Is Hemp Legal In USA? Marijuana Is Legal In Which States? Hemp is legal nationwide in USA, and CBD from hemp plants is legal in all 50 states of the USA. Hemp, as well as marijuana, is legal in Canada for both recreational and medicinal purposes. But marijuana is only legal in some US states (see map below.)
Opinions on the economics of legalizing marijuana are mixed. But anyone who has an opinion on the issue says that at the least the U.S. tax deficit could be paid off by taxing pot. The open discussion revolving marijuana legalization is a multifaceted issue.
Marijuana Legalization – Is Hemp Legal In USA?
California, Washington and Colorado were the first to lead the charge toward legal reefer in USA, but even the number crunchers in those states are a little hazy on dollar and cent specifics.
Years ago, the Washington State Department of Finance released this rather puzzling statement: “The Washington State Office of Financial Management has released its report on the economic impact of Initiative 502 (the legal marijuana initiative that Washington voters passed last November). According to the report, the state could rake in nearly $2 billion in the first five years after the legalization of marijuana, or it could take in nothing at all.”
The statement is a classic in the great marijuana debate, which an array of surveys now show that more than two of three in the U.S. polled favor marijuana legalization.
Now that hemp has been legal nationwide, and marijuana is legal in some states, the tax benefit has been shown to be positive. And thus, more states have since followed suit.
Map From Wikipedia: In What USA States Is Marijuana Legal?
What Are The Implications Of Legalizing Marijuana (Or Not?)
SoHazy.com dug into the issue of marijuana legalization in USA to see if we could ferret out the economic sense of legalized marijuana, or at least understand why the answers are so elusive. This is what we found.
Tax revenue will go up, but by how much? According to research, about 6.9% of the population admit to using marijuana at the present time. (Pause for eye rolls from state universities coast to coast and other studies showing as much as 30% of the U.S. population).
If marijuana were to be legal tomorrow on a national basis, it is estimated that the usage number would climb to at least 18%.
So it stands to reason that, if marijuana were to be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes, state governments would realize almost $200 billion dollars in tax revenue a year, right? Wrong, and here’s why.
Pot’s price point would plummet. Hemp (cannabis sativa), from whence marijuana, is derived, is a hardy plant that will grow in much of the country. Warm summer days, medium-high relative humidity, add fertilizer, and you have a cash crop. Certainly, demand will be higher once legality is gained nationwide, but supply will outrun demand by a very wide margin.
Add in the fact that security and remote maintenance will no longer be necessary, and you have an easy-to-grow, easy-to maintain crop. The price of a high could go down by as much as 60-65%.
What Is The Economic Impact Of Marijuana Legalization?
So you’re telling me that the economic impact to my individual state will be negligible, right? Wrong, and here’s why.
Jail and prison populations would shrink dramatically. An estimated 71% of county jail and 58% of state prison populations are due to non-violent drug charges.
Extended incarceration for simple possession is on the decline but offenders are still ferried into and through jail on their way to court in many states.
Add to that longer stays behind bars for charges such as conspiracy to distribute and possession greater than what would be reasonable for personal use. The result is an overcrowded detention system that causes prisons to be a growth industry.
Shrink the inmate population and the $71,000 a year that it costs to house, feed, clothe, and guard a single offender declines.
So we know for sure that’s a net revenue bonanza for my state…right? Wrong, and here’s why.
Unemployment. Small time drug inmates cooling their heels in county jail isn’t a good thing. It does take them off the employment market, however. Recent jobless figures have been positive.
Empty half of the nation’s jail and prison population on to the job market and see what happens to those very same numbers.
I’m not sure what to make of all this. Neither is anyone else. What we know is that marijuana legalization is a coming tide and there are all sorts of propaganda to back up all the arguments.