3 Non-Medical Benefits to the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

January 8, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

2014 was a roller coaster ride for cannabis enthusiasts and entrepreneurs alike. With several states approving recreational use and many more on the outskirts watching and waiting to see how it all plays out, the ride has been interesting. While it’s been approved in many states for medicinal use, there are many more benefits that marijuana can provide. And no, not just for pure enjoyment. Here are three ways that I particularly find interesting.

Jobs and the Economy

Colorado has enjoyed a nice boost in popularity and a nice uptick in the economy. First of all, the unemployment rate has dropped by over six percent in merely one year, sitting at 4.2 percent in November 2014. There was an astonishing $122 million in sales from cannabis and cannabis-based products, drawing in over $35 million in tax revenue.

“Colorado’s economy is booming and now more than ever, the state is as much of a desirable place to live as California,” Awada told MainStreet.

Travel and Tourism

If you’ve ever wanted to experience the atmosphere of Amsterdam, but couldn’t afford to go, join the troves of people finding their way to Denver and Seattle to enjoy the recreational use of marijuana. It’s not just the fact that you can grow cannabis seeds, buy marijuana and enjoy cannabis-based products. But there’s an entire industry booming around cannabis… You can do things you can’t do elsewhere in the U.S. You can relax in a cannabis-friendly hotel or enjoy a tasting tour. Stop thinking about weed as a stoner thing. Soon, you’ll probably see high-end exclusive cannabis events just like you see with wine and other industries – and Kush Tourism is leading the way.

Green building and construction

It’s not just connoisseurs that will benefit when (Ok, if, but probably when…) growing and using marijuana becomes perfectly legal and loses its stigma. Industrial hemp farming may hold some truly awesome benefits for green building, which obviously will be better for the environment, but will also be super versatile. You’ve probably heard about hemp clothing and paper, but because the fibrous cannabis plant is so strong and versatile, it’s now being used to create hempcrete. Yep, not concrete, but hempcrete.

Hempcrete… non-toxic, mold-resistant, fire-resistant, insect-resistant and energy-efficient. Research is ongoing to see if it may even hold a higher thermal resistance than concrete does. It can be used for flooring, roof installation and even wall construction.

But since it’s illegal in most of the U.S. to grow it, it’s not widely known about. That’s not stopping ambitious builders who are always looking for something better, something more efficient. For example, Hemp Technologies in North Carolina is determined to prove the benefits that come with using hempcrete and have used it to build homes in Texas, North Carolina, Idaho and Hawaii.

In a nutshell, there’s so much that cannabis may be able to do for us. It’s silly to dismiss something without really understanding what it is and what it could do. What do you think? What other benefits do you see in legalizing the production and use of marijuana and its related products?