If New York City legalized weed, a few things would probably happen.
First of all, smoking weed would be way more chill, albeit maybe a bit less badass. I mean, Amsterdam seems to have no trouble keeping their citizens in line, right?
Also, Amsterdam is killing it in the art scene.
If weed was legal in New York City, do you know how many people would smoke and then grab some paints and head to the MoMa?
Would people put down the knives, guns, relinquish their anger? Who knows. Would we have less crime? Probably. Less children heading from high school to jail? 100%.
We'd also have way more fun.
Here are 5 surprisingly wonderful things that'd happen if weed was legalized in NYC.
1. NYC would earn a ton of tax dollars
Why is marijuana such a lucrative market? Because people love getting high.
In case you live under a rock and haven’t heard, Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in 2015.
The Washington Post stated Colorado’s legal weed market earned $700 million in sales last year, and The Washington Post projects they’ll earn $1 billion by 2016.
$386 million of that influx of cash was for medicinal marijuana, $313 million was for recreational purposes. ($50 from that $313 million was from me.)
And as The Huffington Post has documented, Colorado is devoting $40 million of their marijuana tax revenue to public school construction.
According to projected numbers from Nerdwallet.com, New York State could earn anywhere from $100 million to $499 million in revenue and sales tax by 2018 if we were to legalize weed.
Maybe if we were making hundreds of millions of dollars in the marijuana market, apples would cost less at Trader Joe’s.
Or maybe... wait for it... our public schools might even improve. What a brilliant idea!
2. The war on drugs would end
And incarceration would decrease so drastically, it’d make our heads spin.
It's already not fair that everyone in low-income neighborhoods get jailed for weed and cocaine while all the kids at Columbia get left alone.
Cato.org reports that legalizing weed would save roughly $41.3 billion a year in government spending. That’s how much the US Government spends every year enforcing drug prohibition.
Lots of people kill each other over drugs. But what if weed was legal? Everyone could relax... maybe just a little?
Think about it... everyone could stop rushing around all the time, and just chill out. Walt Whitman said happiness is “no place but this place, no hour but this hour.”
If every New Yorker was sitting in a weed circle in Union Square, I think we could all agree on the happiness Whitman prescribed.
3. Drug dealers would be out of business
Heard Kanye’s song “Heard ‘Em Say”?
One of the most poignant lyrics from that song is: “Where I’m from the dope boys is the rockstars.” For some, this isn’t just a pithy rap lyric. It’s a day-to-day reality.
For people trapped in the self-fulfilling prophecy of inner city life, selling drugs may be the only reliable way to pay rent, buy groceries, and keep the electricity running in their apartments.
Legalizing marijuana would put thousands of black market drug dealers out of work.
On the flip side, though, thousands of legal jobs would be created by marijuana’s legality. The Huffington Post reports that 7,500 – 10,000 marijuana industry jobs currently exist in Colorado.
Maybe everyone who makes their living illegally selling marijuana would get a job legally selling marijuana? Or maybe they could go do something really productive with their lives, like become a teacher?
The possibilities are endless.