10 States That Would Benefit the Most From Legal Marijuana

Nowadays there are few touchier subjects than whether to legalize marijuana, especially after voters in Washington state and Colorado last year approved allowing the recreational use of the controlled substance in a users' home.

In both Washington and Colorado a resident may legally purchase or possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis as long as they're 21 years of age or older. However, the proposition to make cannabis legal for recreational use didn't pass in every state, with the measure losing by a small margin in Oregon last year.

Source: PabloEvans, Flickr.

The allure of legalizing marijuana
Let's momentarily take a step back from our own personal views, regardless of what they may be, and look at the hypothetical ramifications of marijuana legalization. I'm not here to take a side one way or another, but merely looking at how legalization could be both positive and negative for the economy.

The primary allure of legalizing cannabis on a state and/or federal basis is inherent in the taxable revenue that could be collected from the sale of the currently controlled substance. According to my Foolish colleague Brian Orelli via data from ArcView Market Research, if cannabis were decriminalized we could be looking at a drug capable of producing $10.2 billion in annual sales within five years. By comparison, the best-selling drug in world, according to my extrapolated calculations earlier this year, is AbbVie's (NYSE: ABBV  ) anti-inflammatory drug Humira which globally is expected to net $10.1 billion in sales this year. No other marketable drug is within an estimated $1.4 billion in sales relative to Humira globally. Cannabis sales, on the other hand, would nearly match AbbVie's revenue driver in yearly sales.

If you think about this hypothetically in terms of strategies for curbing both federal and state deficits, taxation of this substance could be part of the answer. In early 2012, 42 of the nation's 50 states were running a deficit, according to CNN. Furthermore, most of the other eight were sparsely populated states such as Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota that make up such a small percentage of annual spending , that factoring them into our calculation is almost not worthwhile. 

Colorado, for instance, has a 25% total tax on recreational marijuana sales (15% excise and 10% sales) that should help the state close its budget gap.

Interestingly enough, a CBS News report from 2009 demonstrated that marijuana usage in the U.S. has been on the rise for years. It's also worth noting that 20 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes over the past 15 years. That could somewhat explain the rise in cannabis use, but it's certainly just one part of the picture.

 

The CBS News report stated that the number of polled respondents in 2009 who claimed to use marijuana on a somewhat regular basis increased to 10.8% from 10.2% in the prior year. If this data is consistent throughout the U.S, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million-23 million adults are using marijuana somewhat regularly. 

10 states that would benefit the most
According to CBS News' report, here are the 10 states, based on the number of positive respondents, that would benefit the most from the hypothetical legalization of marijuana on a recreational level:

State

% of Residents Who Smoke Marijuana

Alaska

16.29%

Vermont

15.97%

Colorado

15.09%

New Hampshire

14.88%

Massachusetts

14.55%

Oregon

14.45%

Rhode Island

14.32%

Maine

13.56%

California

12.88%

Washington

12.84%

Source: CBSNews.

With the exception of Alaska, every state on this list was running a budget deficit as of early 2012, according to CNN's figures. Some deficits were enormous, including the $28 billion California shortfall that has supposedly vanished due to steep statewide cost-cuting and increased taxes. Marijuana legalization, however, could help stem those deficits. In Colorado, No. 3 on the above list, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy predicted the state would generate about $60 million in tax revenue annually through 2017. That wouldn't close Colorado's budget gap completely, but it would could help bridge some of the existing shortfall.

Marijuana's numerous stumbling blocks
Before you get too excited about the potential for marijuana to be legalized around the country, consider that there are also a number of huge stumbling blocks that could stand in its way. 

Probably the biggest current drawback is that no matter how many states vote to approve the legalization of marijuana, it's still considered a schedule I drug on the federal level -- illegal in all instances. This leaves marijuana producers and buyers in a bind on the state level with regard to what is and is not legit. Maintaining consistency is another major concern . Because the federal government doesn't allow for the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes, it has no ability to test for THC content (the active ingredient in marijuana) or potency. Furthermore, it's incredibly difficult to regulate the chemical consistency of one marijuana producer to the next.

If the entire country did not legalize at once, leakage onto the black market is another gigantic concern. Washington state, for example, is requiring producers to implement a bar code system from the growth stage through the final shop destination to ensure that none of the cannabis grown is escaping to neighboring states where possession of the drug for nonmedicinal purposes may be considered illegal. 

