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Advantages of Legalizing Marijuana
Why is it that states such as Colorado, Oregon, and 27 others have legalized the use of Marijuana while the remaining 31 states sit back and try to fight the inevitable future of Marijuana use? Cannabis was first introduced to the new world in 1545 and has been around ever since (Narconon). It has been used recreationally as well as medical. The problem with marijuana is that in order to get the effect of the plant, it is smoked and inhaled, and that raises a red flag. Another red flag that arises is the “high” that is experienced through the use of this drug. These to red flags have often been associated with death and stupidity. It is for these reasons that most states still have marijuana outlawed. But marijuana, through research, has proven to not be completely bad. The problem with this issue, like any other political issue, is that people focus so much on the negative effects such as smoke inhalation and hallucinations and completely ignore the advantages that are right in front of them. And I will admit, there are a lot of deaths due to lung failure due to smoking, but smoking cigarettes can give you the same kind of lung problems. So why is it that cigarettes aren’t illegal. After conducting extensive research, it has been shown that the pros of legalizing marijuana are actually extremely beneficial to our nation. Legalizing marijuana would open the door to medical breakthroughs, crime reduction, and economic prosperity. What we will explore throughout this paper is how legal marijuana can attribute to these areas of national prosperity.
To begin with, marijuana has been experimented in medical treatments for many years. It has been shown that marijuana can be used to treat disease such as: “cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, spasticity disorder, intractable pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, Crohn disease, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, chronic renal failure requiring, Hemodialysis, traumatic brain injury, any disease that results in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms or spasticity”(Pettinato 43). For example, Medical marijuana can be used to treat many “untreatable” diseases such as cancer. Marijuana contains two chemicals, that scientist know of so far, that are found in many prescribed drugs. The chemicals cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been found in marijuana. Cannabidiol is a chemical that has been known to have properties that prevent the spread of cancer. Cancer spreads with the help of a gene called Id-1. CBD puts a stop to the production of this gene with results in the stunting of cancer growth. So even though Marijuana might not be able to cure cancer, it can prevent it from spreading long enough to get the cancerous cells remove and save someone’s life. Adding to the benefits of Medical marijuana, the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol has also been found in the chemical makeup. THC has properties that helps with swelling and pain like an ibuprofen does. These agents of marijuana have proved to help control epileptic seizures due to the to the muscle relaxants that are in THC and CBD (NIDA). Furthermore, THC has been linked to be able to help with nausea and give therapeutic effects. An example of these effects is anxiety relief. I know that a lot of people deal with stress in the United States. Whether it be from work or personal issues. Everyone has dealt with stress at least one I their life, and marijuana can be used to counter this stress. The point is, there is a vast amount of research out there about the benefits of CBD and THC and how they can be used to treat illness and disease. Adding to this, a growing concern in the United States is death due to overdoes of prescribed opioids. Opioids are narcotics that give morphine-like effects. They are mostly used as pain killers for chronic pain. The problem with using these is that they are dangerous and have led to at least 15,000 deaths due to overdose of these prescribed drugs in 2015(Pettinato 42). Adding to this madness, when people are no longer able to obtain these prescribed drugs, they turn the alternative, heroin. Once you factor in the deaths due to heroin, the total amount of deaths rises to over 33,000 deaths in the year of 2015 by itself. A solution to this epidemic can be resolved through the use of medical marijuana. In states where legal marijuana has been used, the deaths due to opioid overdosed have been shown to decrease by approximately 25% (Pettinato 42).Despite all this medical research, states still try to fight off marijuana. If the medical advantages of legalizing marijuana is not enough then we must explore the next area where legal cannabis can be a great asset.
