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ECONOMICS

  • by NORML February 19, 2020

    Jobs in the state-licensed cannabis industry rose 15 percent during the past 12 months, and the industry now employs over 243,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by Leafly.com.

    Commenting on the jobs data, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said: “The legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing employment sectors in America in spite of the challenges it faces due to marijuana’s federal criminal classification. These new numbers only further underscore the need to end prohibition and allow the state programs to operate as intended.”


    According to its 2020 report, the regulated cannabis industry added 32,700 new jobs over the past year. States adding the greater number of new cannabis-related jobs were Massachusetts (10,266 jobs) and Oklahoma (7,300 jobs). Overall, the total number of full-time jobs in the licensed cannabis industry has doubled since 2017.

    “The refusal [of the federal government] to acknowledge the existence of legal cannabis jobs is a powerful act of shaming and stigmatization,” the report concludes. “There are now nearly a quarter of a million Americans whose professional lives are categorized as [either] illegal or nonexistent by the government of the United States. … If cannabis industry jobs were tallied like other jobs, … legal cannabis would be acknowledged as the fastest growing industry in America.”

    Full text of the study, “Leafly Jobs Report 2020,” appears online here. Additional information is available in the NORML fact-sheet, ‘Marijuana Regulation: Impact on Health, Safety, Economy.’

  • by Tyler McFadden, NORML NE Political Associate March 18, 2019

    A.1617, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), has been re-introduced this legislative session. The bill would legalize the adult possession, use, and regulated sale of marijuana.

    Over the past twenty years, many New Yorkers have been negatively affected by the harms of prohibition in New York. With people of color accounting for nearly 85% of those arrested annually, the MRTA directs the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana to these communities. Because structural racism is ingrained in marijuana prohibition, it’s important that the MRTA both ends marijuana prohibition and promotes racial justice.

    Significant steps are taken in the amended MRTA to ensure racial justice and a small business-friendly industry, including:

    • Creating a micro-licensing structure, similar to New York’s rapidly growing craft wine and beer industry, which allows small-scale production and sale plus delivery to reduce barriers to entry for people with less access to capital and traditional avenues of financing.
    • Establishing the Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, which will invest in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the drug war through job training, economic empowerment, and youth development programming.
    • Ensuring diversity in New York’s marijuana industry by removing barriers to access like capital requirements and building inclusivity by allowing licensing to people with prior drug convictions. Only people with business-related convictions (such as fraud or tax evasion) will be explicitly barred from receiving licenses.

    Our communities can’t wait. The decades of marijuana prohibition had created a stain on the fabric of our society, and urgent action is needed to begin to right the wrongs of the War on Drugs. Adult-use cannabis legalization must be passed in the state budget, and support for the MRTA goes a long way towards making that a reality. Freedom simply cannot wait any longer.

    Click here to send a message to your New York State Assemblymember in urgent support of this effort.

     

    We also encourage you to plug in with Empire State NORML. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their webpage HERE.

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  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director February 14, 2019

    The House Financial Services subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing Wednesday to address the lack of access to basic banking services by state-legal marijuana businesses.

    Currently, state-licensed marijuana businesses face a web of conflicting regulations and federal prohibitions largely prohibit these businesses from partnering with financial institutions, processing credit cards, and taking standard business deductions.

    NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano submitted written congressional testimony, which you can read here.

    NORML Political Director Justin Strekal published on op-ed on the topic in The Hill Newspaper, entitled Businesses need bank accounts — marijuana shops included.

    You can share the op-ed on Facebook by clicking here and on Twitter by clicking here.

    One of the best ways to speed up marijuana legalization is by allowing the existing companies access to basic banking services and it is encouraging to see Congress begin the conversation.

    You can watch the hearing below.

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director December 18, 2018

    As marijuana sales in Colorado exceed $1 billion, residents are seeing marijuana tax revenues being put to work in their communities. From funding local projects to restore historic sites and construct a new irrigation system in Denver, to providing college scholarships to more than 500 students in Pueblo, and statewide grants for early literacy programs, Coloradans from every corner of the state are benefiting from the legalization of marijuana.

    But there’s more. Similar to other areas of Colorado’s public education system that have benefited from marijuana tax revenues, the state’s School Bullying Prevention and Education Grant Program (BPEG), which has earned local and national recognition for its effectiveness, is being funded by the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund.

    “I think we provide an environment where you can concentrate on studying rather than just on conflicts,” Jessica Hale, Dean of Discipline at Skinner Middle School, stated in a recent interview with the Denver Post.

    Read more here: https://dpo.st/2Gr1DFj

    While some remain skeptical of marijuana legalization, it’s hard to ignore the positive impacts it’s having on communities across Colorado.

    Marijuana policy should be evidence based. Dispel the myths with the NORML Fact Sheets. For more information follow Colorado NORML on Facebook, Twitter, and visit their website

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Director September 28, 2018

    We as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never been in a better position than we are today to further our cause. Prior to states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and others, legalizing and regulating marijuana, there was very little data to support our arguments to end marijuana prohibition. But, things have changed.

    So, is the legalization and regulation of marijuana working? Of course it is, but we must be able to articulate why it’s working to be successful in our efforts. We can start by looking at some of the data regarding the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety. Study after study published by the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, the National Academies of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control, the Journal of Adolescent Health and the American Journal of Public Health are providing us with all the information we need to make fact-based, data-driven arguments in support of ending marijuana prohibition.

    Regardless if you’re looking at state-level data related to crime, teen access and use or the decline in opioid use, hospitalizations and overdose, the legalization and regulation of marijuana is having a positive impact. And this is no longer our opinion; it’s fact, backed by legitimate research and data. The information is there. We no longer have to speculate about the potential impacts marijuana legalization will have on public health and safety, and other areas of concern. We can now depend on facts and data to further our efforts to end marijuana prohibition.

    Touting the economic benefits of legalization such as tax revenues and job creation can also be helpful in our push to end marijuana prohibition. To date, there have been between 125,000 and 160,000 full-time jobs created as a result of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. This includes those who work directly with the plant (e.g., cultivation, bud tenders, infused products) as well as ancillary businesses such as packaging, gardening supplies and lighting companies. Regarding tax revenues, Nevada’s regulated adult-use program generated over $55 million within the first ten months of its roll out. While Colorado’s pulled in more than $245 million in tax revenue for 2017.

    If you’re working to advance marijuana law reform efforts on the local, state or federal level, these studies can be used to persuade opponents of legalization that ending marijuana prohibition is a step in the right direction, or at the very least, neutralize their prohibitionist rhetoric. Am I suggesting there’s no need to continue to closely monitor the impact marijuana legalization is having on public health and safety? Absolutely not.

    With only a handful of states enacting laws to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana, the jury is certainly still out on whether or not marijuana can be regulated in a way that’s safe and productive for society, so I expect a healthy and thoughtful debate around the issue for years to come. However, since Congress approved the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937, we as advocates of marijuana law reforms have never had access to more fact-based evidence supporting our longstanding argument that ending marijuana prohibition is not only good public policy, it’s the right thing to do.

    For more than 45 years NORML chapters have been the driving force behind policy decisions on the local and state level. Have you connected with your local NORML chapter? If there isn’t one in your community, please email NORML Outreach Director Kevin Mahmalji at KevinM@NORML.org for help with starting your own!

    Ready to start a NORML chapter in your hometown? Click here to find out how!

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