Legalizing marijuana for recreational use would offer huge advantages to Minnesota. It would open up access to the therapeutic advantages of cannabis. It would clean up criminal records for possession. It would provide new money to pay for important projects in the state without raising taxes.
The legalization of marijuana would produce a significant revenue stream for Minnesota that would cover the costs of training officers to enforce new marijuana laws, and would also become part of the general fund. This would help state and local projects get completed without hitting the taxpayers’ pocket. Investopedia reports that in the first year of sales in Colorado, there was $135 million in new tax revenue. Legalization would also free up money in enforcement and court costs. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that national savings would be $3.6 billion dollars every year. This could mean up to $72 million in savings in Minnesota. Combined with the new revenue, Minnesota would come out a winner.
Legally grown and taxed cannabis would benefit farmers and other groups in rural counties such as Goodhue by providing new opportunities, both instate and as an export. RCG Economic and Marijuana Policy Group, estimated that new markets would support $1.7 billion in labor income growth for Nevada. Our numbers might be smaller, but Minnesota labor income would benefit.
In 2014, Minnesota legalized medicinal marijuana for the treatment of nine medical conditions. Patients that utilized medicinal marijuana have reported a 64% reduction in pain. They've had a 50% reduction in stress and anxiety, along with a 45% reduction in insomnia symptoms, as reported by the Hawai’i Journal of Medicine in the study, “Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis: A Patient Survey.” It also makes for a safe alternative to traditional opioid pain treatment. Studies show it has the ability to reduce annual opioid deaths 20-35%. Legalizing marijuana provides greater access to these benefits without the hassles of a medical provider and insurance coverage. Even 5% of medicinal marijuana patients report fears of arrest, according to the Hawai’i Journal of Medicine. Let's give people access and let's reduce the fear.