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Cannabis Legalization is Bringing Prosperity Beyond Just Billions in Revenue


As the cannabis industry grows through recreational legalization, greater awareness shines on its potential positive impact on social and economic issues.

Legalization will eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in cannabis arrests”
— Beau Kilmer

MIAMI, FL, UNITED STATES, October 7, 2022 / -- "Once hailed as a gateway to narcotics use, attitudes and awareness have drastically changed in recent years. Legalized cannabis is now a thriving industry and as it explodes, it is bringing about waves of positive change across various aspects of society.

Cannabis businesses are ever-growing and thanks to recreational legalization happening in states across the US, sales are booming. As reported by The Motley Fool, 2021 saw a combined sum of $10.4 billion in tax revenue directly from the sale of cannabis. Additionally, this total does not include the revenue from medical marijuana, demonstrating how great of an economic impact the recreational cannabis industry is delivering.

However, while the revenue earnings are extremely positive, the larger ramifications of this growing industry include great strides in terms of social and economic issues. Particularly concerning communities of color, cannabis legalization has great potential to serve social equity where it was previously lacking.

“Overall, fewer people of color are being arrested for cannabis in legalization states, but this does not mean that legalization will eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in cannabis arrests,” stated authors Beau Kilmer and Erin Kilmer Neel in their research published by World Psychiatry and The National Library of Medicine.

Because a criminal record can be so damaging to one’s economic and social well-being in the US, for those who have cannabis-related drug offenses against them, some jurisdictions are starting to eliminate these past offenses from individuals’ records, with some expunging them altogether.

“In some places, a cannabis offense can make it harder to access public housing or work in the newly legal industry,” remarked Kilmer and Neel.

Understanding the importance of social equity initiatives, jurisdictions across the US are now instituting programs that aim to equal the playing field regarding the racial divide concerning marijuana prohibition. These measures are designed to give preference to people from communities that have been unequally affected by the criminalization of cannabis when applying for business licenses. Some programs offer technical assistance for starting and expanding businesses. Some measures work to use cannabis tax revenues to support these communities financially. One such example is a program in Chicago where revenues are being used to provide reparations to African Americans.

The future of cannabis legalization is continuously evolving, however, the positive changes to ensure the communities that have been most impacted by its criminalization are very promising. By no means is the work done, but progress is being made for the social and economic betterment of our nation. The billion-dollar business growth is phenomenal but using the movement to elevate our communities and individuals are powerful steps in the right direction.

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Ralph Richie
Tako Glass
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