Why Make Marijuana Legal in Louisiana?

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The Freedom to Prosper

If you are anything like your fellow Louisiana citizens, you are probably wondering what can be done about the overreaching budgetary cuts being conducted as we speak in Baton Rouge, and may be contemplating the idea of making marijuana legal in Louisiana. You have seen both sides of the argument on Facebook, but what really happens if we make marijuana legal in Louisiana?

For starters, Louisiana is short $940 million for the remainder of this fiscal year and will be short at about $1 billion next year. Conversely, in terms of incoming tax dollars, Washington state is projecting over $1 billion in revenue from recently passed recreational marijuana laws over the next four years. Last year alone, Colorado saw a $121 million surplus from recreational marijuana taxes, with more growth in the sector projected for the foreseeable future.

Bottom line? Louisiana could generate comparable numbers, but revenue is only one side of the coin. By legalizing recreational use, Louisiana could also save over $47 million annually from the harsh marijuana possession enforcement sentences that accomplish little more than jail overcrowding and embittered relations between law enforcement and citizens over drug laws that are difficult and costly to enforce. Legalizing medical and recreational marijuana would result in the kind of economic stimulus that raising taxes and cutting programs like TOPS or football cannot achieve on their own.

From planting and cultivation to production, retail, marketing, packaging and security, recreational legalization would offer untold opportunities for capitalism to thrive. Louisiana is on the verge of recession, while our politicians talk of service cuts and tax increases. Recreational marijuana, however,  offers the economic booster shot that the state needs so desperately. Louisiana’s patients and veterans deserve access to medication that is proven and affordable. Marijuana has been shown to relieve pain better than many opiate-based medications without the risk of addiction or overdose.

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