Top 10 Reasons to Legalize Marijuana: Legalize it.
Marijuana, a.k.a cannabis, pot, weed, hemp, or reefer, has been a topic of heated debates for many years, but now, it is in the spotlight more than ever. The issue about the use of this drug is becoming more and more topical because people are debating whether or not to legalize it. Marijuana, as well all know, is the most commonly used drug in the world. In fact, around 3.8 percent of the world’s population or 158.8 million people around the world use marijuana, according to United Nations. And the number is continuously rising.
It is said that this drug can help cure diseases, including cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS. Other people claim that it is a great stress reliever and a useful medicine for pain. Even doctors prescribed this drug to people who have problems in sleeping and eating. While some people think that cannabis is a harmful drug, majority of people in the country now support the legalization of it. As of June 2014, 23 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form with three more states considering it. As what Major Neil Franklin (Ret.), a former police officer and current head of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), said, “The legalization of marijuana is good for law enforcement, good for families, and good for our communities.” And here are more other reasons why marijuana should be legalized worldwide.
- Marijuana Is Not A Harmful Drug; In Fact, It Is Much Safer Than Alcohol And Tobacco.
If you’re like most Americans, you have been brought up to believe that marijuana is a dangerous drug – once you take it, your life is gone. Well, that’s not surprising at all. People believe that cannabis has destroyed the lives of millions of people worldwide – the very reason why people discourage the use of it. But the problem is that people hardly know about marijuana. The funny thing is they have never even tried it and assume the worst.
The truth is marijuana is not a harmful drug. Although the use of it can have negative effects on physical and mental health, if used well, it benefits the user. And when it comes to relative risks and harm, marijuana is proven to be far less harmful than other products, particularly alcohol and tobacco.
Excessive drinking and tobacco use are two of the most leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths in United States annually, including an estimated of nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from exposure to secondhand smoke. Alcohol drinking, on the other hand, was responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths each year in United States from 2006-2010. The CDC doesn’t even have a record that identifies the number of deaths caused by the use of marijuana.
- It Has Medical Value.
With the recent legalization of medical marijuana in 23 U.S. states, more and more people are starting to turn to marijuana as a treatment option for various ailments. Well, the use of marijuana for medical purposes is no longer new. As early as 2700 B.C., ancient doctors used cannabis as a treatment for gout, digestive disorders, rheumatism, insomnia, and even poor memory. And in recent years, tons of researches have been conducted showing that marijuana is a miracle drug with the ability to cure serious ailments, including cancer, AIDS, and neuropathic pain.
Marijuana is derived from dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa), which contains an active ingredient, called as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or much commonly known as THC. This compound gives the feelings of euphoria and “high,” and contains a significant amount of pain-relieving properties. That is why people who take marijuana experience more positive moods and relief from pain.
While the debate regarding the use of marijuana is still ongoing, the support for marijuana is continually growing as more and more studies are published showcasing its positive health benefits. One of the THC’s benefits has been found to be for the treatment of glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world. A 1971 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that marijuana significantly lowered intraocular pressure (IOP) by 25-30 percent. Another study, which was also published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 2012, revealed that marijuana can improve lung health.
Health experts also found that marijuana can significantly ease the symptoms of nausea and vomiting (N/V) from chemotherapy. In fact two cannabis-based drugs, known as dronabinol and nabilone, have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of N/V in cancer patients.
- It Can Help The Government Generate Additional Revenue.
Marijuana doesn’t only benefit the body, but the economy as well. Just like medicines and other goods, legalization of marijuana can substantially rake huge amount of profits, which we badly need in these economic times. In the first six months of 2014, Colorado alone has pulled in more than $25 million dollar pot-related tax revenue, and the state expects the value to triple in the middle of 2015. Just think about how much money the country will make if the entire U.S. legalized the use of cannabis?
