There is no denying that there are many debates globally about marijuana. By now, you should already have some knowledge about this common plant that people are always talking about. There is arguably no industry that is growing at a faster and more consistent pace than legal marijuana in the U.S. In the Marijuana Business Daily’s latest report, ‘Marijuana Business Factbook 2017,’ predicts legal sales growth in the U.S. of 30% this year, 45% in 2018, and 300% as a whole between 2016 and 2021 to about a $17 billion market. Right now, marijuana remains categorized as Schedule I at the federal level, meaning it has no recognized medical benefits and is illegal, just like LSD and heroin. But, the belief of having no recognized medical benefits is not true. In fact, I can tell you some reasons why marijuana should be legal.
First, medical data suggests that marijuana can help improve the patient’s quality of life. It would be difficult to deny that marijuana hasn’t demonstrated positive benefits in university run and Food and Drug Administration approved clinical studies. For example, a study published in the American Public Health Association just this past week found that since Colorado has legalized recreational cannabis, the percentage of opioid-related deaths has declined by 6.5%. That stopped a 14-year streak of an increasing number of opioid-related deaths in the state. The study suggests that cannabis may be an alternative to pain-fighting opioids, and a much safer one. Epidiolex, an oral cannabinoid based drug, significantly lead to reduction in seizure frequency for two rare types of childhood epilepsy, which are known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Legalizing cannabis could mean game changing medical discoveries for certain illness, and better access for patients.
Second, it’s a potentially new source of revenue and jobs. Legalizing marijuana could be a boom for the economy. According to a report from New Frontier Data, the cannabis industry will have created an estimated 300,000 jobs by the year 2020. Based on employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is more jobs than what would have been created by the manufacturing sector, utility sector, or even the government sector. Legalizing marijuana also opens up a new source of income for the states, and perhaps even the federal government. For example, in Colorado, nearly $200 million in tax revenue was collected in 2016 on over $1.3 billion in legal sales. When they have California’s recreational pot industry running, it might end up generating more than a billion annually in tax revenue.
Restricting marijuana does not make sense. If alcohol and cigarettes are legal, then why shouldn’t marijuana? According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), alcohol overdose alone caused about 25,000 deaths in 2013 and nearly 16,000 deaths from liver disease. Alcohol related crimes also caused 2.2 million arrests in 2012. Cigarettes are also just as bad. They are causing nearly 500,000 deaths in the United States per year with medical bills approaching 140 billion dollars per year.
The final reason why marijuna should be legalized is because the majority of the public favors legalization. Surveys all over the world have consistently shown that a majority of the public wants marijuana to be legal. Gallup’s October 2016 survey and CBS News’ April 2017 survey found 60% and 61%, respectively, support legal marijuana throughout the United States. A separate survey from Quinnipiac University in April 2019 showed that an overwhelming 94% supported the legalization of marijuana, and 6% who opposed the idea. Congress are supposed to represent the will of the people. Therefore, if lawmakers fail to make changes to the marijuana debate that favors the majority of the people, these elected officials could run the risk of being voted out of office. Although, yes, the topic of marijuana is not strong enough yet for voters to not vote for a candidate, but as the support for marijuana increases (now increasing at a very high rate), it also becomes increasingly more likely.
Although marijuana has benefits in life, I understand that there are also downsides to it. A growing myth among the public is that marijuana is not an addictive substance but data shows that most people who use marijuana become addicted. Users who need treatment for marijuana addiction average 10 years of daily use. A withdrawal syndrome could show symptoms of anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression, and changes in appetite.
Marijuana is not as bad as some people who are against it might say. In fact, everything in the world have pros and cons to it and the studies/research about marijuana, proved to have many pros. So the big question that is going around the world now is “Should Marijuana Be Legal?” What is your answer to that?