To many, it is known as marijuana, to some, it is “bud” or “devils” and others know it as “pot” or “lettuce”.
Whatever name you choose to refer to it by, Cannabis has sparked hot political debate all over the world but more so in America. Cannabis is used by approximately 13.7% of the American population for both its recreational as well as medical benefits (Zachary, 2015).
Like many other political debates, the arguments for and against the legalization of Cannabis are oft inspired by different individualistic interests. I am of the opinion that Cannabis should, in fact, be legalized.
The legalization of Cannabis is long overdue for several reasons. First, Cannabis is a lesser evil compared to alcohol and tobacco. Secondly, Cannabis has been proven to have a variety of health benefits on the user. Finally, the commercial sale of Cannabis may be good for the economy as the plant is used by a significant portion of the American population.
As long as Cannabis remains illegal, millions of people will continue to be deprived of life-changing treatment. Cannabis has been proven to be as effective as a medication for various health issues.
According to the Institute of Medicine’s report on Marijuana, “In conclusion, the available evidence from animal and human studies indicates that cannabinoids can have a substantial analgesic effect.”
Unlike alcohol, Cannabis is non-toxic to healthy cells and organs in the body. At least 35000 deaths in the United States are linked to the use of alcohol and related illnesses (Patel et al., 2017).
Furthermore, excessive consumption of alcohol is bad for the nervous system. Consuming alcohol in excessive amounts may cause unconsciousness, coma, and death in extreme cases.
In addition, statistics show that alcohol is responsible for approximately 4% of global deaths. This figure is even higher than the number of global deaths related to violence, Tuberculosis, and AIDS.
On the other hand, Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, which are not toxic to humans (Patel et al., 2017). Also, Cannabis does not cause a fatal overdose, which is associated with alcohol. Alcohol is also associated with aggression and injury, unlike Cannabis.
The same case is true for tobacco, which is associated with lung cancer and breathing difficulties.
The health benefits of using Cannabis can be realized even when Cannabis is smoked in extremely small quantities.
Despite the failure by the Senate to legalize Cannabis, Americans and scientists agree that there are numerous benefits to be reaped from the use of Marijuana. So far, Cannabis has been legalized in 29 states, but there is a need to legalize its use in all the states (Pyke, 2016).
Doctors in some states are already prescribing Medicinal Cannabis to registered patients who only sing praises for the plant. Even though patients react differently to Cannabis, it is a widely proven fact that most of these reactions are beneficial to the health of patients. Apart from evoking feelings of happiness and suppressing cramps, medicinal Cannabis is also known to kill anxiety and cancer cells.
The fear that medicinal Cannabis will be misused is uncalled for because ideally, patients who wish to use the medicine must be registered legally.
According to Patel et al., “the most widely recognized qualifying conditions for Cannabis therapy include cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, seizures and epilepsy and pain” (Patel et al, 2017). Furthermore, patients with chronic pain demonstrated a significant reduction in their pain symptoms after using Cannabis (Patel et al, 2017).
Since the benefits of Cannabis use have been observed in a significant percentage of patients, it is necessary to legalize Cannabis so that patients who choose it can access the medicine easily.
The economic benefits of legalizing Cannabis will be realized both by the sellers and the state (in terms of revenue). The state of Colorado, which is among the leading states in the use of recreational Cannabis reported that legal Cannabis contributed $2.4 billion to the economy of Colorado (Pyke, 2016). Furthermore, the product created at least 18,005 jobs for the people of Colorado (Pyke, 2016).
In the same breath, the state of Oregon reported sales worth $11 million at the end of the first week (Pyke, 2016). The revenue generated from the sale of legal Cannabis is substantial enough to help improve the lives of the people, including feeding and sheltering the homeless.
According to Flynn, the legal Cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the United States of America (Flynn, 2016). All these statistics point to the fact that legal Cannabis would boost the economy significantly.
Cannabis should be legalized for nationwide recreational and medicinal use. Legalized cannabis use holds many benefits for users and non-users alike.
Medically, legalizing the use of cannabis will help alleviate the pain of people suffering from chronic conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and arthritis. Economically, the nation stands to gain at least $10 billion annually in terms of revenue.
1. Crockett, Zachary. “What Percentage of Your Country Smokes Marijuana?” Priceonomics, 21Apr. 2015, priceonomics.com/what-percentage-of-your-country-smokes-marijuana/
2. Alan, Pyke. “Marijuana’s $2.4 billion impact in Colorado is a lesson for 5 states considering legalization.”Think Progress, 28 Oct. 2016,thinkprogress.org/5-states-weighing-marijuana-legalization-would-reap-enormous-economic-benefits-study-suggests-cb06831d154b/
3. Patel S, Williams, Wallace. “What We Do (and Don’t) Know About the Health Effects of Cannabis and Whether Marijuana Is Medicine.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 16 May 2017, American Society of Internal Medicine
4. Flynn B. “Legalized marijuana: an economic panacea? There have been definite development-related effects from legalization.” New Hampshire Newspaper Review. 18 Mar.2016. Business Publications.