Opinion: Republicans see the green in legalized pot

By Jonathan Ramirez

 

Pot is harmless. It’s common knowledge, but Republicans are just starting to get it.

Over recent years some Republicans have demonstrated a shift of opinion on the issue of marijuana laws. This recent change of heart is a step towards legalizing a substance that helps this country both medically and economically.

In a Gallup poll that took place in October 2017, it was revealed that for the first time in history the majority of Republicans support marijuana legalization. 51 percent of Republicans held the majority on this issue, a nine point increase from previous years.

At this rate, support for cannabis related laws will cont i nue t o escalat e a nd eventually see widespread national approval, something that was previously thought to be impossible.

There has been a huge boom in tax revenue in states that have legalized pot.

According to CNN Money, after Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana it generated a total of $.5 billion in tax revenue.

Itmakessensefor Republicans in other states to take notice and join the bandwagon.

T he r i se of ma r i ju a na advocates among all political parties such as the Democrats, Republicans and Independents have seemed to all pit against Attorney General Jeff Session’s staunch position on keeping marijuana illegal.

This makes him seem less threatening to those in favor of it. In an article by Vox, President Donald Trump abandoned a threat made by the Department of Justice that involves a crackdown on recreational marijuana in states where it is legal.

Sen. Cory Gardner is a Republican from Colorado who was a fierce opponent of recreational marijuana for a long time.

Once it passed in 2012 he has since become a passionate protector of states rights on marijuana related issues. He must have seen the benefits that arrive with marijuana legalization.

Rep. Tom Garrett of Virginia is an example of a Republican politician that supports marijuana legalization. He introduced a new act called the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

According to the Los Angeles Times, if passed, this act would make marijuana more l ike tobacco and alcohol while taking it off the federal list of controlled substances.

Ending the prohibition of marijuana is paramount. It is an untapped economic resource to a majority of the country that could greatly increase jobs and help end the opioid epidemic.

According to a study by the American Medical Association, the laws for medicinal cannabis have a direct relationship with the reduction of opioid overdose related deaths on a population level.

A study conducted by New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm, found that if fully legalized across the United States it could generate $131.8 billion dollars in tax revenue between the years 2017 and 2025. The tax revenue would be used by the states to reap the benefits.

The same study concluded the industry would create roughly 1.1 million jobs nationwide by 2025 and 782,000 cannabis related jobs would be created if legalized today.

The U.S. is headed in this direction as the opposition in numbers begin to dwindle. This is a good sign for public schools, health agencies, local governments and more to further strengthen the states financially.