No matter how you feel about the legalization of recreational or medical marijuana, there’s no denying its impact on local and state economies.
A recent report from the publication Leafly and the consulting services firm Whitney Economics offers an in-depth look at the positive economic effects that the legal marijuana industry has had on the states in which the drug has been legalized.
The report focuses on job creation, noting that the U.S. of Bureau of Labor Statistics does not count marijuana industry job gains. The report also looks at tax revenue on legal marijuana sales, which it says hit $10.8 billion in 2018.
Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use of marijuana. Seven of those states impose taxes on revenue-producing marijuana stores — typically, at rates that are 10% to 37% higher than the local sales tax.
The seven states — and the amount of marijuana tax revenue they brought in last year — are:
Washington state — $319 million
California — $300 million
Colorado — $266 million
Oregon — $94.4 million
Nevada — $69.8 million
Alaska — $11 million
Massachusetts — $5.2 million
Note: The figure for Massachusetts only reflects the estimated marijuana tax revenue that the state brought in since its adult-marijuana-use retail market opened in November.
In the other four places where adult recreational use of marijuana is legal, there are no marijuana stores open, according to the report. Those places are:
So, where is all of that marijuana tax revenue going exactly? According to the report, the taxes often go to support jobs in school construction, drug abuse prevention programs, medical research and other areas. These aren’t the type of jobs that are the focus of the report, however.
RELATED: Take a look at the health benefits of marijuana:
Health benefits of marijuana
Health benefits of marijuana
Cannabis has been found to help slow tremors and pain in Parkinson's patients. According to Medical News Today, the compounds in marijuana help to "reduce the effects of reduced dopamine in the brain".
A study conducted by Israeli scientists found smoking marijuana helped reduce these tremors. "We not only saw improvement in tremor in these patients, but also in rigidity and in bradykinesia," said researcher Ruth Djaldetti.
Furthermore, marijuana has been found to slow the progression of Parkinson's because of its antioxidant qualities.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology describes glaucoma as a condition in which the optic nerve is damaged over long periods of time. It can limit vision and sometimes lead to blindness.
The link between glaucoma and marijuana has been studied since the 1970s, as smoking marijuana has been found to lower eye pressure. Doctors are working on ways to elongate the effects of marijuana.
The American Cancer Society claims that the drug can also lower pain, reduce inflammation and calm anxieties of not just chemo patients, but patients suffering from a chronic illness or disease.
Scientists have found that cannabinoids, one of the many chemical compounds found in the plant, can inhibit tumor growth. It was particularly effective in the inhibition of colon cancer.
According to an article published by CNN Health, marijuana may be beneficial for Alzheimer's patients. It was found that THC, an ingredient in cannabis, blocks inflammation in the brain and "stimulates the removal of toxic plaque".
Marijuana has also been used to help dementia patients. Author and doctor David Casarett told CNN, "I spoke to many family members of people with mild or moderate dementia who believed that THC or whole-plant marijuana was effective in alleviating the confusion and agitation that sometimes occurs."
5. Skin Diseases
It is widely known that marijuana possesses antiinflammatory benefits, helpful to patients who suffer from arthritis and cancer, amongst many others.
A study published by the University of Colorado found that using the drug topically can alleviate pain and "may be effective against eczema, psoriasis, atopic and contact dermatitis. More and more dermatologists are encouraging the use of cannabinoid cream.
6. Stroke victims
Cannabis and stroke victims is an interesting topic of study for many researchers, some of whom contend the drug can "shrink" the damaged area of the brain.
Doctors, who tested the drug on mice, rats and monkeys, believe the chemical "shows promise as a neuroprotective treatment for stroke”, according to the Huffington Post.
Advocates have argued that marijuana can provide immense relief for patients, specifically veterans, who suffer from PTSD. In states like New Mexico, "medical marijuana is legally prescribed for PTSD".
A study conducted by the University of Haifa fond that marijuana helped block the "development" and progression of PTSD in rats. But, researchers explain, that there is a critical window of what marijuana can do.
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A ‘job-creation machine’
The report analyzes past and potential job growth in legal marijuana sales, one of America’s fastest-growing industries. There are now more than 211,000 such full-time jobs in the United States. More than 64,000 of those jobs were created in 2018 alone.
“These are high-quality positions with openings at all levels of experience … Many offer benefits and quick advancement,” the report states.
Most self-employed taxpayers can deduct health insurance premiums, including age-based premiums for long-term care coverage. Write-offs are available whether or not you itemize, if you meet the requirements.