Once marijuana was legalized in Colorado, it became the model for legalization across all states. As it turns out, this year the state has collected nearly twice last year’s revenue from the marijuana tax.

As a poor state, West Virginia could learn a few things from Colorado.

As the coal industry continues to reap the great state of West Virginia, threatening our wildlife, tourism industry and water sources, it is time for the state leaders to consider pursuing another source of income for the state. Residents could start to see dispensaries and open farms rather than destroyed mountaintops and streams contaminated with toxic runoff from mining and fracking sites.

The marijuana industry would be fitting for the mountain state – the growing climate is nearly perfect for the cannabis plant. West Virginia is also notorious for having one of the highest obesity rates in America and scientific studies have shown people who consume cannabis regularly statistically have a lower body fat percentage.

Colorado has seen a decrease in the amount of prescription drug abusers. From 2011 to 2013, West Virginia suffered a staggering 34 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. Legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes would theoretically decrease the number of prescription dependent residents in our state while also halting the flow of money to big pharmaceutical companies, who often times, pay off doctors simply to sell medications.

West Virginia tourism could see a huge benefit from the legalization of marijuana. The state’s parks, ski resorts, biking trails and various other attractions could very easily see huge increases in attendance with a little bit of help from the marijuana industry. When more people come to the state, more jobs are required to meet the needs of those tourists. Not only will the state benefit from the huge revenue of recreational marijuana, but so will citizens.