In November of 2012 Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize and regulate recreational Marijuana use. It appeared it would only be a matter of time before other states followed suit, and since 2012 several have. Laws reguarding Canibus use still vary vastly from state to state much like firearm regulations. Numerous states have legalized medical marijuana and many have no laws legalizing marijuana at all. No matter where you find yourself in the United States, Marijuana use under superseding federal law it is still illegal. The legalization of marijuana is associated with some attractive benefits, however, there are many drawbacks as well which explains why its usage is still widely illegal.
The Pros of Legalizing Cannabis:
- Regulation and Safer Consumption
The Alcohol and Tabacco Tax and Trade Burea regulates the production of alcohol to ensure standards are met for safe consumption. In a similar manner, cannabis could be regulated in this way to guarantee safe consumption. Those who purchase marijuana illegally have no way of knowing where their product derived from or if their purchase is truly safe for consumption.
- Additional Tax Revenue
With regulated sales and distribution comes additional tax revenue. Laws could be enacted to ensure revenue collected from cannabis sales are used strictly for education funding or some other meritable cause.
- Alleviate Resources Spent on the War on Drugs
Much like ending Prohibition eliminated the crimes which stemmed from it, Legalizing marijuana could have a similar result. If there is no demand for the illegal supply of marijuana there would be no need for illegal suppliers. Marijuana-related drug violence would also be reduced as a result. The reduction of marijuana-related crimes would alleviate law enforcement and justice system’s time and resources, and allow them to be allocated towards more important issues.
- Health Risks
While Marijuana is not considered addictive to the extent of harder more dangerous drugs, it is still habit forming. Cannabis is still thought to be a gateway to other more dangerous drugs or prescription painkillers. Smoking cannabis can be detrimental to lung health and much like tobacco, second-hand smoke can be problematic especially if children are involved. Like other illegal drugs, marijuana use can induce mental health issues with those who have a predisposition to them such as depression and schizophrenia.
- Marijuana Affects your Perception
Much like alcohol affects your perception cannabis consumption poses a similar predicament. Alcohol can impair your ability to drive to the slightest degree, and the threat of being arrested, causing an accident, or killing someone under the influence of marijuana is just as real.
- Legalization Leads to Moralization and Increased Use
When something is legalized it becomes moralized by society and considered more acceptable. Many people avoid marijuana consumption simply because it is illegal and the legal ramifications involved outweigh their curiosity. Widespread legalization would lead to increased consumption and addiction. Cannabis can have some beneficial medicinal purposes for those in need, but may not be wise to allow consumption for anyone who is simply curious.