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Reasons Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized

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“Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?” – Bill Hicks. “Marijuana is a product derived from the cannabis plant, one of the oldest crops known to humans” (The History of Marijuana, par.2). Marijuana or cannabis has been known to mankind for ages. The plant has “medicinal, spiritual, and recreational uses that dates back at least 5,000 years.” Archaeologists have “found evidence of marijuana paraphernalia as far back as the first millennium BC in India, China, Africa, and Assyria” (The History of Marijuana, par.1). Marijuana should be legalized because it is a great medical plant, it will help keep people out of jail for minor crimes, and there would be a boost in the economy.

When people think of marijuana or cannabis, they think negatively. They think that it is a drug that has no positive use whatsoever. But in reality, marijuana can be used to help treat medical conditions as severe as epilepsy. There are people who are suffering mentally, physically, and emotionally. This can all be stopped with the use of marijuana. The “medicinal use of marijuana dates back at least 5,000 years” (The History of Marijuana, par.6). “Recent studies have shown that medical marijuana is effective in controlling chronic non-cancer pain, alleviating nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, treating wasting syndrome associated with AIDS, and controlling muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis. These studies state that the alleviating benefits of marijuana outweigh the negative effects of the drug, and recommend that marijuana be administered to patients who have failed to respond to other therapies” (Vasquez, pg.2). The medical plant can also be used to help with mental illness, menstrual cramps, and childbirth. Twenty-six states have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes, but that is not enough (Pacula, par.2). All fifty states will have to realize cannabis does better medically for the body than any other prescribed drug/medicine.

“I find it quite ironic that the most dangerous thing about weed is getting caught with it.” – Bill Murray. There are people who have their life thrown away all because they get arrested for possession of marijuana. The legalization of marijuana can not only help medically but help keep people out of jail for minor crimes. According to studies, there are about 1,429,299 people who are arrested yearly for the possession of marijuana. With officers making minor arrests like this, people are slowly losing trust and faith in the criminal justice system. Also, having a lot of people in jail is not exactly cheap. With a large amount of incarcerations, a large amount of money comes out of taxes. “The more people in jail, the less people contributing to the economy and the more taxes spent on prison up keep” (Nancy, par.12). “Costs range between $30,000-$35,000 per year to house an inmate…While calculating the cost of an arrest is difficult and estimates vary widely based on how the cost is calculated, low estimates put the average cost of an arrest around $1,000 (The National Juvenile Justice Network; Drug Policy Alliance) and up to around $5,000 on the higher end. This suggests that between $600,000,000 and $3,000,000,000 is spent simply arresting recreational marijuana users. Those tax dollars could be better spent elsewhere, such as on officers’ salaries or updating equipment” (The Blue Review, par.12-13). Marijuana becoming legal will not only save the lives of people from being ruined, but taxpayers’ time and money. 

Some may argue that legalizing marijuana would be bad for the economy. They say, “Legalized marijuana creates steep costs for society and taxpayers that far outweigh its tax revenues” (ProCon.org, Con 1). I disagree with this because legalizing marijuana will in fact boost the economy. Increased tax revenues, job growth, and investment opportunities would make the economy grow, resulting in money coming into the federal and state government. “The marijuana industry (adult-use and medical) in the United States could exceed $24 billion in revenue by 2025. For every $1.00 spent in the marijuana industry, between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity is generated…The legal marijuana industry generated $7.2 billion in economic activity in 2016, and added millions of dollars in federal taxes paid by cannabis businesses” (ProCon.org, Pro 1).

Marijuana is a medical drug that, if legalized, would help benefit the medical conditions of many, keep people out of jail for minor crimes and create a boost in the economy. The plant should not be illegal, period. I am strongly against marijuana being illegal when there are positive uses for the plant. Think about it, why is marijuana not legal when there are multiple benefits for the drug?

Works Cited

  1. The Blue Review. ‘How Marijuana Legalization Would Benefit the Criminal Justice System.’ The Blue Review, 6 Mar. 2020, www.boisestate.edu/bluereview/how-marijuana-legalization-would-benefit-the-criminal-justice-system/.
  2. Caulkins, Jonathan P., et al. ‘Consequences of Marijuana Use.’ Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions, RAND, 2015, pp. 27-48. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt15zc545.11. Accessed 29 Apr. 2020.
  3. —. ‘Consequences of Marijuana Use.’ Considering Marijuana Legalization: Insights for Vermont and Other Jurisdictions, RAND, 2015, pp. 27-48. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt15zc545.11. Accessed 29 Apr. 2020.
  4. ‘Federal and State Marijuana Enforcement: Department of Justice and State Legalization of Cannabis.’ Congressional Digest, vol. 98, no. 10, Dec. 2019, p. 7. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aqh&AN=139703059&site=ehost-live.
  5. GUPTA, DR.SANJAY, and Siobhan O’Connor. ‘I’ve Read That You Now Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana. What Should We Know about Its Pros and Cons?’ Prevention, vol. 65, no. 10, Oct. 2013, p. 60. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aqh&AN=90418946&site=ehost-live.
  6. Hansen, Benjamin, et al. ‘Early Evidence on Recreational Marijuana Legalization and Traffic Fatalities.’ Economic Inquiry, vol. 58, no. 2, Apr. 2020, pp. 547–568. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/ecin.12751.
  7. History.com Editors. ‘Marijuana.’ History.com, A&E Television Networks, 31 May 2017, www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-marijuana.
  8. ‘The History of Marijuana: Learn About The Origin of Marijuana.’ Recovery.org, 1 Nov. 2019, www.recovery.org/marijuana/history/.
  9. Leyton, Marco. ‘Legalizing Marijuana.’ Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience : JPN, 8872147 Canada Inc., Mar. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764483/.
  10. Mello, Jeffrey A. ‘Employment and Public Policy Issues Surrounding Medical Marijuana in the Workplace.’ Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 117, no. 3, 2013, pp. 659-66. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42001876. Accessed 29 Apr. 2020.
  11. —. ‘Employment and Public Policy Issues Surrounding Medical Marijuana in the Workplace.’ Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 117, no. 3, 2013, pp. 659-66. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/42001876. Accessed 29 Apr. 2020.
  12. Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, and Rosanna Smart. ‘Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Legalization.’ Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8 May 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6358421/.
  13. Phelan, Carolyn. ‘Should Marijuana Be Legalized?’ Booklist, vol. 107, no. 4, Oct. 2010, p. 46. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=55061669&site=ehost-live.
  14. ‘Pros & Cons – ProCon.org.’ Recreational Marijuana, marijuana.procon.org/.
  15. Vasquez, Margie. Marijuana : Medical Uses, Regulations and Legal Issues. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 2016. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1226236&site=eds-live&scope=site.
  16. Zeese, Kevin, and William Ruzzamenti. ‘Should Marijuana Be Legalized for Medical Uses?’ Health (Time Inc. Health), vol. 7, no. 7, Nov. 1993, p. 23. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9402101246&site=ehost-live.

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