According to the latest analysis by the NerdWallet, if all 50 states legalized marijuana today, the country could gain over $3 billion in tax revenue. This very large potential profit can be extremely helpful in our entire nation. It can used to better education, improve healthcare, develop the justice system, help the poor, pay off country’s debt, and fortify unfunded government programs. And remember that besides sales tax, several other revenues can also be generated when marijuana is legalized. Once legal, states and cities can impose other fees, such as licenses and annual fees, on consumers and retailers.
- Legalization Would Help The Government Save Costs.
In addition to bringing in funds, legalization of marijuana gives the country an opportunity to save billions of dollars per year. According to Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, a whopping $8.7 billion a year is being spent for enforcing laws against marijuana in the U.S. And what are we getting for the billions of dollars spent in stopping cannabis use? Nada. Nothing.
Despite being illegal, thousands or more individuals are still arrested every day for possessing and using marijuana. And that results not only to wasted resources, but also to wasted time and lives. Our law enforcement officials devote their thousands of hours to arresting, booking, and imprisoning cannabis users. And since there are millions of marijuana users in the U.S., our jails and prisons are filled easily, which results to the need of more money to building new and larger jails. This is not to mention the amount that we spend in prosecuting, feeding, and defending these offenders. And the sad thing is that being arrested doesn’t stop the users from smoking pot.
Continuing the arrest of these people is irrational. The $8.7 billion estimate is a serious amount, which can be used to fund more important public programs and help our courts resolve much more serious cases.
- It Has Many Uses And Filled With Nutritional Value.
Contrary to popular belief, the cannabis plant is more than just a psychoactive drug that people use to escape into another world. Cannabis plant is a natural herb that has many uses. Though you may not have heard much about it, this plant is loaded with powerful disease-fighting properties, including anti-inflammatory, anti-stress, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties.
William Courtney, a California-based physician, recommends the juicing and drinking of raw cannabis as a way to experience its therapeutic benefits without getting a psychoactive effect. At this point, you probably know about THC, the active ingredient found in dried cannabis plant. Prior to drying, the chemical compound that is present in the plant is known as THCA – the acidic precursor of THC. In its fresh form, THCA holds much of the healing properties of the cannabis plant, and is non-psychoactive.
One of the many patients who can prove the benefit of ingesting raw cannabis is Kristen Courtney, the wife of Dr. William Courtney. For many years, Kristen had struggled with systemic lupus, but after several weeks of drinking the juice of raw marijuana leaves and buds, her condition improved significantly. Since then, the couple has devotedly promoted the use of cannabis.
Cannabis seeds are also found to be rich in protein and essential fatty acids, including linoleic and omega-3, which play a major role in promoting health.
Aside from its medicinal uses, another benefit of the cannabis that many are unaware of is its industrial use. Cannabis plant is loaded with fiber content that is useful in the production of clothing, bags, jewelry, linen, towels, ropes, guitar straps, paper, and so much more. The cannabis seed oil is also used in the production of paints, varnishes, and lubricants.
- Cannabis Is Easy To Grow And Environmentally Friendly.
Anyone who has tried growing a cannabis plant knows that growing and maintaining it is as easy as one two three. Although it can be quite confusing at the beginning, growing it can be easy when you already know what to do. In fact, you can grow your own marijuana plants right at the comfort of your own garden! And the best thing is they can be grown almost anywhere, at any climate. As long as their roots get nutrients, your Cannabis plants will grow. And unlike other crops, cannabis is frost-tolerant and mold-resistant. It can also be grown without fertilizer or chemicals, which is great for our environment.
In addition, cannabis itself has an ability to clean up toxins underground, which is known as phytomediation, making the soil a lot healthier and useful for farming. And as we already know, the fiber that comes from this plant can be used to produce paper products, including cardboard, envelopes, and computer paper, which helps us eliminate the need to chop down trees in the forest. Furthermore, the cannabis plant can also be substituted for cotton in the production of textile. Cannabis produces stronger and twice more fiber than cotton, which can be used to make all types of clothing. Cotton, as well know, requires an enormous amount of pesticides to grow. If we use cannabis as a substitute for cotton, we will significantly reduce the usage of harmful chemicals.