There are also the potentially negative side effects of cannabis smoking, according to the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. According to NCI, rapid heart beat, dizziness, depression, and paranoia can all be linked to cannabis usage. In addition,the NCI notes that "because cannabis smoke contains many of the same substances as tobacco smoke, there are concerns about how cannabis affects the lungs." 

The final tricky topic that's often overlooked is the potential for the Food and Drug Administration to get involved if marijuana were to be legalized on a federal level. At the moment the FDA doesn't regulate illegal substances. However, if marijuana becomes legal, the call for tight regulatory control could come into play. In 2006, The New York Times reported that the FDA had issued a report finding "no sound scientific studies" that support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, so more clinical evidence for efficacy may be necessary.

This is worth watching
Although we don't have all of the answers now, it's worth keeping a close eye on the evolution of state-level recreational marijuana laws in what could be a transformative period in the U.S. All eyes will certainly be focused on Washington and Colorado over the next year to see how well recreational legalization laws perform with regard to revenue generation relative to the potentially negative side effects listed above. If the risk/reward trade-off is beneficial, this could be something other states adopt. If not, Washington and Colorado may likely be the only states to attempt this experiment.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 5:32 PM, barstone wrote:

    Maybe we ought to legalize it worldwide for the sake of justice.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 6:34 PM, wess wrote:

    In the first steps they will legalize weed. Then the drug companies will take over. Then THC will end up only being available in pill form. In this manner the Government will be able to control the THC. To all those who think this is plop, laugh now but our controlling Government will screw us all.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 8:07 PM, stinkhead43 wrote:

    the point is plain and simple, it's a plant. there is pretty much no processing needing to be done to it, or human intervention, other than growing it like a tomato plant, and cutting the 'fruit' off, then enjoying it. it's not like other drugs that require chemicals and other man-made synthetics to make a final product. there's no reason to make it illegal other than the fact the government wants its cut of whatever profits there are to make from it. its similar to the argument one day they're going to make air illegal to breathe for free... some air is harmful to your health.. like smog, it's a similar argument :)... the history of how marijuana became illegal to begin with says it all. I've maintained my belief that by 2020, it'll be legal in the majority of states -- that's only 7 years away. 2 down, 48 to go.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 8:41 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    There are several problematic statements in this article:

    >>>"The primary allure of legalizing cannabis on a state and/or federal basis is inherent in the taxable revenue that could be collected from the sale"

    No. That is not the primary benefit of re-legalizing cannabis. More than 800,000 innocent Americans are arrested for simple marijuana possession each year and made second-class citizens - for life! They will forever face huge obstacles to decent employment, education, travel, housing,

    government benefits, and will always go into court with one strike against them. They can even have their children taken away!

    20 million Americans are now locked away in this very un-American sub-class. That has a horrible effect on the whole country, being an incredible waste of human potential.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:01 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    stinkhead43 - You are right. I don't understand why "journalists" have such a problem with this truth.

    Also in this article:

    >>>"No other marketable drug is within an estimated $1.4 billion in sales relative to Humira globally."

    What about the drug alcohol? Although the taxes generated from alcohol sales are more than marijuana could achieve, alcohol's taxes are more than off-set by the huge costs of addictive, destructive alcohol.

    Nearly harmless marijuana does not have these costs, so it's all benefit. Anyway, it's you compared marijuana to a medication instead of another recreational drug. Why is that?

    >>>"Probably the biggest current drawback is that no matter how many states vote to approve the legalization of marijuana, it's still considered a schedule I drug on the federal level -- illegal in all instances."

    Re-legalizing marijuana in the states is HOW we end the federal prohibition. The proof of this was Obama/Holder backing down after Colorado and Washington state legalized marijuana.

    >>>"Maintaining consistency is another major concern."

    Not really. The consistency has improved remarkably with medical marijuana. It is only logical that the more legitimate the marijuana business becomes, the better quality controls will be established.

    Further, we're not talking about a drug that is potentially dangerous if the potency rises or falls. So this is not a crucial concern.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:05 PM, clloyd53 wrote:

    Probably one quarter of jail populations are there for committing non violent crimes or crimes against people. But they are place on probation for these misdemeanor crimes. And then violate their probation because of marijuana use which makes them felons. Or someone gets out of prison for their second felony and goes on parole. The work hard support their family and are responsible citizens. But a urine test at the parole office shows they have been in the close proximity where marijuana has been smoked. The violation is their third felony and most states have a three strikes law that has a minimum of twenty years in prison. This is not the way that the land of the free should operate.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:06 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    >>>"If the entire country did not legalize at once, leakage onto the black market is another gigantic concern."

