Cannabis industry could move West Virginia ahead of the country

There is much to be said about the mountain state, though if we look for West Virginia in national headlines, more bad than good comes to light. Sure the state has its share of problems, but most of them can be fixed by introducing new industry in the region, offering more jobs. What better industry to fill in gaps than cannabis.

West Virginia is consistently ranked in the bottom five for public education in the United States with some of the lowest-paid teachers in the country. Since Colorado has legalized recreational marijuana, the taxes have been funneled into funding its education system. West Virginia needs all the additional educational funding it can get when budget cuts are leading to layoffs in K-12 schools and departmental cuts in higher education. This is a loss of jobs and programming the state cannot afford to lose.

President Obama has dubbed the state the epicenter for the opioid addiction epidemic. Medical use of marijuana will not only help those recovering from addiction, but it will prevent addiction by replacing opioid painkillers in some patients. Giving doctors another option to treat chronic pain will lessen the addiction rate and diminish the over prescription of opioids.

West Virginia is losing population at an alarming rate; as a whole, the populous is aging and the youth population is leaving West Virginia looking for job opportunities. Marijuana legalization will create jobs in STEM-related fields, agriculture, tourism, business and medical fields.

All these things will make West Virginia a more attractive and viable option for out-of-state businesses to come here to branch out. Successful industry will help bring broadband internet across the state, something that has kept West Virginia economically behind. People will want to come to the state and stay in the state, and it will no longer be the only state in America that is consistently losing population.

We cannot deny any longer the decline of the coal industry as the country looks toward more sustainable energy options, and the state can no longer use it as its last crutch. Legalizing marijuana and welcoming the industry that comes with it can put the mountain state ahead of the country, instead of consistently getting left behind.