The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Legalizing Marijuana

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“Don’t do drugs, drugs are bad”. This is what we were taught growing up. I agree that drugs are indeed bad, but I don’t think marijuana should be classified as a drug. Much debate has done regarding the legalization of Marijuana, with contradicting research. Marijuana is also known as cannabis, weed, pot, grass, bud, ganja, and Mary Jane. (2017), “Most ancient cultures didn’t grow the plant to get high, but as herbal medicine, likely starting in Asia around 500 BC”. Political factors in the 20th century led to the criminalization of marijuana in the United States. Many states have legalized marijuana even if it is federally illegal. I believe marijuana should be legalized due to it being safer than alcohol or Tabaco, the medical benefits, better economy, more jobs, and less crime.

First, let’s start with why alcohol and tobacco are legal, but marijuana is not. Alcohol and tobacco are legal, yet they are known to cause cancer, heart failure, liver damage, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015), six people die from alcohol poisoning every day and 2,200 people die annually due to excessive alcohol use in the United States. There are no recorded cases of death from marijuana overdose. The

amount of crime and violence caused by alcohol use is ten times higher than by marijuana use and alcohol is a factor in around 40% of violent crimes (2016). An objection to this would be that maybe alcohol should be prohibited. The fact that worse drugs than marijuana are legal is not a valid argument to legalize marijuana. A rebuttal would be: alcohol should certainly not be prohibited, that was tried and it failed miserably, and since marijuana is even less dangerous than alcohol, there is even more reason to legalize it the same way alcohol was legalized when Prohibition ended.

Second, let’s talk about the medical benefits of marijuana. The American Association for Cancer Research (2017) has found that marijuana works to slow down tumor growth in brain, breast, and lungs considerately. Studies also show it helps relax muscle tension and spasms and chronic pain. One case is Sally (30), who suffered from chronic migraines. Doctors’ prescribed her Tramadol which made her tired and nauseous. Then, they gave her another prescription for her nausea. The two prescriptions left her feeling either nauseous or tired, not to mention the bad effect on her liver. Sally wanted to try a natural remedy, so she tried marijuana. Her migraines went away, and she didn’t have the side effects of nausea.

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Third, legalizing, taxing, and regulating is good for the economy and creates jobs. In 2012, Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. In. 2016, California and many other states followed legalization as well. CBS NEWS (2017) stated, “In Colorado, marijuana brings in three times more tax revenue than alcohol. The state raised $78 million in the first fiscal year after starting retail sales, and $129 million the second fiscal year. Washington collected a total of $220 million in tax revenues in its second fiscal year of sales”. Tax revenues in legal marijuana states provide funding to the police, drug treatment and mental health centers, and housing programs, along with school programs such as anti-bullying campaigns, youth mentoring, and public-school grants.

Forth, two-thirds of Americans favor Marijuana legalization. As states before, many states have already legalized marijuana (40 states and counting). A 2018 Gallup poll found a record-high 66% support for legalizing marijuana, up from 12% in 1969 (2018). People around the country are starting to realize that marijuana is not a bad thing. If you want to drink a beer, drink a beer. If you want to smoke a cigarette, smoke a cigarette. The same can be said about marijuana.

Fifth, the last point, crime will go down and billions of dollars would be saved in law-enforcement costs. Arresting people for marijuana possession cost the United States billions of dollars annually. Instead of wasting valuable law-enforcement resources, they could focus on more serious crimes. Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that marijuana legalization would save between $7.7 billion and $13.7 billion annually.

In conclusion, legalizing marijuana across the country is a very important step. It would help raise the economy, create jobs, help fight the opioid epidemic by replacing it with marijuana for pain, and steer valuable law-enforcement resources to more serious crimes. Not only are the many states in the US hopping on the legalization train, other countries around the world like Canada, are seeing that marijuana is not harmful, and it is more beneficial to legalize. Isn’t it ironic that the most dangerous thing about marijuana, is getting caught with it? Let that sink in. 

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