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Over The Past Couple Of Years

Over the past couple of years there has been tons of controversy over the legalization of marijuana. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. “Eight states and the District of Columbia have adopted the most expansive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, sales of recreational-use marijuana in California kicked off on Jan. 1. In Massachusetts, retail sales of cannabis are expected to start later this year in July. Voters in Maine similarly approved a ballot measure legalizing marijuana in 2016. The state, however, has not yet adopted rules for licensed marijuana growers or retailers, nor has it begun accepting licenses. Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have established a legal framework for sales of the drug. The vast majority of states allow for limited use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with types of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Louisiana, West Virginia and a few other states allow only for cannabis-infused products, such as oils or pills. Other states have passed narrow laws allowing residents to possess cannabis only if they suffer from select rare medical illnesses. A number of states have also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Our map shows current state laws and recently-approved ballot measures legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. Final rules for recently-passed medical marijuana laws are pending in some states.” (Governing The States and Localities , 2018) (Harding, 2018)

There is additional public support for marijuana law reform than ever before with new polls showing over 0.5 the country is in favor of legalizing marijuana. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) believes marijuana ought to be faraway from the criminal justice system and controlled like alcohol and tobacco. There are several pros to why America should legalize marijuana. Reasons being: Reduce harm, create jobs, save money, and promote consumer safety.

Reducing harm would come from the criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth access. People of color get incarcerated for the use, attempted use, and intent to sell the most. If we made marijuana legal not only state wide, but federal wise there would be a lot less people going to jail as well as tons of space opening up in jails from letting these individuals out. We wouldn’t have to fund jails as much since majority of the inmates are there because they obtained, or sold marijuana. “Gang-related drug violence is still a very real part of life in many urban areas around the country. But the legalization of recreational marijuana would remove one of those sources of dispute. In the states where marijuana is completely legal, those who encounter injustice of some type can now turn to the police and the court system rather than turning to vigilantism. That benefits not just their safety, but the safety of the public at large who were often innocent victims of gang-related drug violence.” (Franciosi, 2017)

Marijuana would create so many jobs, legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market. Not only will it create jobs and bring in a significant amount of cash to the government, it would help the economy immensely. “One of the biggest pros that has come from the legalization debate is that of increased tax revenue. To illustrate the point, legal sales of cannabis products amounted to $996 million in 2015. That’s almost a billion dollars spent! And the tax revenue collected off those sales was equally as staggering—$135 million. That money can be used to fix roads, fund public projects, improve schools, hire more police and firefighters…the list goes on and on.” (Franciosi, 2017)

Back to people going to jail over weed, scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales. Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use, which promotes consumer safety. “Better funding means more individuals to handle the load. And more time means more attention paid to preventing violent crimes. Too often, both the police and the court system were overwhelmed with handling individuals brought in for simply possessing marijuana. The problem was, under the law, those individuals had to be treated as though they were carrying meth, heroin, or cocaine. That flooded the court system and overcrowded our prison system. Legalizing marijuana would relieve the pressure on these already-overworked public servants.” (Franciosi, 2017)

As if these weren’t enough reasons to legalize marijuana, there’s a reason we have medicinal marijuana. Medical weed is used to help a variety of different diseases / illnesses. It can help pain with: Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraines, PTSD, cancer, problems due to chemotherapy, and a ton of other painful illnesses. “Your body already makes marijuana-like chemicals that affect pain, inflammation, and many other processes. Marijuana can sometimes help those natural chemicals work better, says Laura Borgelt, PharmD, of the University of Colorado” (Harding, 2018)

Now the cons of marijuana seem to not be as extensive, and way less easy to find. When researching cons, I only found a handful of reasons, reasons the jury seems to think are valid claims. Cons or legalizing marijuana are: Marijuana is addictive, second hand smoke could become a problem, decreased mental health, lungs are at risk, alters perception, and is a gateway drug. These all vary person to person on how marijuana truly affects them; what might happen to one person when high isn’t the same with what might happen to another person while high.

