Legalization of Marijuana

(Photo Courtesy of National Institute on Drug Abuse) Marijuana plants growing in a lab.
(Photo Courtesy of National Institute on Drug Abuse) Marijuana plants growing in a lab.

By: Max S. Escajadillo

With the recent issues of gun control and gay marriage in the United States, legalization of marijuana has taken a rise in interest in people due to states like Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana and standing against the federal government.

Marijuana was criminalized in 1970s by the Controlled Substance Act which made marijuana illegal to grow and be in personal possession. Thus, the laws only made it ILLEGAL, but the use of marijuana did not decrease.  Instead it caused the creation of a black market for marijuana, allowing cartels and criminals to gain a profit out of the plant.

The United States has spent $33 billion since its criminalization to keep marijuana illegal. However, the amount of users continued to remain high. The laws also increased the rate of overcrowding in jails since 10 million people have been arrested for possession of marijuana and it cost the state and federal government $450 billion  to maintain them in jail.

Marijuana legalization would bring many positives to the states and federal government by increasing revenue by $6.2 billion through taxes, and the economy would boost by $36 billion in agricultural products.

Marijuana may seem beneficial in a financial sense but the assumptions that the drug is addictive may prove otherwise.  “Marijuana is addictive” is one of the top reasons used against the legalization of the plant, but it has been proven that marijuana is less addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, which are perfectly legal in the United States. “Marijuana has no medical uses” is a myth enforced by ignorant people since it has been proven that it is a pain reliver to people suffering from cancer and glaucoma.

One last argument is that when the drug was criminalized it was associated with heroin. This created a belief that marijuana is chemically made when it is a natural plant that has THC, unlike heroin that is made in labs and contain various chemicals added to it to settle the effect of the drug.

Many researchers have shown that more than 37,000 people die from alcohol overdose and poisoning but marijuana does not have a recorded death on its list. Yet alcohol is perfectly legal. People of the United States will decide our position on marijuana, and the states have shown that they are independent even if the federal government does not agree.

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