In 2012, the citizens of Washington elected to legalize marijuana. In fact, Washington is expected have stores that are dedicated to the sale of marijuana by the end of 2014 . Therefore, it can be expected that the economical and societal impacts will be tremendous for the state as a whole. The biggest ways that this will be capitalized is by increasing tourism and changes in consumer behavior.
Marijuana is one of the most popular illegal substances to use. In fact, globally there are more than “750,000 people arrested each year” and “more than 650,000 of them for possession alone” . These statistics show that the potential for tourism for marijuana-legal states, such as Washington, will increase in large proportions. This is in order to avoid the risk of arrest associated with illegal possession and use of marijuana. Furthermore, the legalization of marijuana is considered a novelty for many and the fact that stores will be developed to sell marijuana will greatly influence the number of tourists that will flock to the legalized states. For example, Washington is “creating a recreational market in which local authorities will oversee growing, distribution and marketing” . As a result, Washington can exploit this eventuality by providing resources that appeal to this market, thus raising the amount of capital the state obtains. This allows for an expanding market and economy, which is better equipped to provide for an increasing population.
The legalization of marijuana will have tremendous effects on consumer behavior. For example, “it will mean jobs” for the citizens of Washington . This allows for struggling families to have excess supply, which will, in turn, increase demand. This can allow for even more jobs to be developed in order to accommodate an expanding economy. This potentially enables the state to profit from a predicted “$10 billion industry by 2018” . The state has “limited the number of marijuana stores to 334 statewide” . This can still mean a huge increase of sales because this limit amounts to “an average of just under nine stores per county” . Therefore, marijuana consumers will have more opportunities for purchasing. The societal financial expense will increase. For example, “Washington has imposed a heavy 25% tax on each of the three parts of pot production: producer to processor, processor to retailer and retailer to customer” . This means that it could be quite expensive to purchase the product. In contrast, the crime level may decrease. This is because marijuana is no longer an illegal substance, thus fewer arrests will occur as a result of possession, distribution, and/or use.
It is easy to see the potential benefits that the legalization of marijuana brings to Washington. However, the most substantial benefit may be to the government itself in terms of increased revenue and reduced crime. Societal benefits include more jobs and fewer arrests, resulting in a more productive society. This may also result in a government and society that is willing to commit to compromising and finding a common ground in order to resolve other controversial issues.
- France-Presse, A. (2013, December 28). Colorado and Washington Brace for ‘Marijuana Tourism’ Surge. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com
- Gray, E. (2013, October 19). New Laws Chart Course for Marijuana Legalization. Retrieved from Time U.S.: http://nation.time.com
- The Huffington Post. (2013, September 4). Recreational Marijuana Could be on Sale in Washington by Early 2014. Retrieved from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
- Wing, N. (2014, January 8). The Future of Legal Weed is Bright. Here’s Where its Headed Next. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com