Cannabis is enjoying a major public-image improvement. After all, we’ve learned that the THC in marijuana has medicinal uses, while the plant fibers in hemp have countless uses in manufacturing. The legitimacy of marijuana is growing as states legalize it and corporations invest substantial resources in cannabinoid research and development.
(Article by Austin Smith, republished from http://www.usatoday.com/story/sponsor-story/motley-fool/2016/05/17/motley-fool-marijuana-stats/84326712/)
No matter your stance on cannabis, you should get to know the world’s most high-profile plant. So here are some facts and figures on marijuana that may surprise or impress you:
In Colorado, (legal) sales of recreational and medical marijuana totaled nearly $1 billion in 2015
Marijuana is a bigger business than many people realize. Although some are worried about the long-term health effects of marijuana use, it’s clear that legalization comes with some benefits to society — namely, more jobs and tax revenue. In 2014, Colorado collected $76 million in total marijuana-related taxes, and it had collected an additional $87 million from January through August of 2015 — and much of that revenue went to schools. Indeed, the state collects more from marijuana taxes than from alcohol taxes. Personal-finance website NerdWallet estimated that full nationwide legalization could bring in more than $3 billion in annual tax revenue to our 50 states.
About 700,000 people are arrested annually on marijuana-related charges
That’s a lot of people — and most of them are not dangerous drug kingpins or even local distributors. Fully 88% of those arrested in 2014 were arrested for possession of marijuana, often in small amounts. In fact, a whopping 40% of all drug-related arrests in 2014 were for marijuana possession and not production or sale. That’s a huge drain on our criminal justice and penal systems, suggesting that there could be substantial taxpayer savings if restrictions on the drug were relaxed or the drug were legalized.