The war on drugs in America has been going on for years and it is a war that the United States is losing. Millions of arrest are made each year for drug related crimes and marijuana is the reason for half of those crimes. Between the years 2001 and 2010, 8.2 million arrests have been made connecting to marijuana (ACLU). In 2016 it was discovered that arrest for marijuana made up over 5% of all arrest in the United States, adding to this, there has been more marijuana arrest than arrest for crimes such as murder and rape (Ingraham). Adding to this, some murder cases are attributed to conflict over drugs such as marijuana. But why are crimes related to marijuana so high? Many states in the U.S. have strict policies on marijuana with leads sellers and suppliers in only on the direction, the Black Market. The Black Market is where all illegal trafficking and trades occur. And with the Black Market comes the gangs. Gangs have been around for a long time and more gangs are created each year. With the rise of gangs comes the battle of territory. Gangs need places to seller their drugs and usually take to the streets of cities. It is a frequently occurrence when two gangs try to sell on the same block. This always leads to violence and death for both gang members and innocent civilians who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. So what’s the solution to the madness? Legalize it. What arrest are there to make if possession of marijuana becomes legal? There would be no gang violence over who sells where is you could purchase marijuana at your local pharmacy. And because you can purchase weed at the pharmacy, it will mean there is no need for the black market for the obtainment of marijuana.
This would begin the process of dismantling the black market as a whole. Of course, illegal drug sales is just a smidge of Black Market operations, but it’s a start. Furthermore, if marijuana was legalized, it would allow for the government to focus on more important crimes such as murder, rape, and terrorism. Lastly, imagine how much money would be saved? This leads to the final advantage of legalizing marijuana.
“U.S. law enforcement against the sale and possession of marijuana has been estimated to cost close to $8 billion a year in criminal justice resources” (Shepard 403). If marijuana was legalized, that money could be put back into the economy and used for new roads, schools, and government projects. But the major advantage to legalizing marijuana is the revenue that the government would get from taxes. In 2015, Colorado, alone, accumulated more than $1,500,000,000 in taxes on legally sold weed. And as a whole, sales of marijuana amounted to a staggering $996 million. With the 29 states that have legalized marijuana, sales in the United States have increased 30% (Krishna). Adding to this, in 2016, an astounding $53 billion worth of marijuana was sold in North America las year with 87% coming from illegal sales (Maxfield 04b). Could you imagine the growth of the economy if all 50 states legalized marijuana. Also, if marijuana was legalized, marijuana farms would be created which would mean that more taxes would be able to be collected from these farms. Money talks and the legalization of marijuana has a big mouth.
In conclusion, the controversy over the fate of marijuana is still highly controversial. This is seen throughout the United States as to some states having it legalized and some states having it illegal. We have examined both the pros and cons of marijuana from both a legal and illegal standpoint. What blinds states from cannabis’ potential is the fact that marijuana has a negative connotation to it that leads to states refusing to legalize it. These cons include respiratory cancer due to the smoke inhalation, and hallucinations that create a “high” experience that is to blame for acts of recklessness. But there are other ways to get the benefit of cannabis without these effects. Researches have and will continue to explore the possibilities of marijuana use as the years go by. As of now, through extensive research and common sense, the view of marijuana has hopefully been altered for those who oppose the idea of having it become legal. Through medical research it is discovered that marijuana may have the answer to the fight against cancer and other diseases as well as be used as a tool for therapy from the stress of the real world. Crime research showed us that illegal marijuana is the cause for millions of crimes a year as well as death due to drug related gang violence. On the other hand, legal marijuana could eliminate drug related crime because anyone could simply get some cannabis at a local pharmacy and wouldn’t have to use the Black Market or any other illegal method. Lastly, through economist, it is shown that legal marijuana could exponentially improve the economy through just the vast revenue that would result in the legal sales of weed as well as the taxes on weed farms. Who knows, marijuana may just be the answer the U.S. needs to eliminate the countries debt. The point is, marijuana is here to stay, we can either continue to fight is and continue to deal with death, violence and debt, or we can embrace it and make it into a beacon for those on their deathbeds, those who live in fear of gangs, and for the united states a whole.

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