Two years of data on recreational cannabis sales in Colorado have now come in. Analysing the data, we can see that some of the fears of the anti-marijuana campaigners were largely unfounded. Contrary to their initial assumptions, there has not been a rise in drug addiction treatment, there has not been a rise in crime, and there has not been a rise in drug related divorces. There has not been a rise in bankruptcies or prostitution.
The two year window is short so there is no telling if there will be radical changes in data conclusions over the next few years. Currently, there are no signs of the bulk of the negativities that were predicted following legalisation on cannabis. The main negatives highlighted in the data are rising underage marijuana usage, which has affected student behaviour and education, as well as an increase in drug-related visits to the emergency room. However, rises in crime, prostitution, divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy have not been manifest in the data.
Comparing the data on casino gambling with the data on cannabis sales and usage shows intriguing results.
Some people stay away from casino gambling due to ‘morality’ but the vast majority of people find nothing wrong with it, fuelling its popularity in many areas. However, studies that haven’t been influenced by casino funding paint a grim picture of the industry’s influence on the local populace.
Data on casino gambling from the USA, Canada, France and Britain show that casinos outside of those in Las Vegas have been responsible for increases in drug use, prostitution, increases in bankruptcy, increases in divorce, increases in crime, increases in unemployment and increases in addiction treatment.
States that believed they could use casinos to deal with their financial woes by increasing revenue haven’t found that the gambling sector is a miracle solution. Illinois and Louisiana are still unable to comfortably fund education and Atlantic City casinos are on the cusp of bankruptcy. The bulk of the benefits the proponents of casinos put forward has been firmly debunked. Granted, the industry doesn’t lead to an increase in suicides as anti-casino brigades stated but there do seem to at least correlational negatives.
There is a huge difference between legalising cannabis and legalising casinos. Colorado, for example, has seen an increase in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana while the casino states are still struggling. States that have legalised casinos have seen that they are not attracting new funds. Gamblers spend their money in the casinos instead of other areas of the economy that could push growth.
Without casinos, a gambler in Atlanta will have to spend his money in Lenox Mall or Georgia Aquarium. Now more simply go to the casino to spend the money. The situation is the same in New Orleans fewer visitors go to the Magazine District or the French Quarter, but, instead, stay in the casino. Contrary to some opinion, the gamblers won’t spend more money to balance things out. Hence, small businesses are suffering even more than they would have with the launch of a big retail chain in the neighbourhood.
All data available suggests that casinos will be more harmful to Georgia than legalising weed so it will be a shame if casinos are allowed in the next year. Even Colombia has embraced marijuana, a country that receives funding from the United States to fight drug use.
Casino enthusiasts should be allowed to enjoy online casino gaming. A variety of casino sites will be opened in 2016 and those that are already running are well equipped to provide top level gambling experiences to all categories of gamblers. Embracing these sites may reduce the local impact of casinos, such as a reduction in fund circulation.
Recently, republicans in Georgia were asked their opinion on casino gambling in the state. They strongly voted against it. However, this hasn’t stopped Republicans in the state Legislature from pushing for casinos in the state. Their campaigns are obviously being funded by casino owners. This picture has played out severally in Georgian politics. When the Republican voters demonstrate their lack of support for something, the Republican legislators support it. This has happened with tax increases, religious liberty legislation and is now playing out with casinos. The legislators seem to be more inclined towards the fund providers than members of their constituency.
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