The new year brought along changes to the nation. On Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana, sending their economy skyrocketing.
According to The Colorado Center on Law and Policy, there is an estimation that “the law could bring in about $60 million each year in combined tax revenues — over $32 million for the state budget, over $14 million for local governments and about $12 million in savings from less law enforcement used to patrol marijuana users.” Other states, including Tennessee, are following in Colorado’s footsteps by considering legalizing the usage of medical marijuana.
Colorado has become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first in the world to have a regulated seed to sale process. Under Amendment 64, Colorado legalized the recreational use of marijuana for citizens 21 and up. Residents of Colorado are allowed to purchase a maximum of one ounce, around $200 worth, and non-residents are allowed a quarter ounce. A 25 percent state tax plus the standard 2.9 percent sales tax is added to each marijuana purchase. However, medical marijuana users do not have to face these additional taxes.Due to Colorado’s Clean Indoor Air Act, citizens may only smoke marijuana in private not in public or even in marijuana shops.
Introduced as the “Koozer-Kuhn Medical Cannabis Act,” Tennessee is considering legalizing the medical usage of marijuana. Sponsored by Representative Sherry Jones for six years, this bill is set to “decriminalize the use of medical cannabis by a qualifying patient who is enrolled in the safe access program established by this bill.” Under this bill, medical marijuana can be distributed if a qualifying Tennessee patient prescribed by a physician has been diagnosed with medical conditions including: cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.
“I want to be able to help the children, men and women have a pain free quality of life,” Jones said. Aiding as a muscle-and-spasm-relaxer, medical marijuana in Tennessee would bring approximate revenue of $300,000 with every half-acre grown. A family with a 22-month-old in East Tennessee just recently moved to Colorado to help their baby through her medical issues with drops of THC. Having 300 seizures a day, this little girl had to be put into a coma for 22 hours of the day to keep her alive. Since her move to Colorado, her seizures have declined to two a day and there have been signs of movement in her hands.
Military veterans could use this as an aid for their PTSD, as well as thousands of others with painful medical conditions. Other states in the nation are pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana as their first step to total legalization.
“It just honestly depends on how often you smoke, but it hasn’t effected my life negatively; it’s just something I do with my friends,” said Lexi Corby, sophomore psychology major.
Regardless of opinion, Tennessee and other states are looking towards a higher future.