OP-ED: Legalizing marijuana is beneficial

Jospeh Kamin, Editor-in-Chief

In Jan. 2014 Colorado, passed Colorado Amendment 64. This amendment legalized marijuana for recreational use in the state.

Over the course of four years, the state of Colorado has brought in $892.27 million through taxes and fees on marijuana. The state is set to exceed one billion by the end of this fiscal year.

With California legalizing marijuana in Jan. 2018, the revenue brought in by the state has still not been reported, but several estimates are showing numbers exponentially higher than Colorado.

Along with the additional revenue to the state, the Colorado Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have all published data that corroborated the fact that there has been a decrease of crime in the state of Colorado. The only crime that has spiked, is that of public consumption of marijuana.

The revenue brought in by the state is being put right back into the community.  The money has been used to improve schools’ facilities, start a marijuana education campaign for youth and fund anti-bullying campaigns in public schools. Along with the education benefits for the state, the funds have also been used in the Colorado Department of Agriculture for pesticide control, inspection services and for 4-H club.

It is irrefutable that marijuana has helped to vitalize Colorado.

According to a population estimate by the United States Census Bureau, Colorado has a population of 5.6 million. Per the same estimate, Texas has a population of 28.3 million.

This drastic difference in population would mean that Texas could make exponentially more than Colorado in tax revenue from marijuana.

The revenue that could be brought in from marijuana taxes could fix many of the current issues that are plaguing Texas. According to several reports that have been published, Texas ranks 43 out of all of the states in national educational rating.  This abysmally low ranking is one of the several areas where Texas is lackluster. Texas is ranked low in Health Care, Health Care Quality, Quality of Life, Opportunity, Teen Pregnancy, Teen repeat pregnancy and let us not forget the road construction that never seems to end.  However, one of the highest ranking for Texas is the Economy.

If Texas legalized marijuana, it could turn the already existing titan into a colossus among the United States.  Many Texans view their state as an independent country. In fact, the Gross Domestic Product of Texas is nearly equal to that of the entire country of Canada.

With the additional tax revenue, Texas could fix the issues that are listed above, while creating new programs that Texas has never seen before.

While marijuana is obviously a drug, there are other legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco which have worse side effects than marijuana does. Drinking and smoking have both been linked to several types of cancer, along with the accompanying liver and lung damage. Nobody is arguing that marijuana isn’t a vice, but the benefits of legalizing it could have drastic effects on the quality of living in Texas.

If you have read any of my opinion pieces, it is obvious that I’m a democrat. With that being said, it pains me to say all of the following. The revenue from legalizing marijuana could fund a better border wall. If you want to increase the security in schools, marijuana would pay for that. Arming teachers to defend students’ costs money. Training teachers to properly use firearms costs money. Properly outfitting classrooms with the required safes to hold the firearms costs money. I’m not supporting any of these ideas. However, historically the Republican party is opposed to marijuana, while Democrats support it. Many polls show that roughly 80 percent of Democrats support marijuana, while 50 percent of Republicans are in support of legalizing it.

Ignoring partisan agendas and differences, supporting the community is a universal goal. Its no secret that the public school system in Texas is lacking. Many schools in small towns to simply not have the ability to improve their facilities. The educational benefits to Texas could be drastic. Several studies have been done that cite the fact that the more educated a population is, the more that the state is prosperous. However, this isn’t simply college education. This education begins at an early age.

If you want to truly bring about a positive change for the state of Texas, then support legalizing weed.