The Great Marijuana Rush

With an increasingly liberal mindset in the United States population, the idea of recreational drug use is not as taboo as it once was. Every day debates are spawning across the country for drugs such as marijuana legalization in the states . The idea of recreational drug use has been contested for many years, but today we have 23number of states that have marijuana legalized for medicinal reasons plus Washington D.C.  In these states marijuana is used either as a recreational drug or as a medicinal drug. The demographic of marijuana is broadcasted and thought to be mainstream-ly young adults and teenagers but it is something everybody could use for many different reasons.  Marijuana became illegal nationally by the marijuana tax act of 1937. However, can 2015 be the year that marijuana is fully legalized? The chances are pretty high of it happening around this time as this country’s population becomes more liberal and less conservative.

    This map shows the legalized areas       

This blog post is designed to explain why marijuana SHOULD be legalized.  Besides everything being really funny and laughing for a few hours, there are many benefits from this plant. Many include: medicinal benefits, debt relief, less criminal charges, and it being over all safe compared to alcohol and other “legal drugs”. Despite this, it has been stigmatized as a detriment to society. It has been used as grounds for termination of employment, imprisonment, and has been used as a scapegoat for racism*. Worse still, more destructive drugs than marijuana remain legal (namely, alcohol), even in absence of legitimate benefits such as those that exist for marijuana. Countless organizations continue to discourage the legalization and use of marijuana, often denying that marijuana is a safe drug, despite many scientific studies that state the opposite.

One of the greatest benefits of marijuana are its medicinal properties. Countless studies have shown that marijuana can help alleviate symptoms of diseases such as multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and glaucoma. Beyond that, it is useful as a painkiller. This is a great property, because it lacks many of the toxins and side effects caused by chemicals put in other conventional painkillers. In fact, studies have even shown that moderate usage of marijuana over time can reduce one’s chances of contracting head or neck cancer. Further, two chemicals in marijuana (THC and CBD) have been shown to kill tumor cells. It has many benefits, and it has even been proven that lung cancer (which many associate with marijuana) is not caused by marijuana.

Now monetarily speaking, if legalization were to occur and taxation is installed, an. Now that’s some serious money for a country in 1.5 trillion dollars worth of debt weighing on its shoulders. With that relief, the USA can stress less with the money and maybe can get out of this debt (and that way we don’t become part of the Republic of China). To reiterate, that’s 100 Billion DOLLARS! All from something that people would enjoy and for some help with pain, sounds worth it. This money is purely from taxation and sales, there are other monetary gains that occur from marijuana besides these two.

There is also monetary benefit from decriminalizing this plant. In 1991, there were fewer than 800 arrests in NYC but that number increased astonglishy to over 59000 in 2010. Nationally within the 9 year period of 2001-2010, there were more than 8.2 million arrests for marijuana, 9 out of 10 being possession. The American Liberties Union claimed that more than 3.6 Billion dollars were spent on enforcing laws on small possessions of marijuana. That’s 3.6 Billion dollars that could have been spent on schools or roads. If this were to be terminated, money would be spent better than arresting non-violent “crime do-ers”. Also billions of dollars are spent on inmates and that can definitely be also used for schools. Schools need money too.

Not only does the criminalization of marijuana make an abundant amount of of useless arrests, it calls for lots of racial inequality. The ACLU claim that blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites. That is a disgusting figure in a year where racism should have died off but racial profiling still exists till this day. The article from NY time says, “Blacks are more than 10 times as likely as whites to go to prison for drug offenses. For those on probation or parole for any offense, a failed drug test on its own can lead to prison time — which means, again, that people can be put behind bars for smoking marijuana.” This can cause lots of tensions between law enforcement and minority communities and may cause uproars. This can be grounds for extreme racial inequality in places like Iowa, where blacks are arrested 8.3 times more than white people .

A young man advocating for marijuana decriminalization

Now it was mentioned earlier, how marijuana can affect and help some diseases and disorders with use. But there are also reasons of how it is much healthier to use than alcohol and other “legal drugs”. The Center Disease Control and Prevention states more than 37000 deaths for alcohol every year but does not even have any deaths relating to marijuana. When alcohol is consumed past the comfort level, people can die from overdose. Hundreds of death are accounted due to alcohol overdose and poisoning. There are countless websites advocating the safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and they write here, “Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that 36 percent of hospitalized assaults and 21 percent of all injuries are attributable to alcohol use by the injured person. Meanwhile, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that lifetime use of marijuana is rarely associated with emergency room visits” . The numbers speak alone, yet congress still finds a way to hold off the progression of this movement.

Marijuana doesn’t have to be just portrayed as 13 year olds smoking behind and abandoned building at night. It can become a beautiful product that adults can enjoy legally at bars or shops or even at the comfort of their homes. With its great recreational benefits and enjoyment to its healing and comforting jobs it does for illnesses, marijuana is an amazing plant that can soon be a great moneymaker for this country. The scientific basis should be enough in legislation but the monetary and civil reasons are also a huge plus in this movement to create a better country for everyone. From young to old, and black to white, Marijuana is still Marijuana to every person and does not change. It can help change us as human individuals but as citizens to each other.

http://archive.saferchoice.org/content/view/24/53/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/opinion/high-time-the-injustice-of-marijuana-arrests.html?_r=1

http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/legalize_mariju.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/economists-marijuana-legalization_n_1431840.html

http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/10-facts-about-marijuana

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