Marijuana, like alcohol, can be regulated, taxed and used in moderation by adults who choose it, like a glass of wine with dinner. The burgeoning legal cannabis industry wants Donald Trump to know five critical benefits to marijuana legalization.
- Law and Order: Legalizing marijuana reduces the criminal activity of drug cartels and gangs, and reduces court, prison and police spending.
- Public Health: Marijuana is safer in states where it has been legalized because it is tested, appropriately labeled, and packaged in child-proof containers.
- Reduced Addiction: Marijuana is not a gateway to opiate use, it is an Off-ramp. Many prefer switching to marijuana for pain relief because it has fewer side effects than opioids and is not addictive. Marijuana is NOT a killer – it does not bind to respiratory cells, so an overdose does not stop a person from breathing. Opioids do bind to respiratory cells and overdoses do kill.
- Fiscal Health: Taxing marijuana already produces hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue.
- Job Creation: More than 100,000 have been employed so far. In Washington State, cannabis is now the 3rd largest cash crop.
Entrepreneurs in the legal marijuana industry believe that the plant should be taken off the federal schedule 1 (most harmful) list of substances, or at least continue to leave the issue of legalization up to each state. Recent statements by the Trump administration indicate that will not happen. Here, executives in the industry share their experiences and advice for the President and his advisors:
Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots: Colorado is one of the only states in the nation that is seeing a decline in opioid deaths — that’s not a coincidence. Cannabis is a healthy alternative to pain pills and heroin, not a gateway to it.
Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech: “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues. We hope the new administration really takes the time to understand that the money is either going into the states’ coffers or making its way to drug cartels.”
Danny Davis, Convectium, Managing Partner: Many of the states who helped elect President Trump just voted to also support recreational marijuana; it is hard to imagine that he would push an agenda with the support ratings where they are.”
Christie Strong, Marketing Communications Manager of Kiva Confections: “Over 60% of Americans supports cannabis legalization. It is one of the few bi-partisan issues that actually has the potential to unite us right now.”
Jeffrey Zucker, President of Green Lion Partners: “I hope that the administration takes the time to truly immerse and educate themselves on cannabis before making any destructive decisions. The incredibly positive medical, social, and economic impact cannabis legalization has had on regulated states is undeniable. The cannabis industry will fight any pressure from the federal government to set back the significant progress that’s been made thus far.