    So if we make absolutely sure no marijuana gets out of a re-legalized state, does that mean people in the neighboring states will stop smoking it, or even see it less available?

    Please get real. -- As more and more states legalize marijuana, at some point, we have to admit there is no significant harm to any adults in ANY state - legal or "illegal" - so this becomes just another superficial "problem."

    >>>"According to NCI, rapid heart beat, dizziness, depression, and paranoia can all be linked to cannabis usage."

    Sex and exercise can cause rapid heart beats and dizziness. Should we ban those activities? Depression? No. Marijuana is an effective anti-depressant, of course.

    Fear comes from either the reality of being persecuted by the government (which isn't paranoia, is it?) or from consuming too much, and getting a panic attack. This rarely happens after consumers become experienced.

    >>>"The NCI notes that "because cannabis smoke contains many of the same substances as tobacco smoke, there are concerns about how cannabis affects the lungs."

    This shows how much of a political organization the NCI is. While smoked marijuana does contain some of the same toxins as cigarettes or any other kind of smoke, smoking marijuana does NOT cause cancer. For two main reasons. One, marijuana consumers inhale a tiny fraction of the smoke that cigarette smokers do. People standing on a busy street corner inhale more toxic smoke than the two or three puffs of marijuana. Second, science has shown marijuana has anti-cancer properties.

    The preeminent researcher of marijuana and lung disease, UCLA's Dr. Donald Tashkin, conducted investigations over 30 years, initially believing there must be a causal relationship. But he finally concluded that smoking marijuana does NOT cause cancer or ANY other serious disease.

    "We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all, and even some suggestion of a protective effect."

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:13 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    clloyd53 - Right. Americans have been propagandized into thinking they are free when they are not. Our freedom has been under wholesale attack since Nixon started the war on marijuana consumers.

    The fraudulent prohibition is one of their major methods of removing our liberty. That's the real reason they are so loathe to give it up.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:20 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    More excerpts from the article:

    >>>"if marijuana becomes legal, the call for tight regulatory control could come into play. In 2006, The New York Times reported that the FDA had issued a report finding "no sound scientific studies" that support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, so more clinical evidence for efficacy may be necessary."

    What? - Wait a minute. You changed the subject to medical marijuana. We're talking about recreational marijuana, remember?

    This would be closer to how we regulate tobacco.

    We don't have to be concerned about marijuana's medical benefits when we are discussing legalizing recreational consumption.

    Mr. Williams needs to do some real research, instead of swallowing the propaganda.

    As the DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis Young, concluded after an exhaustive review of the evidence: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."

    Finally, we must take one step back. What needs to be examined is the counter-productive marijuana prohibition. It was a monstrously destructive fraud from its beginning in 1937, and has not gained a shred of legitimacy in all its 76 years.

    It has never accomplished one positive thing. It has ONLY caused vast amounts of crime, violence, corruption, death and the severe diminishment of everyone's freedom.

    Future historians will rightly refer to this shameful era as the American Inquisition.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:41 PM, mountain8 wrote:

    "National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. According to NCI, rapid heart beat, dizziness, depression, and paranoia can all be linked to cannabis usage."

    Would you like some more logical panic words? I get rapid heart beat, dizziness, depression and Paranoia every time I read a newspaper, Watch the news on TV. Or listen to a political speech. Sometimes even a sports event. When you can isolate those symptoms to one thing and one thing alone, you have something to discuss. But when 30,000 other events or prescriptions have the same symptoms, your conclusions are really stupid and a waste of intelligence.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:52 PM, mountain8 wrote:

    IF I remember right, Wasn't Galilao (So my spelling's bad, so what,) That terrible heritic, imprisoned for a decade and eventually butchered for believing the sun was the center of our universe. I'm sure glad that evil person paid the price for going against authority, no matter how wrong authority was..... and is.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 10:57 PM, LadyMantle wrote:

    Recently, a woman moved with her family to Colorado so that they could become residents. One of her kids has epilepsy and cannabis is the only thing that helps. Even though they have a medicinal cannabis certificate, she was being harrassed by law enforcement in her state. It's really sad when these poor kids cannot even get some medicinal cannabis therapy without legal ramifications. So, she packed up and moved to to Colorado. Hopefully, there she will be left alone and her kid will get the help he needs. We call it a war on drugs but it is really war on the American people.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 11:03 PM, 67camaroboy wrote:

    Legalizing pot for recreational usage would be a very big mistake. I read someplace that ever since Colorado legalized pot for recreational usage the amount of car accidents have increased greatly! As it has made the roads a lot more dangerous than in the past! Plus if "they" try to tax it will never be profitable................................................................................

