Because few official studies have been conducted to determine the effect that marijuana can have on chronic pain or symptoms caused by diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and AIDS, no one can say with certainty what the benefits of using marijuana are; however, there have proven to be certain advantages of legalizing the substance.
The most obvious benefit of legalizing marijuana is the effect it has on tax revenue. According to the Denver Post’s calculations of the Department of Revenue’s tax data, vendors in Colorado sold $699 million worth of marijuana in 2014, and the state saw $996.2 million in legal sales in 2015.
The Denver Post reports that cities all over the state are benefitting from this additional revenue. In Aurora, Colorado, they are using $1.5 million of the revenue from sales and fees of marijuana to address the city’s homeless issue, improve roads, and build a new recreation center. Adams County is spending more than $500,000 of their revenue on scholarships for low-income students. In short, the benefits of legalization are quickly becoming tangible across the state of Colorado.
In addition to providing supplementary streams of revenue, legalization also makes it easier to regulate the distribution of marijuana. Though stringent measures have not been enacted across the board for controlling the distribution of recreational marijuana yet, the American Public Health Association proposes a number of mechanisms to put in place, like certain taxes, age restrictions, and labeling requirements.