And did you know that cannabis plant can also be used as an alternative fuel source? Cannabis or hemp plant produces more biomass than any other crops grown in the country. Biomass is a material that can be converted to usable forms of energy, such as biodiesel and ethanol, which emit 80 percent less carbon dioxide and little to no amount of sulfur dioxide. Legalizing and using hemp in the right way will provide immense improvement in our planet.
- Prohibition Is Racist.
Another strong reason why it’s time to legalize marijuana is to finally stop biased arrest, which ruins the lives of many teenagers, particularly the people of color. According to the latest data from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), black people use and sell drug in roughly the same rates as whites. However, it has been found that blacks are more likely to be arrested than whites. A 2013 report from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed that black people were almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana possession. In some areas, particularly in worst counties, the rate doubles or even triples.
SWAT and police officers usually only target the black neighborhoods. In fact, even if they don’t see people smoking marijuana while patrolling, they will still stop in black neighborhoods to search and make an arrest. Police officers patrolling in white neighborhoods do not search the vehicles and pockets of white individuals, allowing the whites enjoy the possession and use of illegal drugs. Even worse, black men who use and sell drugs get longer sentences than whites. According to a 2012 report from US Sentencing Commission, black drug offenders received 13.1 percent longer drug sentences than white men between 2007 and 2009, which is terribly unfair to them.
If the ban for the use and possession of marijuana will be lifted in all countries, the rate of biased arrest will reduce substantially. In addition, people who have been arrested will get a chance to start a new life – find stable jobs or continue their education.
- Legalization Would Produce More Jobs.
Marijuana is now considered one of the most lucrative industries in the country. Currently, 23 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for recreational and medical use; and ever since the sales and use have been allowed, the marijuana industry has seen tremendous growth in the market, which doesn’t only generate huge amount of profits, but create thousands of jobs as well.
Colorado, which was one of the first states to legalize marijuana, has already earned millions of dollars tax revenue from pot sales. In January 2014 alone, the state generated nearly $3.5 million tax revenue, and that amount is expected to multiply in 2015. A report from the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) indicates that an estimate of 10,000 new jobs have been created in Colorado since recreational marijuana sales began. Although that figure only makes up 0.4 percent of the state’s 2.6 million jobs, it is considered substantial as these are thousands of people who could otherwise find themselves unemployed. And remember that the number is only in Colorado. If the entire U.S. will legalize marijuana, it will certainly create if not millions, at least hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs.
- Legalization Would Make The Country A Lot Safer.
For several decades, the government has tried to use various punishments to eliminate the use of marijuana, yet, more and more people are found to using this drug every day – particularly in places where it is illegal. The truth is illegality only makes matters worse. It only makes people, especially the young ones, excited to try and abuse it, which results to increased violent crimes. If legalized and properly regulated, people will no longer get interested in using this drug because the excitement would already be gone. And this can also lead to decrease in incidence of criminal activities, including, robbery, rape, driving under drug influence, and murders. In a recent study published in PLOS One, researchers focused on crime rates resulting with the use of cannabis. And based on their findings, legalized medical marijuana may reduce violent crimes, including assault and homicides.
Of course, once legalized, states and cities can pass laws regarding the responsible use of cannabis. In Colorado, the possession and use of marijuana is illegal under the age of 21.
Marijuana’s illegality also makes drug dealers stronger and determined because it brings legal risks that allow them to make easy and huge profits, making smuggling much harder to combat. If marijuana would be legalized, smugglers could no longer demand higher cost, which could make them to go out of business eventually.
- People Will Take This Drug, No Matter What.
Finally, the greatest reason why marijuana should be legalized is because people, who want to smoke weed, will smoke weed – legal or not. So instead of wasting time, money, and effort in trying to eliminate this long-standing issue, why not legalize it and just create stricter laws regarding the use of it to avoid abuse and wrong usage?
After all, it’s a free country and we all have the rights to do whatever we want, especially in our own bodies. If lawmakers, politicians, and concerned individuals will only open their minds, legalization of marijuana, as mentioned, can provide us enormous benefits, including treating of various ailments, reducing crimes, increasing country revenue, and saving our Mother Earth.