Last blog we wrote about the impending legalization of cannabis for recreational use and the potential obstacles. In the last week we have confirmed that the German recreational cannabis market will be up and running by December. The Czech Republic has stated just this week that cannabis is an integral part of their future development. The US needs to decide whether or not they want to lead or follow in terms supplying the European market. For our part we would prefer to lead so here is our contribution to that end.
Problems of Legalization
The problem of legalization is all too real. Cannabis has had a lot of bad press over the last 90+ years and it is difficult to repair the image. Fortunately the acceptance of cannabis as medicine is widely supported. This is the top reason that people support cannabis legalization.
Other major reasons people cite in support of legalization are; it will free up law enforcement resources to focus on real crimes. It will create a solid flow of tax revenue for the states and counties. Regulation would make it safer for end-users. Cannabis use is a matter of personal freedom of choice.
The objections to legalization are familiar at this point. They include the fear there will be an increase in automobile accidents amongst cannabis users. The old “cannabis is a gateway drug” objection, cannabis use will lead to using harder more addictive drugs. Cannabis is its self an addictive drug. Dispensaries drive down property values and attract the “wrong element”. As a result there will be an increase crime rates.
Set Them Up To Knock Them Down
Most of us are familiar with the pro legalization positions, even if some of us are still on the fence. So we going to look at the anti legalization positions starting THC and an increase in car accidents. There have been exhaustive studies conducted to this end, if you want to do a deeper dive on that you can here. There is, of course, ample reason to believe that at higher quantities THC would inhibit a drivers ability drive normally.
The truth is, however, that there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case. States inside the EU and the US do now have legal limits for the amount of THC that can be in the blood stream while driving. The conclusion is that there is some evidence that there could be an issue with cannabis and driving but it would not represent the significant increase that opponents of legalization claim.
Cannabis is a gateway drug. This is a tricky one. There have been multiple studies conducted in the last few years where the evidence seems to show that there is a connection between cannabis and the likelihood of using other drugs. The results of the studies were called into question by the people who conducted the studies. Poor quality of data and flawed study methodology were cited as the main reasons.
Property Values And Bad Elements
Another reason for opposing legalization in general and dispensaries specifically is the belief that dispensaries will attract the wrong elements. If there is a dispensary in the neighborhood it will attract “druggies and addicts” which will drive property values down and be bad for business.
The truth is that property values will often go up by 7% when a new dispensary opens nearby. This is the same increase when a grocery store opens in a neighborhood. A dispensary is essentially considered a convenience. One study with Zwillow found that “between April 2017 and April 2021, property values rose $17,113 more in states where recreational marijuana is legal, compared to states where marijuana is illegal or limited to medicinal use.” You can read more about that here.
As for attracting the wrong element. In this case we believe the fear is that having a dispensary in your neighborhood will lead to an increase in crime. This belief is based on the idea that drug prohibition reduces crime and that legalization will increase crime. The reality is that legalization naturally reduces crime because that activity is no longer illegal. In regard to dispensaries, there is no evidence that opening a dispensary has any impact on crime.
Overall the net outcome of legalization is generally positive. The increase in tax revenue for states that have legalized is measurable. The reduction in cannabis incarceration and prosecution has dropped considerably. Additionally continued legalization has led to a reduction in cross-border smuggling and according to the Border Control, safer borders.
There are other benefits both direct and indirect but this will do for now. Next week we will be back on topic with more of the practical benefits of CBD. So get out there and have a great weekend and we will see you next week.