It’s very controversy to know if weed is truly addictive or not. Some say they’ve never been addicted to weed, while others can’t go more than 5 minutes without it. Scientists area unit still divided on the topic of addiction. Some claim cannabis isn’t as addictive as more durable medication like crack and meth. Others claim, one in 10 marijuana users develop dependence over time. They purpose to the very fact that stopping marijuana cold turkey can result in withdrawal symptoms like irritability and anxiety. The same, however, may well be same of coffin nail smoking (which is legal). a lot of study can ought to be done to work out if marijuana is actually as addictive because the opponents of cannabis legalization claim. I personally believe that there’s no addicting factor to marijuana, a person may be addicted to getting high but not the weed itself.

Second hand smoke can also vary person to person. If one doesn’t have a tolerance to marijuana smoke, they can easily get a contact high just from being in the same room inhaling the second hand smoke. Others may just leave the room with the smell of weed on their clothes without it having affected them at all. “We’re all familiar with the debate involving the negative health effects of second-hand smoke from cigarettes. The same debate swirls around cannabis smoke. Could second-hand smoke from marijuana cause non-smokers to have lung problems? Can they accumulate THC in their bloodstream? Will they experience a contact high? These questions are still being studied to determine the efficacy of the opponents’ claims.” (Franciosi, 2017)

The next con I had a hard time finding realistic. This con being, decreased mental health. “Opponents of legalized recreational marijuana like to point to studies that show that marijuana smokers suffer from everything from restricted blood flow to the brain, to memory loss, to the increased likelihood of schizophrenia and depression. But science is still not completely certain about these assertions. The schizophrenia and depression issue is particularly cloudy because researchers don’t know if the drug itself triggers the problem, or if cannabis users use the drug to alleviate and deal with the symptoms.” (Franciosi, 2017)There is no real research that can prove that marijuana decreases mental health, if anything it helps with seizures, anxiety, and even PTSD.

This con claims that smoking marijuana is worse for the lungs than smoking a cigarette. The marijuana smoker, (at least presumed) takes the smoke deeper into her lungs, and hold it there longer, than they would if they were smoking a cigarette. This deeper, longer exposure to carcinogens will increase the chance of carcinoma. The theory, though, doesn’t bit on the various frequencies with that cigarette and marijuana smokers partake. Nor will it take into consideration the alternate ways of administration like vaporizing, tinctures, and edibles. Smoking anything whether it be a cigarette, cigar, or a joint will do damage to the lungs. Cigarettes cause more damage since they leave all the tar, and chemicals behind on a person’s lungs.

Like alcohol, marijuana alters your perception. And like alcohol, this altered perception may lead to issues of impaired driving. Driving below the influence of marijuana may compound the already major downside of driving whereas below the influence of alcohol. It may conjointly, opponents claim, result in a rise in more durable crimes like theft and violence as a result of lapses in judgement brought on by marijuana’s hallucinogenic effects. I don’t entirely disagree with the statement that marijuana alters a person’s perception. However, marijuana doesn’t alter a person’s perception nearly as much as consuming alcohol does.

Lastly, Marijuana has long been thought-about as a drug of abuse. It’s thought that after an individual tries marijuana, their vulnerable to making an attempt to tougher, additional dangerous medicine. Specialists wish to purpose to analysis that implies that victimization marijuana can be coupled to additional serious black substances like hard drug and prescription painkillers. Going back to what I stated earlier, people aren’t necessarily addicted to the weed itself, but the feeling of being high. If a person can no longer get high they might very well take measures into their own hands and try something harder.

In conclusion, I still feel as though marijuana should be legalized worldwide, but to have limitations / restrictions on it. For example, a person should be 18 years or older to be able to purchase marijuana of any kind, there should be a fairly reasonable-high tax on all marijuana purchases, and there should be compensation to all those who got incarcerated because of this substance. There are no known deaths that were caused by marijuana unlike cigarettes and alcohol. It should also be regulated how much a person is able to buy in one sitting.

Freelance Writer

I’m a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. My work has been featured in publications like the L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Farther Finance, Teen Vogue, Grammarly, The Startup, Mashable, Insider, Forbes, Writer (formerly Qordoba), MarketWatch, CNBC, and USA Today, among others.