Although President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has a known hard-line stance against drugs, he supports the use of medical marijuana. “Medicinal marijuana – yes, because it is really an ingredient of modern medicine now,” he told reporters. He is, however, against the use of the drug for recreational purposes.
This begs the question, what would happen if marijuana is indeed legalized in the Philippines – even just for medical purposes?
Although there have been no reported deaths from marijuana so far compared to alcohol and prescription drugs, there’s still a negative stigma attached to weed, even if there have been documents supporting its benefits.
Let’s take a look at places where they have legalized and/or decriminalized cannabis use. Was there an increase in crime? Was there an increase in burrito consumption? Will the stoned hippie burnouts be the only ones benefitting? Read on and find out.
8. Decriminalizing means less crime
As reported by Forbes, when the government stops arresting and charging you for smoking the reefer, marijuana-based arrests and being prosecuted tend to drop. In 2012, Colorado recorded 12,894 marijuana-based arrests. This fell to 7,004 in 2014, around the same time when voters approved to decriminalize the plant. Law enforcers were then directed to channel their resources on more important things concerning public safety and criminal activity.
Colorado lawmakers were initially sceptical on what would happen if marijuana was made legal. Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver even said “Expect more crime, more kids using marijuana and pot for sale everywhere,” in 2012. However, murder rate has decreased by 42% and violent crime has since gone down by 2% and major property crimes have dipped by 11.5% since legalization in Denver. Legalization also inputs a quality and safety control system, guaranteeing you a quality product unlike getting your weed off the black market.
Think of all the resources a state can save if they can channel it into more worthwhile causes. It was estimated that the US could save up to $13.7 billion from prohibition enforcement costs.
7. Legal weed = jobs
Taking another cue from Colorado, the state generated 10,000 new jobs since legalizing marijuana in 2014. Said jobs include those employed by dispensaries, retail stores, infused product companies, cultivation sites and more. Since legalizing growing and trading pot in 2013, Uruguay has hit violent drug cartels, forcing black market prices and profits to plummet thanks to legal marijuana growers clubs. That’s taking money out of organized crime and hitting them where it hurts. The number of pot farmers has also doubled to 50,000.
Even FARC guerrilla rebels can get jobs in Colombia’s medical marijuana industry once a peace deal is finalized. Then, they end five decades of internal armed conflict.
Given the new jobs that legalization will bring, think about the numerous people who have been idle—now they can finally contribute to an economy’s growth. As sales increase, so will the need for new workers.
6. Overdoses on the decline
Opioid overdoses accounted for 28,000 deaths in the US, half of which involved a prescription opioid. However, new studies suggest that deaths from overdosing on prescription drugs decreased by 25% in states in the US where medical marijuana is legal.
Medical marijuana may have an impact on how people abuse prescription painkillers. Cannabis is believed to have painkilling properties, as well as relieve symptoms of nausea and improve one’s appetite.
But, for good measure, the team from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center said further research is needed to see how medical marijuana laws influence overdose deaths and people who suffer from chronic pain.
5. Boost in sales and taxes
In addition to generating more jobs, Colorado was able to generate $3.5 million in tax revenue from pot sales since its legalization. Washington’s also not that far behind, generating $500 million in tax revenue. That is a LOT of money.
Also, think about the number of money “pot tourism” can bring. Think about what places like the Netherlands and Spain are currently experiencing.