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 11:22 PM, Historicus wrote:

    @67camaroboy

    According to Colorado D.O.T., the number of fatal crashes has dropped by almost 7% in the last year.

    A review of national statistics showed that states with liberalized marijuana laws consistently experience significant (9-13%) declines in D.U.I. related fatalities.

  • Report this Comment On December 23, 2013, at 11:51 PM, HerbVonDiesel wrote:

    As an avid advocate for all forms of cannabis for over 50 years, I say it s about time. Concerned parties will see to it that the govt stays out of their gardens, and those unconcerned will be able to go to dispensaries, purchase whatever they like, give up too much information, and be happy with that.

    As usual, its not about right or wrong, but which side youre on....despite being given reluctant permission to be on the winning side....i refuse admission, and will continue to support local enterprise rather than some govt sanctioned b.s. You know there ll be a catch somewhere.....theyll figure out how to surcharge your auto insurance, or your medical insurance, or something equally as egregious. Im not buying anything from somebody thats already trying to pick my pocket.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 1:09 AM, ncoros wrote:

    "National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. According to NCI, rapid heart beat, dizziness, depression, and paranoia can all be linked to cannabis usage."

    This is from the web site for Humira.

    "Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. HUMIRA may increase the chance of getting lymphoma, including a rare kind, or other cancers. HUMIRA can cause serious side effects including hepatitis B infection in carriers of the virus, allergic reactions, nervous system problems, blood problems, heart failure, certain immune reactions including a lupus-like syndrome, liver problems, and new or worsening psoriasis."

    Considering that Humira states right off that it can cause cancer and ,the NCI notes that "because cannabis smoke contains many of the same substances as tobacco smoke, there are concerns about how cannabis affects the lungs." Which side effects would you prefer to risk from your prescription. I picked this because the article is really comparing it to prescription drugs. Comparing it to alcohol would make it look even better.

    Vomiting, Diarrhea,Upset stomach,Headaches,Breathing difficulties, Distorted vision and hearing, Impaired judgment, Decreased perception and coordination, Unconsciousness, Anemia, Coma, Blackouts, Alcohol poisoning

    High blood pressure, stroke, and other heart-related diseases,

    Liver disease, Nerve damage, Sexual problems, Permanent damage to the brain, Vitamin B1 deficiency, which can lead to a disorder characterized by amnesia, apathy and disorientation, Ulcers, Gastritis, Malnutrition, Cancer of the mouth and throat

    If those side effects are not enough for the government to stop the sale of Humira or alcohol why should they even enter into the debate about marijuana?

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 3:19 AM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @ncoros - Good points. The REAL motivation of the government in maintaining the fraudulent, counter-productive marijuana prohibition has nothing to do with any harms. That's just what they shout about in the propaganda. Why do they protect this monstrous persecution?

    Because police, prosecutors and politicians build their careers and empires on it. Because industries like alcohol and pharmaceuticals don't want the competition. Because other interests like the drug treatment/testing industry and the prison industries depend on it for their life's blood. Because banks and other shaky corporations couldn't exist without the laundered money.

    The billions of dollars made by drug gangs has not been buried in the ground. They are invested in legitimate business, causing another huge support of this persecution of millions of innocent people.

    For a good view underneath the ice burg, see Catherine Austin Fitts' excellent article: "Narco Dollars For Beginners." - keeping in mind that while Fitts employs cocaine because it best suits her metaphor, FBI statistics show marijuana sales comprise 80 percent of all "illegal" drug transactions.

    http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/narcoDollars.html

    We need to turn the discussion away from near harmless marijuana and focus instead on the monstrous harms and ZERO benefits of the freedom-strangling FRAUD of marijuana prohibition.

    It's time to dismantle the marijuana-prohibition-industrial-police-criminal complex.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 4:52 AM, wmeixner wrote:

    Some of your comments touch on the issue. My experience with marijuana recalls the dramatic decline in the abuse of alcohol among pot smokers.

    Pot smoking seems to heighten the sensitivity towards a healthier lifestyle.

    I can imagine a large drop in alcohol consumption if marijuana was legal and available through licensed distributors.

