Legalizing Marijuana has been a controversial and extremely volatile topic ever since the 1970’s. Many people hold strong beliefs regarding this topic and the subsequent laws that have been passed in certain states for the use of the recreational drug. However, marijuana is not just a recreational drug, but has many different wonderful medical purposes for the American people. Marijuana should be legalized for recreational and medical purposes throughout this country. This “drug” should be legalized throughout this country because unlike many of the legal substances that the United States provides, no one has died or been hospitalized for the use of marijuana. Additionally, marijuana would be an amazing product that the government can have their hands on, and provide it to the people all while taxing and regulating its product.
This would have multiple benefits throughout every major city, depleting the use of illegal drug cartel and being able to extract millions, maybe even trillions amount of dollars in tax revenue. Finally, one of my concluding reasons as to why marijuana should be legalized is because marijuana, unlike all the legal substances, is not a gateway drug and according to many studies “A small minority of Americans- less than 1 percent- smoke marijuana on a daily basis” (CQ researcher 531). Those who are opposing this highly beneficial and amazing drug that could help potentially save lives, hide behind their numerous walls of misconception.
A famous quote once said by Bob Marley says “herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.” This quote, I believe, was said to the nation of the United States indirectly. The damages that alcohol can do to ones body is much worse than of that of marijuana, and yet it is still legal. Whereas marijuana is illegal in most states and has more medical uses and benefits. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 an-nual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (i.e. this figure does not include accidental deaths). On the other hand, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana” (Saferchoice 1). Just because marijuana has been referred to as a drug many perceive it as being the type of drug where it controls the household, or breaks up the family, ruining the lives of the ones who used it.
However I believe that this “drug” needs to be reevaluated for the good of humanity. “If people are truly growing it for personal consumption, its not an issue with us”(CQ Researcher 527) said Marc Alcantara and his 22 officer unit focus on commercial marijuana growing. Officers of the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force has his priorities straight when it comes to marijuana, but he is not talking about your “backyard smokers.” Marc is talking about the indoor growing operations that have skyrocketed in the last 5 years over 265 percent. “Indoor growing operations are capable of turning out three crops a year, typically grossing $250,000 per crop.”( CQ Researcher 527) With marijuana already a lucrative California crop, Alcantara believes that we should go completely legal in the state of California, and legalize the entire cannabis industry and tax the product.
Of course, Alcantara is not the only person who gets a say in this, as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks that it is not a time where we can just legalize something as powerful as this, but its defiantly time to talk about it. Unfortunately “right now is a hard time to convince the U.S. Congress that smoking weed is medicine” (CQ Researcher 527). The big question as to why marijuana hasn’t been legalized yet is out on the table. People have been talking about this proposition for the last five to six years. Evaluating marijuana as a revenue source requires solid estimates of the size of marijuana crops, and the figures vary widely. A nationwide cannabis crop estimate of 10 million metric tons- worth 35.8 billion- was what was recorded by the White House drug- policy office in 2003.
But some dismiss this fact because individuals believe that the United States would need somewhere between “… 4 to 10 times more cannabis than it needs to cover domestic consumption.”(CQ Researcher 530) Even with a high demand of consumptions the United States government would be able to regulate and tax the marijuana accordingly to help stimulate the economy. “If you made it licit, and taxed it, the price would collapse.” (CQ Researcher 530) Stating that it would be harder to sell on the streets making the product more of a pharmaceutical drug instead of a street drug. In 2005 cigarette smoking had declined drastically, “…378 billion cigarettes sold in the United States was the lowest number since 1951, when the nations population was about half its present size.”(CQ Researcher 530) Marijuana was not only more safe than the effects and harm of alcohol but also it is more safe than the effect of tobacco as well.
Although marijuana has its perks, it is still a drug and can very well have its down sides. “Long term marijuana use can be addictive for some people” (CQ Researcher 531). For those people who smoke marijuana 27 out of 30 days, critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning were significantly impaired, even after they had not used the drug for at least 24 hours. But although these side effects will happen, they will however not kill you, unlike the effects of alcohol and tobacco. Also with the effects of marijuana in early adolescents, can increase the likelihood of drug problems later in life.
Legalizing marijuana would not only help the individuals who could use the powerful effects of it, it could also make room in our jails and make it easier on our police officers out on the streets. No more will an officer have to make a report for someone who was casually smoking a joint on the park bench. “The budget issue is very important, but we should not loose sight of the moral component- 700,000 Americans are being arrested every year for nothing more than a marijuana possession. Those arrested are separated from their loved ones, branded criminals, denied jobs and in many cases prohibited from accessing public assistance for life.” (CQ Researcher 533) Marijuana is used in our lives for entertainment purposes, for recreational purposes, and most of all health purposes.
A recent Washington Post review of a concert by The Dead (formerly the Grateful Dead) described seeing in the audience a “50-something with a tucked in polo button down shirt, and a blackberry holster at the hip slyly taking a hit of a joint.” (CQ Researcher 532) This individual wasn’t trying to hurt anyone, nor was he trying to bother anyone, but because the substance he was smoking was illegal he was targeted. This man in any other setting wouldn’t be looked at as a criminal but instead he is now getting a ticket and a humiliating felony on his recored, that could potentially ruin his life.
Marijuana has been a topic of discussion for the last decade. Whether to legalize it, or keep it a street drug. Some say that legalizing it will only make it worse for the environment, making it everywhere around us, and having the whole world high. Others say that legalizing it will help, not only the economy, but the people living in the United States tremendously. Some say that keeping it illegal is better, but then complain about how bad the economy is, while others say that keeping it illegal will only hurt us in the long run. Whichever side your on, make sure you have evidence that supports your reasoning. There are so many different opinions to this matter and I feel that in the sooner years it will should be legal.
I felt as if this article not only brought both elements to the table but also gave me different ways to look at the certain situation. This article was both inspiring and reasonable. It showed me that there are certain reasons as to why this product isn’t quite legal on the street just yet. This article gave me facts that I had no idea about and I really liked how it didn’t side with one specific side. Having both sides of the argument in this topic showed me a new light towards why not legalize it. There are many reasons as to why you shouldn’t legalize it, but not too many for the side of why too legalize it.
I found a lot of great and intellectual information in this article that I would love to use in my life, and found a few new ways to think of things towards this situation. I enjoyed reading this article a lot and actually look forward in reading some more in my future.