The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic of debate for many years in the US. Only two countries in the world, Canada and Uruguay, have officially legalized the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana. However, many countries have decriminalized its use.
In the US, 10 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana. At the same time, however, there is moderate to heavy resistance to the sale and use of the weed in many other states in the US.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the sale and use of legalizing marijuana.
On the surface, the legalization of marijuana appears to have many more ‘pros’ in its favor than ‘cons’ against. Perhaps this is why several states and many countries have opted to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana on a national scale.
States Legalizing Use of Recreational Marijuana in the US
Here’s a list of the states where the sale and use of marijuana is legal in all forms:
At the same time, there are many more states where the use of medical marijuana is already legal:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Current Status in Canada
Marijuana is legalized nationwide in Canada. This doesn’t mean the same rules and laws apply to all provinces equally. Each of the 13 provinces maintains a certain degree of autonomy allowing each to regulate the sale of marijuana differently.
Ontario, for instance, will allow privately run marijuana stores to operate starting April of 2019. British Columbia, another province, will only allow the sale of marijuana through a single store in the city of Kamloops. Quebec is only allowing government dispensaries.
In Canada, marijuana is legal, but people living in different provinces will find it easier or difficult to acquire the weed depending upon to their province’s rules.
Not all marijuana products in Canada have been legalized either. Edibles and concentrates are legal, but creams aren’t. So, while Canada has been in the headlines for legalizing marijuana, which is still a big step, the process isn’t universal and excludes certain products.
Pros and Cons of Universal Legalization of Marijuana in the US
Pros of Legalizing Marijuana
1. First, and most importantly, the universal legalization of marijuana will make it easier for many patients to obtain marijuana for medicinal purposes in the US. Patients who live in states where medical marijuana is not even legal will be allowed to try a treatment option that might ease their pain and suffering.
Marijuana has been shown to lower inflammation and help relieve pain. It can be of high value in helping those who suffer from chronic pain. It will certainly be a worthy and safer alternative to opioids.
In fact, legalized marijuana would quickly become a viable solution to the opioid addiction epidemic, which is a serious issue in the US.
Even if marijuana is only legalized for medicinal purposes, it will have a great impact on the quality of life of suffering patients as it will give both doctors and patients an additional treatment option.
2. Second, making marijuana legal will be beneficial for recreational users as well. Where marijuana is legal, all levels of government have a way of monitoring and ensuring its quality is safe and up to standards. Keeping marijuana illegal forces people to buy from the black-market.
There are many significant hazards that come with forcing users to buy from the black-market. Also, those who sell illegal marijuana on the black-market can raise their price on a whim.
So being forced to buy on the black will often become financially harmful for recreational users. More importantly, you never know how safe the marijuana is on the black-market. It could be laced with all sorts of harmful chemicals.
3. Legalizing marijuana will hurt, if not kill, the black-market. This will be good for the health of recreational users by making sure only pure marijuana is sold on the market, free of harmful additives.
4. Getting caught with illegal marijuana can ruin the future employment prospects of and individual. Imagine being denied a job because your background check shows that you were arrested for the illegal possession of marijuana, which is a relatively harmless substance. Recreational users of illicit marijuana could face lifelong consequences for these petty crimes if busted.
5. The legalization of marijuana holds value for the government too. By opening government dispensaries, the government opens more employment opportunities. In addition, the government will benefit from significant tax revenue generated from the legal sale of marijuana.
Alternatively, marijuana bought on the black-market has no tax revenue generating value to the community. The only ones who benefit financially from selling illegal marijuana are black-market traders. Why not sell it for a suitable price legally while at the same time creating job opportunities and taxes revenues?
Cons of Legalizing Marijuana
Not all arguments are in favor of legalizing marijuana. Otherwise, the topic wouldn’t be so controversial.
6. Some worry that the younger generation will have easier access to marijuana if it’s made legal. This can be prevented by setting an age limit like with alcohol. A law legalizing marijuana can state that those under the age of 18 or 21 for example can’t buy it.
7. Another obstacle to the legalization of marijuana is the possibility of the user developing an addiction. The CDC states that 1 out of every 10 people who use marijuana end up becoming addicted to it. The number rises to 1 in every 6 people if they start using marijuana at a younger age.
Addiction occurs as your brain and neurons get accustomed to a certain level of marijuana. Eventually that level is no longer enough and more marijuana is needed to create the same effect as before. It’s a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to addiction and its consequences.
The long term effects of marijuana on the brain and its functioning aren’t clear or definitive. Some studies showed an association between long term use of marijuana and memory loss and learning difficulties. While other studies showed no correlation between the two.
One problem is that results can be affected by the overall health of the subject being studied and other environmental factors.
8. Legalizing marijuana will make it difficult for companies to maintain a ‘no drugs’ policy. If the government makes the use of marijuana legal, how is an employer supposed to maintain a ‘drug free’ policy, especially for positions such as drivers or pilots?
9. Another health problem associated with marijuana is the inhaled smoke, which can be harmful to the smoker’s lungs as well as those around him or her via second hand smoke.
It’s a complicated topic and we tried to demonstrate the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana to the best of our abilities. On one end, there’s medical potential for marijuana. By legalizing its use, the government will generate jobs, allow proper and safe regulation, and benefit from tax revenue; while, at the same time shut down the black market.
On the other hand, there are health risks involved in the universal legalization of marijuana in the US. These include possible addiction, effects on memory and learning, and the health hazards of smoking. Employment and drug policy issues are other factors that need to be considered.
Thank you for reading our “Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana-9 Facts to Know!”
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