    Less alcohol (a real substance killer) would result in less car accidents. Medicare costs would plummet as alcohol related diseases would diminish.

    America would be a healthier, happier, safer place to be.

    Some people would abuse any substance out there. Food is an addiction for some. Look at all the fat people.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 5:56 AM, robman8028 wrote:

    while growing up my father was an achoholic and eventually it killed him, anyways, I remember him trying to quit and he saw aliens and spiders and a bunch of imaginary things that scared the crap out of him. This was a legal substance and yet it took his life and the withdrawal was very harsh on him. I learned to hate alcohol. Today I am 46 years old and for 30 years of my life I smoked pot. Two months ago I quit so I could start looking for a good job in electronics, as I finished college with a 3.87 gpa in a 4 year degree. I did all my classes while stoned as I stayed stoned from early in the morning to late at night till I went to bed from being tired of studying. Today I am clean of thc and not one bit of withdrawal. Do I feel better? yes. Do I miss smoking pot? yes. Do I think it has affected my life? yes. Do I think it affected my life in a good way or bad way? both... good- I hurt all the time at my joints and smoking pot alleviates the pain. Bad- I spent two years in a max security prison for growing one pot plant in the 80s. Today the doctor gives me pain meds-oxycodone. wtf! I take them when I absolutely need to because I know they are addictive, I have to drive at times while on them and I know my driving abilities are impaired and I feel sleepy all the time when taking them. Yet they are legal! I have a hard time understanding why pot is illegal and drugs such as that which they give me are legal.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 5:59 AM, robman8028 wrote:

    let me smoke my pot for gods sake and stop deciding which pain killers are good for me and stop feeding addictive pain meds to the public!

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 7:58 AM, old1215 wrote:

    Home grown tomatoes. We should treat mj like we do home grown tomatoes. If we take the money out of the pot business, we will certainly take the criminal interest out.(gov included) Do they not realize that the billions of dollars a year going to the cartels and courts would not just disappear?

    It would remain in our economy, in the form of new car payments, mortgages, and more spending.

    People who like tomatoes would have all the tomatoes they want. If you have a bumper crop, you give your neighbor who likes tomatoes some. No worries if you don't like tomatoes. Friendly and abundant supply. Greed kills all

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 8:23 AM, old1215 wrote:

    Even the medical mj industry is all about the money.I participate occasionally and live in a community of growers and users and have not paid for a single stick in years. We share our supply with like-minded people and have no interest other than the benefits mj affords to certain individuals. When the money is removed, only people with genuine interest will remain. The allure of the dangerous will disappear, the curiosity factor will play out quicker, and pot will be a non-factor in a matter of a few short years. Mj users will not have to delve into the world of meth and crack dealers just to find a nug. It will naturally evolve away from drug dealers to care givers.

    Police can focus on real crime and jails would be free to house real criminals again.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 8:36 AM, beansdad wrote:

    "if marijuana becomes legal, the call for tight regulatory control could come into play. In 2006, The New York Times reported that the FDA had issued a report finding "no sound scientific studies" that support the use of marijuana for medical purposes, so more clinical evidence for efficacy may be necessary."

    If that is the case, please explain to me how it is possible that the government holds the patent rights to the medicinal qualities of MJ ? US Patent # 6,630,507. Applied for in 97, granted in 03. TEN YEARS AGO. Guess the whole wacky "schedule 1 drug" thing, which by their OWN definition means it is totally & completely worthless as far as medical use is concerned, only applies to citizens... not their government. If anyone can satisfactorily explain that to me, I would LOVE to hear the explanation. I sincerely doubt it is because of national security...

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 11:18 AM, shepperd wrote:

    I suffer from both Glaucoma and epilepsy. The meds that I am prescribed don't work, but Drs. continue to push the pills and drops at me. Likely big pharma will see to it that their Christmas is bright. I don't know if mj would help but my state, being in the Bible belt, will not consider that God created M/J and man created the harmful drugs that are legal.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 11:47 AM, zookr wrote:

    Why not Kentucky? - to give the tobacco growers another option now that less & less people are smoking cigarettes. Makes sense to me -

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 1:58 PM, Efernal wrote:

    There is one reason it hasn't become legal on the fed level and that is money. Tobacco you are allowed to grow anywhere you want. Problem is to become self sustaining you are going to need to grow alot of plants. With Marijuana however 1 plant can produce enough "fruit" to last a month or more depending on the users usage. someone with a large garden could grow enough to keep alot of people happy.

    As and example with tobacco you might need 100 plants for 1 person per year.

