At a Chicago city college, you can get an associate's degree in cannabis studies

Illinois is one of 19 states, along with DC, that have legalized marijuana (with more to come). Ostensibly, legalization recognized that so many Americans use recreational marijuana that it’s normalized and, therefore, ridiculous to continue to criminalize it. In reality, legalized marijuana is about money, big, big money. Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago is now offering an “associate degree in cannabis studies” that openly acknowledges that fact while ignoring the problems with legalized pot.

When Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014, the profits for the state were instant. By 2019, just five years into legalization, there were more than $6 billion in total sales and the state had received more than $1 billion in revenue. How could other states ignore it? When California legalized marijuana, it expected that the 25% tax would soon fill its coffers and it was right. By spring 2022, the state had raked in $4 billion, which means that legalized marijuana sales were in excess of $12 billion.

Other states have done the same, including Illinois. Legal marijuana sales began in Chicago on January 1, 2020, and the taxes were so high that they saved Chicago from collapse during the first phases of the lockdown, generating $100 million in tax revenue by October 2020. By the end of April 2021, the state had exceeded $1 billion in sales, with Illinois receiving $115 million in taxes just in April 2021.

Image by Andrea Widburg, using marijuana background by Racool_studio and stacks of $100 bills by jannoon028.

No wonder, then, that Chicago’s Olive-Harvey College is proud to announce its new degree, with a special emphasis on the profitability that comes from getting into the marijuana business:

Olive-Harvey Accredited Associate’s Degree in Cannabis Studies by Andrea Widburg on Scribd

My favorite part of the press release is the proud statement that

The new pathway promises to support students as they pursue an Associate degree in Cannabis Studies, a degree that often leads to high demand jobs that include cannabis consultants, dispensary operators, cannabis extraction technicians, grow masters, and more, all of which have the potential to be high-paying careers.

It’s true, too. I have several friends whose children are making bank by working in the legal marijuana businesses in several different states. Of course, no one is boasting about children working in the untaxed, illegal side of the business, but I bet they’re making even more.

What these numbers—and that exciting new degree—hide is that marijuana has disastrous downsides that are becoming more obvious as its use becomes more prevalent. First, marijuana is bad for brains, especially young ones: Daily cannabis users are five times more likely to have psychotic disorders.

Given the vast and growing number of teens who use marijuana, these statistics have disastrous implications for America’s future.

Then there’s the crime problem. A July 2021 report from Colorado’s Criminal Justice department had some interesting data when comparing data before and after legalization:

  • A dramatic increase in marijuana-related DUIs.
  • Traffic fatalities involving marijuana increased by 140%.
  • Marijuana-related hospitalization increased by 100% from pre-legalization levels
  • A dramatic increase in marijuana-related calls to poison control lines.

Another Colorado study showed that neighborhoods with dispensaries had a crime rate that was 26% to 1,452% higher than similar neighborhoods without dispensaries.

In California, 55% of all marijuana sales are still illegal (no taxes, no product standards). In 2021, it’s estimated that $11.5 billion flowed to drug cartels and dealers.

Across America, the legal cannabis industry is projected to be worth $32 billion by year’s end. Again, that’s the legal side. As California shows, though, the illegal side, which is untaxed and, therefore, offers lower prices, is probably worth at least as much, all while keeping dangerous cartels rolling in the real green stuff—not pot, but money.

So, yes, you can get rich with your associate’s degree in cannabis, but you’ll be profiting on the back of the destruction of America’s young people and her communities. It’s dirty money no matter how much you try to dress it up.

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