Many people have criticized the decision of most states for petty reasons. This is because marijuana has a lot of benefits, individually and the entire globe at large. After its legalization in Colorado, the state has seen its importance beginning in the employment sector as so many new jobs are created. Many states followed suit and have experienced tremendous benefits. For the longest time, marijuana has been compared to alcohol, and lies have been spread that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol. This has been disputed with facts. The sale and use of marijuana should be legalized, as its critics only provide terrible reasons to oppose it.
Legalizing and taxing Cannabis can increase a country’s revenue, as depicted by the booming of its use. In the states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, more than $3 Billion in revenue was collected in the year 2021 (Eliot). In the previous year, the revenue collected from the ten states that had legalized it was $2.7 Billion. This shows that consumption has increased, and thus the revenue will increase significantly. As more states look forward to legalizing its recreational use, the revenue collected will be significant to the country.
Some of these taxes can go to other sectors, such as education. Colorado voters in the year 2012 approved the use for adults 21 years old and above (Marijuana Tax Revenue and Education). A portion of the revenue collected was proposed to go through education. Even though it is not much compared to the total budget for education, the money is put to good use by constructing and improving the education sector. According to the Colorado Department of Education statistics, the tax revenue allocated to the department is effectively used to improve the facilities in the schools. There have also been projections of the global sales of Cannabis to reach $57 Billion in 2026. This is according to a cannabis market research firm based in Colorado. Despite the challenges that face the market, such as inflation, there are still projections of sales of up to $42 Billion in 2016 in the United States alone. Many states want to legalize it, and according to BDSA, the new markets will be the key sales driver until the projected year, 2026. Based on this information, it is only to legalize its use globally.
Comparing marijuana and other drugs, it is much safer, as asserted by scientists based on an article by NBC: “No High Risk: Marijuana May be Less Harmful Than Alcohol, Tobacco.” In the past, the harmfulness of marijuana was overestimated and exaggerated. According to new research, it has been established that other drugs like tobacco and alcohol are more harmful than Cannabis. Moreso, experts say that there has never been any documented death by overdose of marijuana in someone that had no underlying condition. People use marijuana and alcohol the same way, that is, for recreational purposes.
Others also use Cannabis for its medicinal benefits, such as relieving pain and getting some rest or sleep. Comparing the health-related costs, alcohol consumers use eight times more the cost of marijuana consumers. This is because of the health problems caused by alcohol use. There has never been a case of brain cells being killed by marijuana. However, many studies have shown that the consumption of alcohol damages brain cells. Marijuana has been found to have neuroprotective properties that will protect the brain cells. In terms of behavior by the consumers, alcohol ones are more violent than those that use marijuana (Leland). This violent behavior will cause domestic violence and sexual assaults. Alcohol has been highlighted as the major chemical commonly used in crimes and sexual assaults. Researchers compared it to tobacco use, as most marijuana users induce it by smoking. Again here, the most harmful substance is tobacco. This is the case because of the heavy use of tobacco. Among the participants in the study, some will use 10 to 20 cigarettes a day or more (Leland). Marijuana users will use it twice or thrice a month, thus causing less lung damage. Cigarettes are a major cause of lung cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, and respiratory symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S., it accounts for 443,00 deaths.
In terms of employment, the industry would create more job opportunities. There have been more employment opportunities in states that have legalized and created recreational cannabis dispensaries. In the counties that had them in Colorado, there was a decrease in the unemployment rate. This was driven by a 4.5% increase in employment rather than a reduction in labor force participation (Herrington). The study has shown that there are more benefits in the counties with dispensaries than in the counties without open dispensaries. The report by Leafly states that if marijuana can be legalized countrywide, the number of jobs that would be supported countrywide would be 1.77 million. Currently, the industry supports equivalent full-time jobs of 428,059 in number. The rate at which the number of jobs increased is one to marvel at because, in the year 2021, there was a 33% increase. Since the adult-use of cannabis stores opened, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created. In the President’s pardon of all federal offenses, simple marijuana possession, it is clear how the states that make the use of marijuana illegal cause unemployment (Kevin). This is because of the many employment companies that have regulations for not hiring people with records. Biden also stated that their barriers to other opportunities like education and housing. The President has said clearly that many states should follow suit and legalize the use to rewrite the wrongs made by convicting black and brown people discriminately.
