Opinion: Another 4/20, another change for America


Jennifer Hutchinson is a freshman political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Jennifer Hutchinson

It looks as if the support for legalizing marijuana is flying high. This year’s 4/20 has made more news than ever before. With two states permitting pot for recreational use and 21 others permitting it for medical use, it’s obvious that America’s view on pot is changing, and fast.

The Huffington Post reports that a dozen more states are on the road to legalization, and with the booming business behind marijuana sales, it’s hard to see why not.

Colorado made $5 million in taxed and regulated revenue in its first week of recreational pot sales. The pot business could prove to be a lucrative one, not just for Colorado, but for the whole country.

The Huffington Post reports on a study that predicts marijuana becoming a $10 billion industry by 2018. This economic success would not only be contributed to taxes placed on pot, but also to the companies who supply and help maintain marijuana dispensaries. America changing its long-time stance on pot might just be the economic rebound we need.

Along with the money made from pot sales, there’s also money to be saved. Annually, we arrest over 750,000 people for marijuana. If marijuana were to be dropped as a Schedule 1 substance, think of how much our state and federal governments would save on marijuana-related incarcerations. It’s quite a stretch to put pot in the same category as both heroin and LSD. However, this classification could likely change as more research is being done on pot’s real effects.

Just recently, President Barack Obama signed the Farm Bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the 12 states that permit it. However, even with the federal government becoming more relaxed on the issue, there are still a number of barriers for pot businesses.

One of the made hindrances is that banks are reluctant to work with such businesses in fear that they might be accused of money laundering if they use traditional banking services. However, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) doesn’t see this being a problem for long.

“I think it’s game over in less than five years,” he stated in an interview. “There’s no question that we’re likely to see another state or two this year legalizing [recreational] use. We’re going to see more medical marijuana progress. The crazy prohibitions on bank services and probably the tax disparities — these are all eroding.”

I’d have to agree with Representative Blumenauer. America’s stance on legalizing pot is drastically changing, and I believe we are only trying to pro-long the inevitable. This is nothing more than a repeat of the prohibition of alcohol. It didn’t work then, and it’s not going to work now.

There is so much potential behind the pot industry. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty high-demand item. The amount of revenues and funds saved from its legalization could be a successful economic stimulant for this entire country.

While its use still remains a morality issue, it won’t be this way for long. There are too many gains and not enough blatant consequences for marijuana not to be legalized.

How recreational pot use should be regulated and criminalized is still up in the air, but we need to start heading in that direction and looking toward its future in America. Until then, its fight is only getting stronger.

Editor’s note: Due to an editor’s error it was said that Colorado made $55 million in taxed and regulated revenue in its first week of recreational pot sales. The correct amount was $5 million, and the article has been updated to reflect this correction.