Wednesday June 17, 2015
Wild weekends in Las Vegas could soon include legally smoking pot if the people of Nevada vote to legalize marijuana. The legislation will be put to a public vote in 2016 following a groundswell of public support. But what would legal marijuana mean for the City of Lights?
Legalized Marijuana Would Decrease Crime
We all know prohibiting marijuana doesn't prevent people from smoking it. Studies show that more than 8% of Nevada residents have smoked marijuana in the last month. Legalization advocates claim the movement would make Nevada safer by moving the marijuana market out of the underground and into legitimate, licensed businesses.
Legalized Marijuana Would Protect Children
A common argument against the legalization of marijuana is a concern for children. However, advocates insist a move away from prohibition actually protects children. Illegal drug dealers don't discriminate against customers based on age. However, Nevada's proposed marijuana laws would only allow adults 21 and over to purchase the drug. This would help keep it out of the hands of minors.
It's also worth noting that youths who illegally buy or sell pot are more than twice as likely to incur criminal charges as adults. Those charges can make it difficult for young people to get into college, receive student loans, and find work. Knowing that they can smoke legal pot when they're older may be enough to encourage young people to abstain in the short term.
Legalized Marijuana Would Boost State's Schools
Currently marijuana sales in Nevada only line the pockets of independent criminals and cartels. A shift in the legislation would see taxes funneled into the state's economy, where it will be used to improve the state's education system. This measure ensures that pot smokers and non-smokers alike can see the benefits of legalization.
Regulated Marijuana is Purer
Marijuana bought on the streets is unregulated and often contaminated with nasty substances that can severely impact a smoker's health. In contrast, all legal marijuana dispensaries must ensure that their products are free of bacteria, mold, solvents and heavy metals. All marijuana products that don’t pass the tests will never reach the consumer.
Marijuana Can Ease Some Health Complaints
While smoking marijuana can cause health issues, it can also help other complaints. It works to ease depressive symptoms in a similar fashion to anti-depressant drugs without the harmful and numerous side effects. It decreases pressure in the eye, which can help ward off glaucoma. It can control the seizures caused by epilepsy and Dravet's Syndrome, stop cancer from spreading, and ease the side effects of chemotherapy more effectively than some anti-nausea drugs. Topical cannabis treatments can also ease pain and inflammation, as well as soothe burns.
It's difficult to know whether marijuana would improve more health complaints than it would cause at this stage, but its potential impact on the local health system is something to consider.
Tourism Numbers Could Increase
While Washington and Colorado officials insist marijuana tourism is a myth, Hotels.com and Hopper.com have noticed increased interest in Nevada and Denver since the states legalized marijuana. It makes sense that official bodies looking to charm travelers of all types wouldn't want to publicize this link. However, the "dramatic spikes" observed by leading travel websites are worth considering. Las Vegas is already one of the country's tourism hot spots, but legalizing marijuana could help it attract an even greater number of travelers and provide an extra economic boost.
With so many arguments to consider, it'll be interesting to see which way the people of Nevada vote when they head to the polls in 2016.