You hear it every day. You flip on the TV, there it is. You turn on your car radio, there it is. You go to work and people are talking about it as they gossip by the water cooler. Marijuana. Well, legalized marijuana, if we want to get specific. It’s been a hot topic of discussion for many years but for some reason there seems to be a bit more noise about it lately. A few states have already legalized the psychoactive drug and even Canada is in talks of taking steps toward doing the same. We are still pretty far out from the presidential election but the topic of marijuana remains heated, debate after debate.
So really, what’s the deal? If you had to vote on it tomorrow, do you have all the information you need to make an informed decision? Whether you simply want to have more to contribute at the office water cooler or you want to know your stuff before voting day, here is a list of pros and cons on the legalization of marijuana.
Pros (ie. Why Marijuana Legalization is Good)
- The tax collected on the sale of legalized marijuana can be put toward bettering our communities and could potentially provide more education and resources on how to alleviate our nation’s drug epidemic.
- States like Washington and Colorado have already legalized both medical and recreational marijuana and have consequently seen a decrease in crime statewide. According to data released by the city of Denver violent crime went down by 2.2% in the first 11 months of 2014 and property crimes went down by 8.9% compared to the same time the previous year.
- Legalization of marijuana could mean a much needed boost for our sagging economy by creating more jobs and increasing tax revenue and economic output.
- Marijuana has proven medical benefits in the pain management in health problems like HIV, cancer, as well as eating disorder treatment.
- Street marijuana is often laced with very unsafe and toxic chemicals that increase the danger of using marijuana. If regulated, the manufacturing of marijuana by state or federal organizations will allow for safer consumption of the psychoactive drug.
Cons (ie. Why Marijuana Legalization is Bad)
- Many worry that marijuana is a gateway drug and could lead to more problems with addiction.
- Some argue that there is not enough clear, concise evidence to prove that marijuana is beneficial in the treatment of HIV or AIDS compared to other pain management medications.
- Despite popular belief, you CAN be addicted to marijuana and legalization could make it more widely available, especially to youth who can sneak into their parents’ medicine cabinet (much like they do for existing prescription drugs). It is especially bad for youth to use marijuana because they are still developing cognitively and marijuana can alter this important time of development.
- There are better ways to strengthen our economy like lowering mortgage/interest rates.
- Sounds good but according to similar legalization models in the past (alcohol specifically) it doesn’t work. Looking at the alcohol model, the US collects a lot of tax money from the sale of alcohol each year, however they spend more in the management of consequences of alcohol consumption.
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