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Letter: Legalized recreational marijuana has safety and economic benefits

SHARE Letter: Legalized recreational marijuana has safety and economic benefits
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FILE - This May 20, 2019, file photo, shows a marijuana leaf on a plant at a cannabis grow in Gardena, Calif.

Richard Vogel, Associated Press

Recreational marijuana has enough benefits that we should legalize its use in Utah. First, the I-15 is a drug run, and legalization would lower the prevalence of black-market sales. The competition of state-produced product would lower the cost of the good and would offer a cheap and safer option to state residents. A legalized, regulated market would offer development of even more safe products and reliable research opportunities and could free police resources for more critical needs.

Second, the economic boon will add jobs, substantial tax revenue and a secure industry. Nevada has a lower population than Utah, and in 2019 in sales tax and licensing fees the Silver State pulled in about $109 million. Besides the immediate tax revenue, we would receive the new industry, which would offer enduring employment in positions not limited to cultivation, production, shipping, warehouse, quality, research and development, management and entrepreneurship.

Third, in Utah we already accept the sale and distribution of alcohol and tobacco, and if we can permit such substances, in comparison to the latter two recreational marijuana would be acceptable as well. Alcohol can inhibit the mind and is quite comparable with marijuana. Tobacco is directly related to cancer, yet marijuana, if not smoked, has no such side effect.

Austin Behymer

St. George