An Argument in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana

During the last local election, Colorado voters passed a measure on a new marijuana tax. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana a year ago and medical marijuana even before that. The streets are not filled with stoned teenagers skipping class, there has been no increase in the use of other drugs, as some argue that marijuana is a gateway drug, and we’re all still breathing just fine. But there are extreme repercussions that are coming with our state acceptance of marijuana. And they’re big.

The latest tax measure that passed in November would generate $33.5 million in the first year and $67 million its second year, according to the Colorado Legislative Council Staff. I could think of a couple places that could use the money. Perhaps our terrible education system? But we didn’t just vote for the legalization for the money, or for the growth of local business, or even out of compassion for those that relied on the plant. Colorado voted to legalize and tax marijuana based on countless scientific investigations and reports that confirmed that the public policy surrounding marijuana was scientifically and logically flawed.

The common sense move was to legalize. It’s time for the rest of the nation to make that move. Perhaps because the new debate is about 30-yearsold, the science behind marijuana is still difficult to classify and judge. With the discovery of the biologically produced human cannabinoid system in the 1980s, people were first able to see how cannabis could actually work with the body and not against it, as many before had believed.

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Although this science is clear that the harm is no more (and generally less) than any other drug that works with the body (think Advil, Aspirin) policy makers are still stuck in the Reefer Madness days. When marijuana is deliberated whether in smaller or larger political circles, the debate rarely moves to the grounded, fact-based scientific argument. Rather, the participants focus on the potential sociocultural impact of legalizing the plant, generally using “the children” to attempt to support their flawed perspective. This is why science is especially important in the public policy deliberations that will create laws that ultimately impact everyone. Wouldn’t we want these laws to be rooted in scientific fact and not outdated opinion? According to a report by the American Journal on Public Health, the impact of marijuana on adolescents is so extremely miniscule that it’s not even valid scientifically (after studying students who did and did not use marijuana only 2 of 40 had some type of negative side effect and both were specific to the students, not marijuana) so the “Save the children” argument should finally be put on the shelf. Interestingly, the policy makers that actively search for negative scientific studies on cannabis, also ignore the plethora of scientific studies showing the positive effects of marijuana on everything from seizures to stomach pains. For both mental and physical conditions that many in our nation suffer from there is relief to be found in marijuana. After all, is it not the goal of these policy makers to look out for the well being of the people? Is marijuana the be-all end-all? Definitely not and the success that is being experienced by small businesses in Colorado will not last forever. But it will last long enough and provide not only the resources for those who use marijuana for relief, but also pump money into our public school system and parks, both things that Coloradans value. What do other states in the union value? What about the coal miners in West Virginia, could a booming marijuana business provide a safer alternative to coal mining? It’s time for law makers to use the scientific studies behind marijuana in their policy making decisions. The nation is ready for thoroughly-studied, fact-based marijuana legislation now more than ever.

The greatest reason that the time for this change is now is not because of business, health, or money – it’s about what happens if we don’t. In Colorado a young adult can freely use marijuana without any complaint from the police. In New York, a young adult can do the same thing, not harming anyone, and be arrested and charged, forever in the prison system and that infraction on their record forever preventing them from getting the job that they want and the life they want to live. They get to wear a scarlet letter simply because they are in the wrong state. National law makers must recognize this now to prevent these innocent individuals from having their lives ruined and also help the suffering who use marijuana for their ailments. After all, isn’t the government supposed to take care of its people?

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An Argument in Favor of Legalizing Marijuana. (2022, Sep 27). Retrieved from

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