Recreational marijuana for adults has been legalized in Washington DC and eight states for the past five years. This makes around 68 million people be currently living in areas where marijuana is taken as tobacco or alcohol (Williams, 2018). The drug is sold in stores, and from that, millions of tax money are being collected from marijuana sale making many people benefit from the marijuana business. Long viewed as either dangerous gateway drug or a hippie accessory, legal cannabis is flourishing. The debate over legalization of marijuana in the United States continues to become heated since there those who want it legalized and those against the move.
This makes cannabis to remain illegal in the United States due to some reasons one of them being the policymakers are worried about adolescent access. Marijuana is not legal in the United States, and it may be soon, and that development could be severely hindered in the United States where cannabis remains a schedule I drug. The public seems to be disagreeing with the federal government’s continued stance that marijuana is still a schedule I drug (White, 2009). Legalizing marijuana has economic benefits, but it also has negative implications if it becomes legal in the United States as this paper demonstrates the two perspectives.
Some facts suggest that marijuana should not be legalized. Cannabis is an addictive, gateway drug which substantially mental and physical functions and its use is connected to increased violence. Cannabis advocates have had some advantage in suggesting that cannabis is a soft drug like alcohol and different from hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine. Equating alcohol with cannabis is misleading and also uninformed since their equality is skin deep (VAN OURS, 2012). For example, a glass of wine with dinner improves health as research indicates but not the case with cannabis. Although it can have several alleviative impacts, it does not have known common healthful characteristics. Research shows that using marijuana for a long time moderately increases the risk of heart attack, and can lead to damaging of the respiratory system, stroke, birth defects, and brain, impairs short-term memory, and slows reaction time. Tobacco and alcohol are legal, but they are addictive, but cannabis will be more addictive. A survey revealed that above 30% of people who smoke cannabis in a year ended up being dependent on it displaying driven behavior and signs of withdrawing (VAN OURS, 2012).
Second-hand smoke is harmful to other people. Using cannabis regularly can make one start using harder drugs like cocaine. Another reason those who oppose the legalization raise is that those who are involved in buying and selling illegally of marijuana have a chance of being involved in other crimes and therefore claim that the community is safer with cannabis offenders imprisoned (White, 2009). Those who support legalization say that cannabis will slash drug-related crimes but legalizing marijuana will increase demand. When the demand improves growers, producers and retailers will refuse to produce due to federal law, and then this vacuum will be filled with illegal drug offenders and a black market (White, 2009).
Legalizing marijuana will have several benefits to the United States. Legalizing will raise a significant amount of revenue to the federal government. The New Frontier Data did a study on marijuana data analysis showed that legalizing marijuana at the national level will amount to $132 billion, with the aggregated federal revenue collected between 2018 and 2025 (Pacula, 2010). Legalization also will lead to the creation of many job opportunities. Investors will benefit from the long-term growth of the legalized pot sector (Williams, 2018). It will, therefore, assist in putting investors on track to retire comfortably. The country will be saved billions of dollars saved in the law enforcement (White, 2009). This will not only benefit the state by generating revenue but also help in saving some of the money that could otherwise be flowing out of the system. It is one of America’s top-selling agricultural produce. Legalizing will also save the billions of dollars spent in fighting the endless war on drugs (White, 2009).
Drug busts of adolescents for cannabis crimes frequently carry rough penalties than cause’s undue social harm with lifelong effects. Cannabis has medical benefits for patients suffering from host ailment and diseases such as glaucoma, AIDS and cancer (Mark Anderson, Hansen & Rees, 2015). There is a belief that violence and crime in the United States and Mexico-U.S border as well are generally increased due to illegal purchase selling of cannabis, and they argue that legalization will bring this to an end. Cannabis is no more dangerous than tobacco or alcohol which are legal and also regulated by the United States food and drug administration.
I think marijuana should be legalized since the benefits to the United States as wells the social benefits are more weighted than what those who oppose it argue. What is more, marijuana has medical benefits for patients who have cancer, AIDS and glaucoma. The legalization will reduce crimes and violence in the United States. Another reason that makes me feel marijuana should be legalized is the economic benefit it will bring to the federal government. There will be increased revenue from marijuana as well as increased employment opportunities.
Summary of the Perspectives
The argument that marijuana should not be legalized says that is connected to increased violence and therefore it should not be authorized. Those who are violent do it even when it is not legalized. Again, when it comes to those who want marijuana legalized, there is an argument that it should be authorized to reduce violence in the United States as well as in the US Mexico border. Equating alcohol to marijuana is not skin deep since the way alcohol and tobacco are addictive is not the same case for cannabis. However, the arguments both raise reasonable perspectives like the fact that Tobacco and alcohol are legal, but they are addictive, but cannabis will be more addictive. There is also an argument that second-hand smoke will be harmful to other people, while this claim is true, it should not be the reason that makes marijuana not to be legalized since it can be controlled just like tobacco which also affects other people through second-hand smoke. For legalization, they argue that it has health benefits like having positive impacts on patients with cancer, glaucoma, and AIDS. This cannot only be the reason since there are harmful effects of marijuana on people’s health and they might be more than the health benefits. In this case, marijuana can be legalized for use in medication only and not for recreation. Saying that it will be available to the youth, which is upon the drug regulatory body. The billions of dollars to be generated in revenue should be weighted to the amount of money spent in fighting the drug rather than arguing on each side of the debate.
- Mark Anderson, D., Hansen, B., & Rees, D. I. (2015). Medical Marijuana Laws and Teen Marijuana Use. American Law and Economics Review, 17(2), 495-528. doi:10.1093/aler/ahv002
- Pacula, R. (2010). Examining the Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Marijuana Consumption: Insights from the Economics Literature. doi:10.7249/wr770
- Stimson, C. (n.d.). Why We Shouldn’t Legalize Marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.heritage.org/crime-and-justice/commentary/why-we-shouldnt-legalize-marijuana
- VAN OURS, J. C. (2012). THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD TO CANNABIS LEGALIZATION. Addiction, 107(5), 872-873. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03625.x
- White, D. (2009, April 19). What Are the Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana in the U.S.? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/pros-and-cons-legalizing-marijuana-3325521
- Williams, S. (2018, June 9). 5 Economic Reasons to Legalize Marijuana — The Motley Fool. Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2018/06/09/5-economic-reasons-to-legalize-marijuana.aspx