are looking very bright for marijuana in the future.