Looking and the criminal justice system, it would make the environment much safer if it were legalized. Most people in the United States have accepted that the substance should be legal. Therefore, if the criminal justice system is to enforce laws that the public disagrees with, it will harm its credibility. This will hinder its mandate to control and reduce crime in the country. Cost-wise, arresting small possession of marijuana is expensive, both monetary and human-wise. It is very costly to arrest and convicts a person. Study shows that it costs around $30,000-$35,000 per year to accommodate an inmate. This is a lot of money because only recreational marijuana users are arrested while the notorious drug dealers roam free. To these law-abiding recreational users of the substance, it hurts them in many ways as the students will lose federal support in education. At the same time, those working will end up being unemployed. The war on drugs is a war on marijuana, as others would say, but statistically, the arrests made for serious crimes have reduced while marijuana possession arrests have increased. This should not be the case; as I stated earlier, it is evident that marijuana use is not the major cause of crime and violence.
Amid all these, there is a loss of trust in the criminal justice system. The arrests made by the police are very discriminated against. It was found that black and Hispanic people are arrested and frisked more in New York (Cody). This portrays a bad picture of the law enforcers and the justice system. The negative picture of the police will make it harder for them to solve other crimes. They do not typically solve the crimes by themselves as they rely on the public to provide additional information about the crime they are investigating. When people don’t provide such information, it becomes very difficult for them to solve crimes and do their jobs effectively. Legalizing this substance will let them focus on more serious crimes and reduce the negatives of unjust arrests and prosecutions.
Critics have stated that it would be hard to control the use of Cannabis. This is, however, disputable as there are many regulations that are there and others that will help improve the quality and strength of marijuana that is available commercially. There are statutes, regulations, and ordinances in different states. One example of good regulations is in California (“California’s cannabis laws). Some states clearly state that people under 21 years are prohibited from getting Cannabis. The amount of cannabis one can carry at one particular time is also followed. For those using the substance for medicinal purposes, there are requirements. In the regulations, rules are stated and adhered to run a business. This is then followed by the enforcement actions that are taken when you do not follow in the running of the business. Following these rules ensure that the product is not misused and is of quality.
In conclusion, it is fair to say that marijuana should be legalized. Many people that object to its legalization do not have enough proof that it has many negatives. Starting from the medicinal value it has, for the brain, to recreation use, it will help people in many ways. The criminal system would have an easier time dealing with other serious crimes if the substance were legalized. They would get cooperation from the general public.
Elliot Ramos. Recreational marijuana sales showered states with cash in 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/recreational-marijuana-sales-showered-states-cash-2021-n1287861.
“Marijuana Tax Revenue and Education.” https://www.cde.state.co.us/communications/2021marijuanarevenue
Iris Dorbian. Global Cannabis Sales to Skyrocket To $57 Billion In 2026, Says Top Market Research Firm, https://www.forbes.com/sites/irisdorbian/2022/09/13/global-cannabis-sales-to-skyrocket-to-57-billion-in-2026-says-new-report/?sh=fe2d3057b073
“No High Risk: Marijuana May be Less Harmful Than Alcohol, Tobacco” https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/legal-pot/marijuana-safer-alcohol-tobacco-study-shows-n312876
“Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol: It’s Time To Treat It That Way.” https://www.mpp.org/special/marijuana-is-safer/
Leland Kim. https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2012/01/98519/marijuana-shown-be-less-damaging-lungs-tobacco
“Recreational Cannabis legalization increases employment in counties with dispensaries.” https://news.unm.edu/news/recreational-cannabis-legalization-increases-employment-in-counties-with-dispensaries
A.J. Herrington. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajherrington/2022/02/23/new-cannabis-jobs-report-reveals-marijuana-industrys-explosive-employment-growth/?sh=5d983cb923f2Source
Kevin Liptak. https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/06/politics/marijuana-decriminalization-white-house-joe-biden
Cody Jorgensen. https://www.boisestate.edu/bluereview/how-marijuana-legalization-would-benefit-the-criminal-justice-system/#:~:text=Recent%20research%20has%20shown%20that,avenue%20of%20raising%2
Jahan Marcu. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7605018/
“California’s cannabis laws.” https://cannabis.ca.gov/cannabis-laws/laws-and-regulations/#:~:text=California%20became%20the%20first%20state,Businesses%20operate