    With Marijuana you might need 5 plants to supply 1 person for a year.

    If you take that plausible possibility into account the government stands no chance on making any money from it if they do decide to make it legal in the same way tobacco or alcohol is. A user will ask themselves why buy from a store at an inflated price when it is legal to produce it yourself or buy it from a friend who grows it in their garden?

    After all it is not illegal to grow hops or tobacco and sell them to whoever wants it. They are classified as commodities to be openly sold on the market publicly or privately and without too much government interference, If any at all if the deals are small enough. After all when was last time you herd about someone getting arrested for selling a pound of tobacco leaves?

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 2:07 PM, Tutt1410 wrote:

    Reading the article from beginning to end on the surface would give an impression the author put alot of work into research and writing however, that assumption would be deceptive for a number of reasons. Beginning with the most obvious, the ten states listed as those most likely to benefit from legalizing and . . . ahem . . . engaging in the marijuana trade - with the exception of California - are the very states least likely to support its cultivation and growth - and that's likely to be one of the most important elements in any calculation of sales projections. Let's say a state that does not have the best marijuana growing conditions does pass legislative measures that de-criminalize marijuana possession and even goes as far as legalizing sales of the drug in the state - wouldn't it be safe to assume the "product" has to come from somewhere - and if that turns out to be the case - would that fact make it nearly impossible to predict a state's projected income from year to year?

    Interestingly the article omitted the states whose climates would support optimum marijuana cultivation and growth periods although it's been an established fact that nearly 3/4 of the states are experiencing annual budget shortfalls and have experienced serious state budget issues for the past six years (recall Stimulus funds) - could it be because most of them are Southern states? Hmmmmm.

    I don't smoke marijuana and don't knock those that do but, I can't help but wonder how accurate any poll regarding recreational marijuana use would be without those being questioned wondering exactly who would have access to that information - and fudging their answers just in case. If I did smoke - I probably wouldn't even be honest with my own doctor if he were to ask point-blank if I "used" marijuana - unless he had a chest x-ray in his hand and had a worried look on his face. Just saying the real numbers of recreational marijuana "users" could be really hard to predict - but it's probably a safe bet it's OK tomultiply whatever figure comes up.

    Also, I don't agree that a state contemplating shoring up budget gaps with marijuana sales would find federal law an impossible obstacle primarily because - isn't it the federal government that's looking to hire an experienced "drug

    czar"? Ah - the deliciousness of a federal drug czar with experience and a "past!"

    It's probably safe to assume the feds are also tempted by the tens of billions to be had in regulating and enforcing THC content and quality on the states - and how else but by becoming the Monsanto of marijuana seed sourcing.

    It could be worse - we could be discussing the pros vs cons of cocaine legalization and distribution - which by the way was legal in the U.S. until the late 1930's. My, how far we've not come.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 4:41 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @efernal says:

    >>>"A user will ask themselves why buy from a store at an inflated price when it is legal to produce it yourself or buy it from a friend who grows it in their garden?"

    It seems you answered your own question with:

    >>>"After all it is not illegal to grow hops or tobacco and sell them to whoever wants it."

    Right. And since there are huge commercial beer and tobacco markets, with few people growing/making their own, it shows Americans like their convenience. Most consumers will always prefer to buy the herb at the store.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 5:11 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @Tutt1410 says:

    >>>"It's probably safe to assume the feds are also tempted by the tens of billions to be had in regulating and enforcing THC content and quality on the states - and how else but by becoming the Monsanto of marijuana seed sourcing."

    They may want that, but won't get it. A central pillar of marijuana reform is home growing. The movement doesn't end until we get there. It's amazing Colorado has already arrived.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 6:28 PM, RightousWay99 wrote:

    Listen, we learned at school that Marijuana causes cancer, brain damage, pre-mature death, and unwanted violence.

    It is listed as a Schedule 1 drug for a REASON, and it has been illegal and banned for almost a Century for a REASON, so enough, just leave it that way.

    Granted, yes Marijuana may help with chemo patients suffering from lack of appetite but as far as concrete scientific evidence regarding other benefits, we just are not there yet.

    Honestly, all this medical mumbo jumbo is just another poor excuse for addicts to satisfy their sad habits. We already have other addictions to deal with such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription pills that are already legal, DONT add another, is my point.

