2016 Debate Shows Importance of Cannabis State Ballot Initiatives

2016 Debate Shows Importance of Cannabis State Ballot Initiatives

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AP

This election year marijuana is the most talked about issue on state ballots, yet no one is talking about it on the main stage at any of the presidential debates. Americans in eight states across the nation will vote on ten marijuana-related state ballot initiatives. That’s the most initiatives on a single topic, more than guns, abortion, or immigration. But you wouldn’t know it from the final debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and GOP contender Donald Trump on Wednesday evening. They spent more time calling each other ‘puppets’, and arguing about what to do with the ‘hombres’ than speaking about cannabis.

There were a whopping ZERO mentions of marijuana legalization, which is a shame because there were so many topics that would’ve naturally pivoted to a chat about the controversial plant that’s winning over the nation, state-by-state.

So, some people took to the 24/7 live town hall (also known as Twitter), asking for a conversation on cannabis.

There was a glimmer of hope that either the moderator, CBS’s Chris Wallace, or one of the candidates would bring up marijuana legalization. Immigration, economy, and national debt are all softball topics that go hand-in-hand with a mention of the marijuana industry. There was one moment, in particular, that could’ve sprouted a well-deserved and long awaited cannabis mention; it was when the candidates were asked about the budget deficit, specifically the drain of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

Cannabis has proven to get more seniors off of their pills, lessening the burden of their healthcare costs on taxpayers. According to NPR’s investigation into a recent report, “states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.” The pills most left behind in lieu of cannabis – prescription painkiller opioids and anti-depression medicine.  

Marijuana sales, in general, have legalized states seeing green.

So why not try closing the nation’s deficit with the cash crop? The millions of dollars in taxes collected from the sale of adult-use marijuana and medical marijuana are already proving to help bring 420 industry-friendly cities and towns. For example, Aurora, Colorado is using $4.5 million in cannabis tax money to invest in public initiatives like ending homelessness.

Cannabis is a job creator and could have easily been a part of either candidates’ plan to stimulate the job sector.

After an evening of mudslinging, there was not a word about cannabis.

However, voters can still have their voices heard by taking matters into their own hands and voting on marijuana state ballot initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota.

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