Policy Brief: Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuanas

Legalization of Marijuana: pros and cons of legalizing marijuanas essay. Cannabis is a fast-growing plant that is grown all throughout the world. The dried leaves of the Cannabis plant that looks like a resinous flower bud is what is known as marijuana. Cannabinoids are the chemical found in a cannabis plant. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids in cannabis but tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical responsible for most of the drug’s psychological effects. This is what makes marijuana give you that mind-altering affect. Marijuana is latest most controversial drug that is now spreading around the world and is proven to be the most beneficial drug out there.

Over 25 million Americans indulge in the use of marijuana every year. Marijuana has been used to treat all kinds of different conditions dating all the back in 1890. “Queen Victoria, known for the prudish Victorian era, may have been given cannabis as a method of relieving her menstrual cramps”. At the time, Queen Victoria’s physician wrote that cannabis is “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.” Marijuana should be illegal in states because it is not a danger to lives and the law would be regulated by the government. The legalization of marijuana will create more jobs and sources of income. In addition, court and corrections costs will decrease as well.

Many will assume because someone smokes marijuana that they are automatically getting 'high” and that is false. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is the chemical in a Cannabis sativa plant. CBD contains a small amount of THC; not enough to give you that “high” effect. CBD has shown to prevent the breakdown of a chemical in the brain that affects pain, mood swings, and mental function. THC is the chemical in marijuana that controls the influence of memory, thinking, pleasure, and concentration. Marijuana contains high levels of THC and that is what alters your physical and mental behavior. However, there are different strains of the plant and CBD is widely used for medical reasons including post-traumatic stress disorder, reduce in pain, social anxiety, epilepsy, cancer, etc.

Charlotte Figi was the youngest patient in Colorado to apply for a medical marijuana card. Before approving for the card, Charlotte was having 300 grand mal seizures a week and had lost daily functions like eating, walking, and talking. Her mom started her own small doses of marijuana, high in CBD but low in THC. The latest update on Charlotte is that she is not only walking but she can feed herself. Her seizures only occur two to three times per month. The Stanley Brother’s, one of the large-scale marijuana growers, have named the marijuana strain Charlotte’s Web dedicated to Charlotte. Marijuana has played a tremendous part in helping others physically when there are no other options, not even medicine. There are no deaths known to have been a direct result of using marijuana. However, there have been cases of people dying from alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2018, 55.3% reported that they drank in the past month. Alcohol is more of a risk to people’s health compared to cannabis and it has been legal since 1917. There are studies that support marijuana use when helping with someone’s addiction with alcohol or opioid dependencies. A study showed that alcohol sales decreased by 15 percent in the states where medical marijuana was legalized and by 20 percent from those sold legally.

In 2018, there were 663,367 marijuana arrest compared to 2017 when there was 659,700. The criminalization of marijuana uses disproportionately target those of color and adolescents. “What this research does show is that the legalization of marijuana can and will decrease the amount of non-violent drug arrests in a state.” According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), 36.7% of people arrested in 2017 in the United States were in possession of marijuana. The percentage for marijuana is the highest listed on the chart of drug abuse violations in that year. The state would save money from not having to make so many non-violent arrests every year. This will also release the majority of those incarcerated for being in possession of small amounts of marijuana without intention to sell. Overcrowded prisons in the state would rapidly decrease as a result. Legalizing marijuana will cause the rate of people who smoke to rise. This will result in more dispensaries being built and more jobs to become available such as harvesters, clerks, and distributors to rise. In ‘The Economic Benefits of Legalizing Weed”, it says “... Study on Nevada says that legalizing recreational marijuana in the state could support over 41,000 jobs till 2024 and generate over 1.7$ billion in labor income.” If marijuana was legalized, the unemployment rate would decrease in the United States and the state will earn income if they were to tax it.

New York City has a marijuana legalization bill that legalizes the production, distribution, and use of marijuana in the city of New York. The Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) addresses prior drug offenses and gives people a chance for a resentence of their conviction. It also refrains criminal penalties for any charges related to marijuana except for two. It is a crime to make a sale over a pound without a license and to sell to someone under the age of 21. MRTA allows the use of marijuana by adults who are 21 years of age and over, so it also protects adolescents by reducing their access to marijuana. Legalizing marijuana shifts the control from criminals and drug traffickers drug dealers into the government hands where it can regulate appropriately. For example, if a local store near you was given a license to sell marijuana, it would be highly unlikely for someone under the age of 21 to get sold because the business would be at risk of getting their license taken away followed by a fine.

The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act was recently proposed in 2019 to legalize cannabis and get rid of any prior related convictions. This act would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. After passing the House Judiciary, the bill now goes to the full House. This would allow states to create their own policies without interference from the government. “... a report from cannabis analytics company New Frontier suggests that federally legal pot could generate an addition 131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue by 2025”. According to Skopos Labs, this bill has a four percent chance of being enacted; which is very unlikely.

Giving people more access to jobs, acting as a treatment for pain, and creating a big amount of revenue for the state all go hand in hand as to why marijuana should be legal. Studies and real-life examples have shown that cannabis is not as bad as the public sets it out to be. It is not a threat to anyone’s safety unless people were to make careless decisions such as driving while under the influence. Legalizing marijuana will do no harm and will benefit a great deal of people worldwide.


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05 January 2023
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