Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, or pot, has been a highly debatable topic for many years now. But this drug is more in the spotlight today than ever before as everyone from the common men to the policymakers contemplates whether it should be allowed or not. It is legal in some states while it continues to be illegal in others. Some countries have legalized medicinal marijuana, but activists are pushing for the legalization of it for recreational purposes as well.

Despite the legal stance on the issue, the number of people supporting marijuana legalization seems to be at an all-time high. According to a survey by CBS News, 65% of adults in the U.S. are of the view that marijuana should be legitimate. It includes groups who had opposed the idea in the past, such as Republicans and older Americans, aged 65 and above.

For those who are still not in full support of marijuana legalization, here are eight reasons to rethink:

Prohibition doesn’t stop people

Just as the experiment with alcohol prohibition did nothing to prevent people from consuming alcohol, people continue to use marijuana, whether it is legal or not. According to the UN’s World Drug Report, 159 million people all over the world use marijuana – i.e., almost 4% of the world’s population. So, the question is, if the penalties aren’t stopping people from using this drug, why not create laws to regulate its usage and prevent abuse instead? Making marijuana illegal has only forced its users to create a black market for the product.

Marijuana has great medicinal uses

The medicinal properties of this drug have proven over time to be a valuable treatment for several health problems. For example, it is known to relieve pain and nausea, which is very useful for cancer patients experiencing these problems after undergoing chemotherapy. Individuals with serious ailments who haven’t had success with conventional medicines claim that marijuana has helped them reduce anxiety and stress, alleviate chronic pain, and feel a lot more relaxed. Due to the widespread health benefits, weed legalization in Germany for medicinal purposes has taken place.

Marijuana is a lot safer than other legalized drugs

Many people are of the view that marijuana is a hazardous substance, which destroys your life once you start taking it. But this is far from the truth. Compared to tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is far less harmful, yet it continues to be illegal, while the former two are legal. Both smoking and drinking have zero health benefits and are the cause of thousands of deaths every year. There are no such statistics to provide the number for any deaths caused by marijuana.

Low risk of addiction and abuse

Although the risk of harm when using marijuana is present, it is a lot less compared to other drugs. According to a detailed study by CNN’s medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, marijuana has the lowest risk of addiction amongst people who use it – only 9-10% of marijuana users became dependent on it while the number is 20% for cocaine users and 25% for heroin users. Tobacco is the worst of them all, with 30% of users getting hooked to it and suffering from health problems as a result.

Legalization would save the government money

With so many marijuana users despite it being illegal, the government has to spend a lot of time, money, and resources enforcing laws to prevent its usage. Hundreds of people have been arrested due to the possession of marijuana every day and the country’s valuable resources spent on finding marijuana users, imprisoning them, and putting them through court trials. And what benefit does this bring to the economy or the general public? The answer is none. People still find ways to get around the laws and use the drug. Making marijuana legal could save this money and be available for better use.

Prohibition is mainly for people of color

In countries like the U.S., people of color have been the main target of marijuana prohibition. Police officers have been known to raid black and Hispanic neighborhoods and arrest people while whites are far less likely to be searched and arrested. There have also been instances where black people arrested for dealing in marijuana got longer sentences than white people, which shows that law enforcement on this matter has often been unfair.

Legalization would eliminate the need for a black market

Since marijuana is illegal, it survives through unlawful means and trades through black markets, which are made up of criminal gangs/organizations. Not only do these gangs sell drugs at high prices and reap significant profits, but they are also involved in smuggling of narcotics and sending thousands of dollars across borders in an underground market. If marijuana becomes legalized, this trade would no longer go unaccounted and could also be taxed, raising significant revenue for the government.

Legalization would reduce crimes

The fact that marijuana is illegal makes individuals, particularly teenagers, want to try it and abuse it. Many teenagers today are involved in the trade of cannabis, hiding it from their parents and selling to their peers at high prices – the fact that it is illegal only makes it more exciting for them, and it leads them to other more harmful drugs in the process such as cocaine.

Illegality has also given rise to drug dealers who are involved in various other criminal activities such as robberies, rapes, and murders. Legalization can help eliminate these problems.

To legalize or not to legalize, that is the question.

To sum up, the legalization of marijuana can have several benefits as long as there are laws to ensure the responsible usage of the drug. If lawmakers could consider these factors, the whole economy can benefit from marijuana legalization.