    I'm really tired of this whole argument debate and I'm sorry but this stuff just has no purpose on Earth whatsoever~ TRUST me.. =(

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 9:27 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @RightousWay99 wrote:

    >>>"we learned at school that Marijuana causes cancer, brain damage, pre-mature death, and unwanted violence."

    Did they REALLY tell you all that at school? They were wrong on all counts, as we have shown here. You never thought to verify that BS?

    >>>"it has been illegal and banned for almost a Century for a REASON,"

    Right. It was a monstrously destructive FRAUD perpetrated by soon-to-be-out-of-work alcohol prohibition bureaucrat, Harry Anslinger, in 1937. He desperately wanted a new empire and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The counter-productive, freedom-strangling fraud has never accomplished one positive thing. It has ONLY caused vast amounts of crime, violence, corruption, death, and the severe diminishment of everyone's freedom..

    >>>"so enough, just leave it that way."

    No way in Hades, hater. More than 800,000 innocent Americans are arrested for simple marijuana possession each year and made second-class citizens - for life! They will forever face huge obstacles to decent employment, education, travel, housing, government benefits, and will always go into court with one strike against them. They can even have their children taken away!

    20 million Americans are now locked away in this very un-American sub-class. That has a horrible effect on the whole country, being an incredible waste of human potential.

    >>>"Granted, yes Marijuana may help with chemo patients suffering from lack of appetite but as far as concrete scientific evidence regarding other benefits, we just are not there yet."

    Wrong again. We now have hundreds of studies confirming the medical efficacy of marijuana for a wide variety of ailments. After we end the fraud of marijuana prohibition, research will explode and we'll have thousands.

    Marijuana is not addictive. Addiction involves severe withdrawal symptoms that compel continuous use to be avoided. Marijuana doesn't have them. That's one of the reasons it's so popular.

    >>>"I'm really tired of this whole argument debate"

    I'm not surprised. Prohibitionists haven't been able to win a fair debate since the arrival of the Internet. The truth of marijuana's near harmless nature is now common knowledge.

    >>>"this stuff just has no purpose on Earth"

    As wrong as you could be. Besides the myriad medical uses, every person who switches from addictive, very harmful alcohol, to near harmless marijuana, improves their health and life tremendously - as well as that of their family and community.

    http://marijuana-uses.com/read/

    You are so committed to lies and propaganda, you have divorced yourself from reality. Get help.

  • Report this Comment On December 24, 2013, at 11:40 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @msbii - I shouldn't respond, since you are clearly here to sell your dubious product, but it's a slow night.

    >>>"it ties in to sickness disease in the body, homosexuality, lesbianism, soul possession (You may even hear voices)"

    So you're saying that instead of having medical benefits, it causes sickness and disease? Which ones? This is certainly news.

    It causes straight people to be gay? Wow. another news flash. You have some research to back up that astonishing claim, right?

    And soul possession? My, my..... Explain that one. This should be good.

    Please don't tell me to buy your recordings for the answers. This is a public forum of freely exchanged ideas - not a flea market.

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2013, at 6:19 AM, Widowmaker6 wrote:

    DO NOT LET THE GOVERNMENT get involved with pot - they will ruin the experience like they did healthcare - DECRIMINALIZE YES ! but legalize with government control NO WAY - grow your own just like tomatoes but do not let the government regulate it !!!

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2013, at 7:51 AM, glennt wrote:

    Maryland wants to make "pot" legal.You would be able to by up 1 ounce plus they want you to also

    pay a $50.00 tax. Said " if we make it legal it would

    cut out the markets and some crime on the streets" I myself I have never used " pot " but if I did I sure as heck would not go to a place that sells

    it and pay a $50.00 tax. I am gonna look for the guy on the street, he is going to be their some where and buying it from him would be a whole lot cheaper. People in power most are not to bright.

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2013, at 9:57 AM, oldmutt1949 wrote:

    Dumbing down America with another drug isn't the answer to the nations problems.

    Alcohol abuse causes far more destruction to health, families, accidents, loss of work then it's taxes pay for.

    Marijuana will be no different evident by the numbers of people in emergency rooms in Colorado, deaths at construction sites ( Philadelphia ) zombies stumbling around in a haze who can't even get their kids off to school ( ask the teachers )

    So a growing number of American hogs want the right to pig out on another drug while the government wants to make money off it.

    No nation can oink itself into the future on self indulgence of sex, drugs and greed. The greatest threat to America is not some foreign country but the self loving, self destructive character of it's people. Martin Luther King said "Judge us by our character not our race."

