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Tennessee General Law Blog

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Pushing for Decriminalization of Marijuana for the Economy

Scientists and medical experts praise many medical benefits of recreational marijuana, but many tend to overlook the potential economic benefits of legalizing marijuana in the United States.

Many states that decriminalized marijuana have seen positive economic effects, such as:

All of these potential economic benefits of legalizing weed can serve as powerful incentives to push for the decriminalization of marijuana. As of November 2020, marijuana remains illegal in Tennessee for both medical and recreational uses, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

Push for Legalizing Marijuana in Tennessee

In October 2020, a Tennessee senator voiced his support for legalizing medical marijuana in the state, as reported by Marijuana Moment. In a 30-second campaign ad, Sen. Steve Dickerson (R) reminded Tennesseans of the medical benefits of weed and the consequences of criminalizing marijuana.

The senator complained that cannabis, which he refers to as the “life-saving plant,” has led to “mass incarceration” in Tennessee. Sen. Dickerson said that it’s “wrong” that non-violent possession of marijuana can result in imprisonment. The senator sponsored a medical marijuana legalization bill that cleared a Senate committee earlier this year.

Economic Benefits of Decriminalizing Marijuana

Many states that decriminalized marijuana have seen positive effects of legalizing weed on the economy. Some of the potential benefits of legalizing marijuana include:

1. Impact on Tax Revenue

According to BDS Analytics, U.S. sales of legal cannabis reached $12.2 billion in 2019 and were projected to skyrocket to over $31 billion by 2024. In California alone, sales of legal marijuana generated more than $410 million in excise tax, nearly $100 million in cultivation tax, and a staggering over $335 million in sales tax between January 2018 and December 2019, according to an official report by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA).

2. Job Growth

As of January 2020, there were over 243,000 full-time-equivalent jobs in the legal marijuana industry, according to Leafly’s annual Cannabis Job Report. Decriminalizing marijuana created new career opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the states that have legalized cannabis.

3. Investment Opportunities

Last but not least, legalizing marijuana could help boost the economy on a local and national scale by creating numerous investment opportunities. As marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, investors struggle with capitalizing on the legal marijuana industry’s growth.

If – or when – marijuana is decriminalized on the federal level, companies in the marijuana industry would be permitted to list their stocks on all U.S. exchanges, creating investment opportunities and attracting more investors.

Marijuana is Still Illegal in Tennessee

While the majority of states have passed laws to decriminalize marijuana, it is still illegal to possess, sell, and cultivate marijuana in the State of Tennessee. Possession of marijuana can result in the following penalties:

If you are facing a marijuana possession charge in Tennessee, you need to speak with our experienced criminal defense lawyers at Burch, Morrison, & Stewart. Our Manchester-based marijuana possession attorneys could help reduce or avoid the harsh penalties of being convicted of marijuana possession in TN. Call at (931) 954-1066 to discuss your case.

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