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Challenging The Status Quo: a Case for Legalizing Marijuana in America

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The first legalization of marijuana was in 2012 by the states of Colorado and Washington. Marijuana is part of the Schedule 1 drugs, which is defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. But for Colorado and Washington, allowing the legalization has brought a lot of positivity towards the drug, and potential to legalize it everywhere. As the legalization of marijuana proceeded in these states, it added billions of dollars to the economy, created hundreds of jobs, and even provided two medical FDA-approved medications. The legalization should be allowed for these reasons and providing the opportunity for more research.

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Marijuana is the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. As most people know, it can be hand-rolled into what is called joints; put in pipes, water pipes, brewed in tea, or put in food. What puts marijuana on the Schedule 1 list, is the psychoactive chemical responsible for the intoxicating effects that many people seek. This is called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. This can be found in resin produced by the leaves and buds primarily of the female cannabis plant. This plant has caused a controversial argument in the legalization of it. But legalizing this drug has lowered street crimes throughout Colorado and Washington and has provided billions of dollars to their economy.

As Alan Pyke stated in his article, “Marijuana’s $2.4 Billion Impact in Colorado Is a Lesson for 5 States Considering Legalization”, the “marijuana industry (adult-use and medical) in the United States could exceed $24 billion in revenue by 2025.” This money has helped the state for the better, by providing an increase in economic activity, and the lowering of costs for many, as the fluctuations of products are going down. This vast amount of money has helped create many jobs as well. Many industries benefit from expenses such as food, transportation, tourism, and even real estate; as more people are coming to these states to experience the legalization of this drug. Legalizing this drug could also bring the crime rates down.

From the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that leads Marijuana legalization campaigns, said, “Study after study has confirmed that marijuana policy reforms do not cause rates of youth’s use to increase.” This is helping out by depleting the interest to break the law. Legalization is taking money away from the black markets and the drug cartels. It is also stopping organized crime and street gangs, as people don’t have to hide what they are doing. Dispensaries are also helping decrease the crime around the neighborhoods. Many of the storefronts have increased security around the building and around the area. This breaks down the crime rates and the interest to do something dangerous, as it is already legalized. Legalizing this everywhere else will better protect our communities from harm from the dark alleyways of this hidden drug of choice.

Almost two in three Americans are now supporting the use and legalization of marijuana. In 2018 a Gallup poll by Justin McCarthy “found a record-high 66% support for legalizing marijuana, up from 12% in 1969, the first year the polling company asked about marijuana”. The more knowledgeable people are about the drug, the more they are willing to accept the legalization. As federal initiatives are taking place now in 2019, if the legalization of marijuana were to happen federally, the states would be allowed to make up their own policies. Then they can begin repairing the damage that has been caused by the prohibition. Another reason why legalization should occur is to do more research on the medical use of marijuana.

Medical marijuana is using the cannabinoids from the plant. There are two different cannabinoids in the plant, THC, and CBD. THC is the usual factor that people tend to use marijuana as this is what gives you the “high” feeling. But it does have some benefiting factors such as increasing your appetite, reducing nausea, decreasing pain, inflammation, and muscle control problems. For the second cannabinoid, CBD, this does not make people “high”, but it can help reduce pain, inflammation, control epileptic seizures, and possibly even treat mental illness and addictions. So far the FDA has approved a CBD-based liquid called Epidiolex. This medication can be used for the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy, Dravet syndrome, a severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy which is rare and catastrophic, and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which is a childhood epileptic encephalopathy, which can cause mental retardation, regression, and abnormal findings on an EEG.

To provide a simple solution such as medical marijuana, it can help lessen the symptoms and possibly cure these diseases’. From the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “many researchers, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are continuing to explore the possible uses of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids for medical treatment.” Thus obtaining such medication as Epidiolex, can help people in need. Another medical issue such as Parkinson’s disease can benefit from medical marijuana as it helps with dyskinesias, which causes the uncontrollable movement.

I have experienced this first hand as my Grandpa has the beginning stages of Parkinson’s Disease. As none of his medications really help with the uncontrollable shakes, he decided to try CBD oil. This allowed him to buy it without a prescription, and place a couple of drops under his tongue. After about 15 minutes his shakes started to lessen and as time went on and he had a couple more drops, they weren’t even noticeable. This has really helped him as he loves to carve wood and do other projects with his hands, and without it, he would be unable to do these. Something so little, but has so much power has improved his quality of life. As more research is continued on, the legalization can help people like him, and allow them to live their best lives.

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As legalization is allowed, many states and people can benefit from its good doings. Such as adding billions of dollars to the economy, creating hundreds of jobs, freeing up scarce police resources, and even providing two medical FDA-approved medications. Lowering crime rates can reduce the use of police and free up jail space as many arrests are due to the use of illegal drugs. As well as the production of marijuana can provide many people with jobs, and a better economy. The billions of dollars and tax revenues are climbing to this day and are predicted to reach $24 million in 2025. This could help with the fluctuations of products as prices rise because of no money. The legalization can also benefit people who are in need of cannabinoids to treat their diseases such as Parkinson’s and Dravet syndrome. Allowing this to be removed from the Schedule 1 list, and legalized across America will improve daily lives.

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