Marijuana is one of the most commonly used and abused drugs in most parts of the world; in the United States, medical marijuana is legal and available across twenty-three states (Balbuena 7) Marijuana’s growing acceptance has seen an increase in its calls for legalization. In terms of possession, distribution, and cultivation, the legalization of cannabis, or marijuana as it is commonly known, for medical and recreational use varies by region. Marijuana is regarded as something dangerous that poses a threat to the life of those using it. Based on its medicinal benefits and economic values, marijuana has proven that its positives outweigh its negatives.
Reasons for Legalizing Marijuana
Legalizing recreational marijuana proposers argue that it helps raise the country’s economy, create many employment opportunities, and free police resources. The marijuana proponents propose that regulating its use will lower crimes on the streets and put the drug cartel out of business. Making the use of marijuana safe by conducting testing, labeling, and packaging it in a child-proof way makes it less harmful than alcohol, and those of legal age should have access to it if they want to use it (Henchman 2). Opposers to the decriminalization of recreational marijuana legalization still contend that marijuana usage is harmful to the user’s mental and physical health, so it should remain illegal.
Legalizing marijuana boosts the economy’s growth as marijuana is said to bring in three times more tax revenue than alcohol; legalizing marijuana has one of the fastest-growing market values since its demand is high (Papava et al. 5). The marijuana industry, both medical and recreational, in the United States of America estimated that by the year 2025, it could surpass twenty-four billion dollars value in revenue (Balbuena 7). Tourism, real estate, food transport, and construction industries are some of the beneficiaries of marijuana legalization. The legal marijuana industry contributed about seven billion to the economies of the states that have allowed the use of marijuana, as well as millions of dollars in federal taxes collected by the marijuana industry.
Decriminalizing marijuana reduces the use of marijuana among teenagers; in those states that legalized marijuana, the rate at which young people use it has significantly decreased while the number of adults using marijuana has gone up (Armstrong 34). Marijuana being legal means that it is off the streets and only sold to adults with an identification card, ensuring that teenagers have no alternative way of accessing the drug. Traffic has decreased by 11% on average in states that have legalized marijuana, meaning that expanded access to marijuana increases public safety (Daniller 5). Road accidents and arrests for driving under the influence are at a low and are predicted to continue decreasing when and if marijuana is legalized all over the country.
Marijuana also has medicinal value significant in various treatment procedures such as cancer treatment, nausea treatment, and vomiting, a common side effect of chemotherapy during cancer treatments (Tawfik 2). Marijuana helps reduce chronic pain, treat muscle spasms – among those with sclerosis, and reduce anxiety. Marijuana is an anti-depressant and is used to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The legalization of marijuana will significantly help dismantle the black markets. It is said that marijuana helps regulate diabetes, weight loss, regulate seizures, and treating inflammatory bowels; some of these claims are scientifically proven, while some are still under study. Over a few past decades, it was so hard to get a hold of marijuana was not and getting it easy unless you knew somebody.’ Most of these dealers are connected and funded by terrorists and use the black market to profit. Legalizations of marijuana render the black market irrelevant since marijuana gets sold by anyone licensed by the government (Daniller 5). There are increased crime levels and gangs affiliated with marijuana selling; legalization brings excellent relief and gets them off the streets for the sake of peace-loving citizens.
Opposition Against Legalization of Marijuana
In as much as the legalization of marijuana boosts the economy’s growth, the contrary is legalizing marijuana may create a steep cost for taxpayers in the society that may outweigh marijuana’s tax revenue. The long-term effects resulting from prolonged use of marijuana harms more than the user; the cost of using marijuana to the society includes paying for the addiction treatment for those lacking insurance. There would be high crimes in society as people are willing to do anything to sustain their addiction; making marijuana legal would be putting a more harmful and destructive substance in our society’s hands.
Decriminalizing marijuana increases teenagers’ chances of use with harmful results; the number of 13–17-year-old using marijuana in states that have legalized marijuana is high. (Armstrong 34). Marijuana poses a considerable risk for young people since their brains are not fully developed- A person’s brain does not completely mature until they are 25 years old, which is four years past the age one is considered an adult in the states that have legalized marijuana (Ghosh et al 23). Marijuana could cause impaired short-term memory, low concentration, attention span, inability to solve teenagers’ problems, and significantly interfering with their education.
There is an increase in traffic accidents that often lead to death when marijuana decriminalization happens; legalizing marijuana is equivalent to allowing the use of a product that is likely to put more impaired drivers on the roads, worsening a situation already worse (Wong 449). The traffic safety foundation stated in its report that there had been an increase in fatal road accidents that involved marijuana after being legalized in some states. Marijuana can impair the driver’s vehicle control and judgment, endangering the driver’s safety. Using marijuana before taking control of the steering wheel increases one’s chances of being involved in an accident.
In conclusion, marijuana use for recreational purposes may have socially beneficial effects, such as lifting criminal justice policies that come with a high social and public cost. Legalizing marijuana and having it used for recreational purposes will prove to have unfavorable health effects; the drug itself is addictive and has withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana should not be legalized as this will facilitate an increase in crime, cause health and mental problems in society. Smoking marijuana affects the respiratory system of the user; continued use of marijuana increases the chances of one suffering from lung cancer in the future; marijuana also affects other body organs such as the reproductive system. The drug is also addictive as there has been a sign of withdrawal systems in people. From the discussion above, marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes. However, the legalization of recreational marijuana use should be undertaken with proper policies.
Armstrong, Malcolm. “Cannabis Act Memorandum.” Available at SSRN 3187771 (2018). Web.
Daniller, A. (2019). Two-thirds of Americans Support Marijuana Legalization. Pew Research Center, Web.
Henchman, Joseph. “Marijuana Legalization and Taxes: The Impact of Section 280E.” Tax Foundation Special Report (2016).2-4. Web.
Balbuena, J. M. “The Successful Canna-preneur: The Practical Guide to Thrive in the Legal Cannabis Space.” (2020). Web.
Papava, Vladimer, Vakhtang Charania, and Gocha Tsopurashvili. “What Will the Marijuana Economy Give to Georgia?” GFSIS, Expert Opinion 114 (2019). Web.
Ghosh, Tista, et al. “The Public Health Framework of Legalized Marijuana in Colorado.” American journal of public health 106.1 (2016): 21-27.
Tawfik, Gehad Mohamed, et al. “A Commentary on the Medicinal Use of Marijuana.” Tropical medicine and health 47.1 (2019): 1-4. Web.
Wong, Trevor. “AB 1578: The End of Marijuana Prohibition as We Know It.” McGeorge L. Rev. 49 (2017): 449. Web.