Whether or not California's recent approval of recreational marijuana is the catalyst, there are as many as 17 other states looking seriously at legalizing pot for fun. Essentially, state legislators see money lying on the ground and they want to pick some of it up.
Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, collected $200 million in tax revenue last year. Washington hauled in $256 million. When recreational marijuana use is finally implemented in California, estimates call for tax revenues of around $1 billion a year.
In Maryland, state legislator Mary Washington introduced a bill that would tax marijuana in the same way the state taxes alcohol. She was clear about her motivation: "Our focus is on revenue and bringing in cash to the state as legalization becomes more and more widespread." The Los Angeles Times cites Washington who estimates that such a tax would produce net revenue to the state of about $165 million a year.
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In Rhode Island, for example, some 59% of residents now support legalization. Combine that with the last year's legalization vote in neighboring Massachusetts and that's a potent brew for state legislators always on the lookout for new revenues that don't involve raising existing taxes. As a Rhode Island legislator said, "We see legalization moving into the New England area and out here it's a very regional economy. Why give Massachusetts all the benefit?"
We Know Less About Marijuana Than We Think -- Here Are the Biggest Mysteries Researchers Are Trying to Solve
Marijuana is easier to access than ever, with more than 20% of Americans living in a state that has voted to legalise recreational use — and a majority living in states that have legalised medical use.
But when you talk to researchers who study cannabis, they say there's still a lot we don’t know about marijuana.
There are a few big studies happening right now that should for the first time offer some answers to essential questions.
In many ways, it's the age of access to pot.
As of last November, more than 20% of Americans live in states that have voted to legalise recreational marijuana use. A majority live in states that allow access to medical marijuana.
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Read more at Business Insider.
Stroke, Heart Failure Linked to Marijuana
Adults who use marijuana may have an increased risk of stroke and heart failure, according to a new study.
The people in the study who used marijuana were 26 percent more likely to have had a stroke at some point in their lives than those who did not use marijuana, the researchers found. The people who used marijuana were also 10 percent more likely to have developed heart failure at some point in their lives, compared with people who did not use marijuana, the researchers found.
The new findings suggest that, like many other medications, cannabis may have side effects, and that patients who use marijuana for medical reasons might need to be monitored for heart-related side effects of the drug, said lead study author Dr. Aditi Kalla, cardiology fellow at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.
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Read more at LiveScience.
Report: Oregon Marijuana Industry Has $1.2B Economic Impact
Oregon's cannabis industry has produced an economic impact of more than $1 billion, according to a new report.
The report, by economist and marijuana business insider Beau Whitney, found that the Oregon cannabis market created more than 12,500 jobs with an average wage of $12.13 an hour, which translates into roughly $1.2 billion in economic activity for the state.
The job figure is only for plant-touching companies, such as retailers and growers, and doesn’t include ancillary marijuana businesses, such as attorneys or security services.
"Cannabis is a job-creation machine," Whitney said in a press release.
He noted that through Feb. 21, there were 917 licensed recreational marijuana businesses in Oregon, with another 1,225 business permit applications pending.
Such information could be utilized by industry advocates to bring more political allies into the legalization camp, given that jobs and the economy are generally a bipartisan priority.
Read more at Marijuana Business Daily.
Florida's First Medical Marijuana Regulations Would Ban Smoking and Using Edibles
Florida's United for Care campaign spent two full election cycles — 2014 and 2016 — drafting, fighting, and pushing Floridians to legalize medicinal cannabis for demonstrably sick people. Last year, 72 percent of Floridians voted to amend the state constitution to legalize medical weed for people with diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. Now it's up to the Florida Legislature to adopt medical marijuana rules.
Yesterday, Fort Myers Rep. Ray Rodrigues finally unveiled the first medical weed regulations — and would actually ban people from smoking marijuana or using edibles. Patients would also be prohibited from vaporizing weed if they aren't terminally ill.
In fact, Rodrigues's bill is more restrictive than the laws that existed before Florida overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical weed.
"It goes further than the current statute in terms of restricting medical marijuana," says Ben Pollara, United for Care's campaign director. "There was unanimous agreement that the new amendment would expand use."
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Read more at Cannabis Business Executive.