The issue on legalizing marijuana is a very controversial topic in the U.S. and all around the world. This is an issue for the fact that some people are being denied medical treatments just because marijuana has been illegal and misunderstood for so long. For as long as anyone can remember medical and legal marijuana has been seen in the negative side of the news and bad opinions by the general population. In recent years people, local governments, and state governments in the United States have been speaking out and is changing the way many people are viewing marijuana in this paper we will discuss the financial, medical, negative and positive effects of marijuana. Ways that you can fix this issue are contacting your local and state governments and expressing your opinions on this issue. First, look at the way America is viewing the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana now being fully legalized in Colorado and Washington, also with 23 states making it legal for medical purposes and 6 others decriminalizing the drug is now on a different path with legalization. “Owners of the 37 new dispensaries around the state reported first week retail sales to The Huffington Post that, when added together, were roughly $5 million.” (Frener, 2014).
As you can see the financial revenue from just one state in its first week of opening is huge. All of this money can go back into school programs, equipment for classrooms, and other community related budgets. Colorado and Washington are hopeful that they will make up to 2.1 billion in revenue for the states. Uses for medical marijuana have been looked down upon until recent years. Many people follow what their parents think of the drug and that it is bad or they follow what their friends think. Scientists have been researching the positive medical effects of marijuana from tests and studies. “Medical marijuana has shown positive results for epilepsy treatment, especially for patients who have physical resistance, to traditional medications. A special strain cultivated for pediatric epileptic treatment, called ‘Charlotte’s Web’ has become widely popular, with parents flocking to Colorado to get a supply for their children.” (Shim, 2014).
This just shows how important cannabis can be for people and their kids in Utah. The main chemical that affects the way we feel and the main medical ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol is effective in treating chronic pain, vomiting, nausea, anorexia, and other social psychological disorders. With all of this research being found over the years we can only assume that if legalized who knows what we can find from continued research. There is also the more serious side of medical marijuana and that is the help it has towards serious illness and diseases that cannabis has already been known to help cure. All of this knowledge has been discovered has had with major diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, major depression, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and many forms of cancer. Next, many studies have been done on how much worse cigarettes are for you then marijuana. Research has been shown that cigarettes have been proven to be a lot worse for your lungs then weed. You can benefit from marijuana in many ways smoking it is the worst but quickest way to get the effect. Some people use vaporizers so it won’t be as harmful on their throat and lungs. The healthiest ways to take in the medicine is in an edible or pill form.
Another thing that makes smoking cigarettes a lot worse than smoking marijuana is the addictive effects of nicotine that marijuana doesn’t have. In the year 2012, someone was arrested for marijuana related crimes every 42 seconds. If you really think about it that’s almost one person a minute, or 60 people every hour and so on. Now look to the next year and our current year. Crime rates have plummeted in Colorado in late 2013 and in 2014 basically are non-existent. “While marijuana prosecutions against people over 21 declined, so did prosecutions against people under 21, for whom all marijuana possession remains illegal except for medical marijuana patients. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he thinks the drop in cases may be due to police not wanting to parse the complexities of the state’s marijuana law.” (Ingold, 2014) People in the United States pay around 8% tax revenue to keep prisoners in custody. Many of these people are only there for a minor crime of selling or in possession of marijuana.
If marijuana were to become legal, many of these people would have a better time finding a job, save America millions of dollars, and these peoples’ lives wouldn’t be ruined over a harmless drug. Medical Marijuana could be one of the main factors to get us out of this deep recession. The United States could make so much more money by legalizing marijuana, and applying higher taxes on the marijuana they sell. One thing you might see the government doing this with is cigarettes. You may not notice the inflation of how much the tax on cigarettes go up depending on how much of a dense population will have higher tax on cigarettes. This is mainly for profits to go back into the government. If you do the research a pack of cigarettes costs about 40 cents to make that is two cents a cigarette, but if that is the case then why are cigarettes 5-12 dollars, because depending on where you are the taxes will go up. If you are somewhere like Virginia, where cigarettes are made, you can get a pack for five dollars.
