There has never been more support from mainstream America to legalize cannabis.
- According to an October 2016 Gallup poll, American support for legalizing cannabis is at 60 percent, the highest it’s been in 47 years, and a 2015 Harris pollfound a staggering 81 percent of Americans support legalization of cannabis for medical use.
- There are now 28 states and the District of Columbia that have chosen to create regulated cannabis programs, including four of the five most populated states in the nation. More than 20 percent of the US population lives in states that allow adults 21 and older to legally consume cannabis, and more than 60 percent of the population lives in a state where medical cannabis access is legal.
- Support for legalization has only grown as existing programs in state-legal markets and the District of Columbia provide access to life-changing treatments for critically ill patients, empowered responsible small business owners over criminal dealers and cartels, and generated valuable economic development, jobs, and revenues for strapped state budgets.
- More than 20% of the U.S. population lives in states that allow adults 21 and older to legally consume cannabis, and more than 60% of the population lives in a state where medical cannabis access is legal
The cannabis industry in California generates tens of thousands of jobs and tens of millions in economic activity each year.
- The new industry has a projected value of $7 billion, and state and local governments could eventually collect $1 billion a year in taxes, is expected to reach nearly $22 billion—that’s bigger than the NFL—by 2020.
- Vivien Azer, a cannabisanalyst with Cowen, believes the nation’s legal market will grow nine-fold over the next decade, with consumer spending on recreational and medical cannabis hitting $50 billion by 2026.
- Los Angeles’ medical cannabis market alone is already close to $1 billion, easily overshadowing Colorado’s entire market.
- Los Angeles is expected to pass Proposition M in the spring of 2017. That will clear the path for a proper licensing program and open up the recreational market.
- In Colorado alone, the cannabis industry has already created more than 18,000 jobs and generated $1.3 billion in 2016. A recent study determined that every dollar spent on retail cannabis in Colorado generated $2.40 in economic impact.
- It is no secret that the cannabis industry is growing faster than the .dot boom of late 90s.
- The sector has created an estimated 123,000 good paying jobs for Americans. According to a recent report by Leafly, more than 43,000 jobs in sector have been created in California alone.
- Jobs that pay well, an average of $20.50/hour, nearly double California’s minimum wage and a whooping 65% higher than the national average.
Incarcerating Otherwise Law-Abiding People for Cannabis Is A Wasting of Taxpayers’ Dollars
- While some states have implemented responsible laws, and other have decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, other states still make cannabis possession a misdemeanor or even a felony.
- Data shows that current laws on the books are often enforced in racially biased ways. Coupled enforcement issues with a system that coerces guilty pleas, the consequences can be devastating for individuals charged with cannabis.
- The loss of a job, the right to vote, court fines, and other penalties, along with the stigma of a conviction when trying to secure work, an apartment or home, or accessing benefits and other programs can be devastating.
- The cost to identify, arrest, prosecute, sentence, incarcerate, and supervise people for cannabis possession are tax dollars that could be better spent. In fact, according to a report by Harvard economics professor Jeffery Miron, which was endorsed by three Nobel Laureates in economics and 500+ economists, the combined savings and tax revenues from legal, regulated cannabis in a single year would be between $10 billion and $14 billion.
Quick Facts within the Los Angeles Minority Cannabis Community
- Los Angeles has more dispensaries than the entire state of Colorado.
- L.A.’s population is nearly three-fourths minority.
- The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that only about 1 percent of weed business owners are African American and people of color.
- 70 to 80 percent of marijuana-related arrests nationwide happen “in communities of color,” according to the Drug Policy Alliance.
Racially Biased Laws: Impacting People, Not Kingpins
- According to the ACLU, the majority of the people police arrested for cannabis are not kingpins, but rather individuals with small amounts of cannabis.
- Cannabis arrests are not evenly distributed across the population, but are disproportionately imposed on African Americans.
- The ACLU’s original analysis shows that cannabis arrests now account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States.
- Of the 8.2 million cannabis arrests between 2001 and 2010, 88 percent were for simply having cannabis. Nationwide, the arrest data revealed one consistent trend: a significant racial bias.
- Despite roughly equal usage rates, African Americans are nearly four times more likely than Caucasians to be arrested for cannabis. At the same time, African Americans only makeup 12 percent of the population of drug users, yet the NAACP reports that 59 percent of the people incarcerated for drug offenses.
- At the same time, Caucasians are more likely to deal drugs, but African Americans are more likely to be arrested for dealing drugs. Humans Rights Watch has also reported that though 74 percent of regular cannabis users are non-Hispanic whites and 14 percent are black, African Americans make up 30 percent of all cannabis arrests.