    Any nation that does the above while slaughtering 56 million babies is close to being brought into judgement.

    2 Timothy Chapter 3 is the sign of the times.

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2013, at 12:50 PM, Dalgast wrote:

    All you covered is the benefit for smokers. What about the benefit to the states that make it legal and grow it. I'd say any state in the south east United states could rake in some major revenues

  • Report this Comment On December 25, 2013, at 5:51 PM, JohnThomas wrote:

    @Widowmaker6 and glennt

    I agree the capitalist system (which has hijacked our government) has shown it is slowly self-destructing with its concentration of wealth/resources/power into an ever-shrinking number of hands.

    Marijuana, and all of the earth's gifts, should just be free to those who want them. And we should all just work for the joy of providing for each other.

    Unfortunately, we can't let our need for a new societal structure distract us from ending the American Inquisition. So, for now, we just need to re-legalize marijuana.

    After the dust settles on fairly regulated marijuana, average quality pot will sell for around $50 an ounce, plus $20 to $30 in taxes. It's just a plant.

  • Report this Comment On December 26, 2013, at 12:35 AM, JohnThomas wrote:

    oldmutt1949 wrote:

    >>>"Dumbing down America with another drug isn't the answer to the nations problems."

    Countries that have reduced, or eliminated, penalties for marijuana have less use than the U.S. The Netherlands has HALF the rate of consumption we do. So if you really wanted less consumption, you would support ending the fraudulent prohibition that makes marijuana into a more attractive forbidden fruit.

    >>>"Alcohol abuse causes far more destruction to health, families, accidents, loss of work then it's taxes pay for. - Marijuana will be no different evident by the numbers of people in emergency rooms in Colorado"

    Hmm. What are those numbers? - Research shows marijuana is not a signficant cause of auto accidents. It is only inexperienced consumers that go to the hospital when they smoke too much. That can cause a panic attack, but it doesn't cause any real danger. The "treatment" having them rest, and perhaps take a mild sedative. They can do the same thing better - and cheaper - at home.

    >>>"deaths at construction sites"

    Provide proof of that, please. If it did happen somewhere, it would be so rare, it would be the exception that proves the rule of marijuana's extremely safe nature. Further, no one in marijuana reform advocates for consumption on the job. That's a straw-man argument.

    >>>"zombies stumbling around in a haze"

    Nobody buys the silly demonization anymore. SAMHSA research determined more than 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana. That's near HALF the of-age population. There are an estimated 30 million current consumers. The vast majority consume moderately - on the weekends or less, and are successful, hard-working, respected members of their communities. They are from all walks of life and loved by the families they support.

    Marijuana is as American as apple pie - and healthier.

    >>>"No nation can oink itself into the future on self indulgence of sex, drugs and greed."

    You've got it backwards, mutt. That's the way it is now, largely because we have based our culture on the most destructive recreational drug - alcohol.

    >>>"The greatest threat to America is not some foreign country but the self loving, self destructive character of it's people."

    That's another good reason to end the counter-productive marijuana prohibition. Every person who switches from addictive, very harmful alcohol, to near harmless marijuana, improves their health and life tremendously - as well as the life of their family and community.

    There is no more loving, noble and idealistic people than the Rainbow Family - the inheritors of the great hippie legacy. This is directly inspired by the enlightening sacrament - cannabis.

    You need to find a religion that is not based on so much blind hate.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 11:53 PM, LETSDOIT wrote:

    with all due respect. GOD PLANTED THE SEED WHEN HE CREATED THIS WONDERFUL WORLD. THE INDIANS USED IT FOR PEACE. LOVE. NOT WAR. THE FOLKS IN THE GOVERNMENT USE IT JUST NOT TELL THE TRUTH. THEY GROW IN MISSISSIPPI. FOR THE GOVERNMENT. FOR GOODNESS SAKE. JUST MAKE IT LEGAL EVERYWHERE. THE FEDERAL AND DEA NEED TO FOCUS ON THE OTHER DRUGS. METH, COCAINE DRUNK DRIVERS TO AN ISLAND. SO THEY CAN BE CRAZY ALL IN ONE PLACE. AMEN GOD BLESS AMERICA

    PUT PRAYER AND PLEDGE BACK IN OUR SCHOOLS, AND CHURCHES, AS WELL EVERY ONE NEED TO ACCEPT JESUS AS THEIR PERSONAL SAVIOR AND THIS WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE. IN JESUS NAME AMEN. PRAISE GOD ALWAYS LOVE YA

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