Then there are places like New York where it can be 10-15 dollars a pack. If The United States did the same thing with marijuana who knows how much this could raise revenue. But how would they package and sell marijuana? One way the government could sell this product would be to have pre rolled joints (rolled up marijuana cigarettes) in a pack, maybe not in a pack of 20 but something smaller. So it could be sold in a dispensary but also in smoke shops and gas stations in states where it is legal that is. One of the government’s main concerns for not legalizing is the how America will view the change in laws. Something we can see is the rise in support of this drug and how it is affecting the lives of many people in The United States and around the world. People will buy marijuana even if the taxes are ridiculous as long as it’s legal I don’t think people are going to have a problem with purchasing legal marijuana. Now for the negatives, many people that are for the legalization of marijuana might also have the mindset that marijuana doesn’t have negative effects on the brain and body.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is activated in the brain using cannabinoid receptors, once the THC enters your brain it hits these receptors creating your “high”. The cannabinoid receptors affect the parts of the body that have to do with memory, pleasure, organized thought, senses, and time perception. Marijuana causes health risks in the heart and lungs depending on how you choose to consume the drug. “THC messes with brain areas called the cerebellum and basal ganglia, which regulate balance, posture, coordination, and reaction time. When these brain areas are disturbed, the user has a harder time walking and talking correctly, becoming quite clumsy. It also impacts their ability to drive” (Welsh,Spector, 2013). . The lungs also experience burning and stinging in the mouth and lungs when marijuana is smoked. Studies have also been done to see the effects of sleep, and they say that if you go to sleep high it can interrupt one of the 5 stages of sleep and make it so you don’t get as much sleep.
One thing that the government is worried about when legalizing marijuana is it can put a damper on the financial benefits of legalization of at home growing. If the drug is legalized what is to stop people from growing their own? Laziness, what percent of Americans grow and raise their own food so what makes them think they will grow their own weed? On the other hand growing this plant is not very hard. This will always raise more questions for the people. Will there be laws against growing your own? How will they regulate that? The government will always find a way to benefit from your happiness.
In conclusion, marijuana is slowly creeping its way into our lives one way or another. If it is legalized for the financial benefits to help The United States get out of its recession, to financially help out communities by putting the revenue into our schools, parks, or general community improvement. Even if it is only legalized for one of its countless medical benefits from cancer, depression, anxiety, HIV/AIDS treatment, or to help someone get over an eating disorder. Now there is always the possibility that America won’t legalize for negative health reasons, or social shaming from other Americans. The amount of states getting bills, setting boundaries, making laws, and opening up, are phenomenal. Get ready, legalization could be closer than you think.
Armentano, P. (2014, January 7). Recent Research on Medical Marijuana. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana
Ferner , M. (2014, January 8). Colorado Recreational Marijuana Sales Exceed $5 Million In First Week. Retrieved March 24, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/marijuana-sales-colorado_n_4552371.html
Ingold, J. (2014, 12). Marijuana case filings plummet in Colorado following legalization. Retrieved March 19, 2014, from http://www.denverpost.com/marijuana/ci_24894248/marijuana-case-filings-plumme
Nelson, S. (2013, September 16). Police Made One Marijuana Arrest Every 42 Seconds in 2012 – US News. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/09/16/police-made-one-marijuana-arrest-every-42-seconds-in-2012
Shim, E. (2014, March 14). A 22nd State Is About to Legalize Medical Marijuana – PolicyMic. Retrieved March 18, 2014, from http://www.policymic.com/articles/85291/a-22nd-state-is-about-to-legalize-medical-marijuana
Welsh, J., & Spector, D. (2013, April 20). Physical And Mental Effects Of Marijuana – Business Insider. Retrieved March 19, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/physical-and-mental-effects-of-marijuana-2013-4?op=1