Why You Should Support Cannabis In The 2018 Midterms Even If You Don’t Use It
The 2018 midterm elections in the United States are upon us. Come November 6th, voters in North Dakota and Michigan will determine if recreational cannabis will be legalized, while voters in Utah and Missouri will decide on the legalization of medical use cannabis.
Meanwhile, other states are considering various ways of expanding their current medical cannabis program. Even though the US midterm elections generally have a lower voter participation, recent polls predict that the midterm votes for this year may break records. However, the only way you can expect to see change after the elections is if you actually get out there and vote, because your vote will go a long way in helping make moves behind the scenes that would limit what President Trump can and can’t do when it comes to cannabis, as well as many other problems facing the country today.
With 2 out of 3 Americans now supporting legalization, an all-time record high in terms of public support, the federal government still classifies cannabis in the same category as harmful drugs such as heroin and LSD. But your vote can help relax laws and spread legalization through the country. If all the states involved vote for cannabis legalization, it would bring the number of recreational-use states up to 11 plus the District of Columbia, plus 33 more that have legalized it for medical use. In other words, a quarter of the population would be living in a state where recreational use is permitted and 2/3 of Americans reside in a place where medical cannabis is allowed.
Here’s why you should support cannabis on the ballot during this year’s elections, even if you don’t consume it.
- Cannabis saves lives. It’s the only natural medicine out there that can help reduce the severity of certain ailments. The list of health conditions that cannabis can treat only continues to grow, as more research goes underway and more people access it. With at least 200 different kinds of conditions that have been shown to respond well to cannabis as medicine, legalizing it provides more healthcare alternatives to the sick. Even individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and chronic stress can benefit from using cannabis.
Legalizing cannabis would also make the medicine more affordable. While commoditization of cannabis in the long run may lead to lower prices which isn’t exactly the best of news for investors or the federal government, this is good news for millions of patients who don’t have money to spend on healthcare. It’s highly likely that you or someone close to you is suffering from an ailment that can be cured by cannabis; so your vote could save lives and ensure that people get the help and medicine that they need.
- Cannabis is good for the economy. The rise of the legal cannabis economy has brought with it significant benefits for the economy in terms of money, jobs, and a flurry of economic activity. There are around 165,000-230,000 workers, both part-time and full-time in the cannabis industry today; the industry alone employs more people than bakers and dental hygienists in the country and these figures are expected to eclipse the number of pharmacists and telemarketers.
Additionally, tax revenues from states have been used for projects such as education and infrastructure, regulatory oversight, drug education, public health, and law enforcement. In Colorado, for example, from cannabis taxes went to the Department of Human services, which used the funds for projects focused on mental health, substance abuse, and cannabis treatment services. Millions also went toward building affordable local housing, education, and school health professional grants.Your vote can create jobs, help create schools and education, and support public health projects in your state.
- Regulation and legalization of cannabis protects our children. Let’s face it: prohibition did NOTHING to protect the youth especially when it comes to drug use. The only thing that prohibition ever did was to victimize and criminalize youth drug use even more. Although you may worry that legalization would make cannabis more available to young kids, it’s important to note that cannabis has been scientifically and statistically been proven to be much less harmful to them than common over the counter medications, alcohol, and other drugs. Additionally, cannabis legalization has been linked to a reduction in suicide rates.
Statistics show that exposure to cannabis ads don’t lead to an increase in youth consumption. Additionally, 2017 figures from Washington and Colorado reveal that teen cannabis use is at an all-time low. Your vote ensures that cannabis legalization continues to have a positive impact on the youth, even for those living in states where it is legal.
- Cannabis legalization reduces crime rates. Most prohibitionists love to argue that cannabis legalization will only increase crime rates. But statistics tell us otherwise: in areas where cannabis has been legalized, there has been a reduction in murders and violent crimes. A study of Washington and Oregon crime data taken from 2013 and 2014, the years when recreational cannabis was legalized in Washington but remained illegal in Oregon, revealed that legalization resulted in a “significant reduction in rapes and property crime” two years after Washington legalized cannabis. The study notes that the number of rape cases dropped between 15 and 30% while thefts declined by 10-20%. The study’s authors attribute it to the euphoric and relaxing effects of cannabis as something which may “reduce the likelihood of engaging in violent activities,” as well as the theory that more people were using cannabis instead of “violence-inducing substances such as alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines.”
Another 2014 study conducted by researchers from the University of Texas analyzed 16 years of data taken from states that legalized medical cannabis. Their findings contradict the myth that cannabis legalization leads to crime, as it even suggests that it has the potential to reduce criminal activity. They found that the rates of violent crimes including homicide and assault dropped when cannabis was legalized for medical purposes. Even legalizing recreational cannabis has been linked to a reduction in crime, evidenced by the findings of a 2013 study, which is attributed to its impact on traffic safety. Your vote helps reduce crime rates by promoting the use of cannabis as an alternative to violence-inducing substances, and it undermines criminal cartels and black market activity.
- Cannabis legalization leads to better regulation and safety of the plant. When the government handles the regulation of cannabis, the products you consume can be produced with better quality and standards. Not all cannabis is made equal, because many out there are produced with the use of harmful substances such as pesticides and may even be contaminated, which defeats the purpose of medicating with it in the first place.
One important case in point is the . Also known as spice or K2 out in the streets, these fake forms of cannabis have been proliferating, appealing to people because they’re much cheaper and don’t show up in drug tests. However, the use of synthetic forms of cannabis is harmful and even fatal, as it’s in the past. But even actual pot that hasn’t undergone testing may be unsafe. With only in California being tested for safety, regulation of products still leaves much to be desired and this is something that can be changed in the future. This is scary news considering that California is one of the more mature markets for cannabis.
Cannabis needs to be because aside from pesticides, residual toxins from fungicides can also cause harm to the human body. Testing also helps us efficiently navigate the murky waters of cannabis potency, because the only legitimate way to understand the cannabinoid and terpene profile of a plant is through laboratory testing. Testing and regulation helps patients and consumers be confident about what they are consuming. A study late last year revealed are mislabeled. Through blind testing, they found that just 31% of 84 CBD products made by 31 different companies were truthful about the CBD composition of the product. They also found that some products contained other ingredients that were not listed on the label, including the psychoactive component THC, which generates a buzz. The study’s authors suggest that companies selling extracts need improved regulatory oversight and quality control so that consumers get a correct, unadulterated dose.Your vote helps cannabis companies become more accountable, ensuring people are able to medicate correctly and safely.
Go vote and make it count. All of these reasons are backed up by statistics, which goes to show that cannabis legalization is indeed something good, for the economy, the country, and society as a whole. Societal acceptance of the drug, even among people who don’t use it, is a natural boost for the lives of millions of Americans throughout the country. But it won’t happen overnight, and it’s important to take the steps necessary to ensure that it’s legalized in more places as possible.