The likely odds are that from a young age, parents and teachers gave horror stories about the nature and effects of marijuana. The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) is a Florida based medical organization that has, for years, been fighting the biased mindset surrounding the drug. The average American voter is not concerned with the scientific rationale behind the calls for legalization. To them, marijuana is a hard drug that poses significant public and health risks, especially for the youth. Marijuana is documented to have harmful effects on the memory and emotions if smoked in excess with no underlying medical basis. However, the drug is also documented to have beneficial pharmaceutical effects for persons suffering from low-functioning autism, glaucoma, and epilepsy, amongst many other medical conditions. The Floridian card registry system employed by OMMU has enabled the responsible medical consumption of cannabis in the state. Under the policy, Americans can be guaranteed the ethical production and marketing of cannabis. The card registry system represents an intelligent approach to legalizing medical marijuana use as part of maximizing the economic value of the emerging industry segment.
There is overwhelming economic evidence on why the legalization of weed should be nationwide. According to the federal annual financial report for 2015, Colorado generated more than $135 million in taxes from the recreational and medical use of marijuana (Monte, Heard, and Zane 1). Total sales surpassed $990 million in 2015, which implies marijuana is now an over a billion-dollar market in the state. In the following year, sales grew by 30%, with estimates reaching the $20 billion mark by 2020 (Monte, Heard, and Zane 1). Research studies from Colorado State University claim that legal cannabis has contributed over $58 million to the state economy. The legalization of weed will promote the creation of marijuana nurseries and dispensaries. Not only will the stores create employment opportunities for locals but also improved cash flow in the towns. Nevada based Marijuana Policy Group believes legalization can support nearly 40000 jobs generating over $1.7 billion in labor income annually (Monte, Heard, and Zane 1). More employment opportunities imply improved family income and associated lifestyles.
Marijuana is a game-changing pharmaceutical component in pain management therapies and drugs. While a person might be healthy today, the case might be different tomorrow. There is a large pool of medical patients who rely on cannabis for pain relief and improved motor functioning. According to scientific research, the cannabidiol (CBD) constituent of cannabis helps prevent brain seizures, tumor growth, and reduce nausea, anxiety, and depression (Pacula and Smart 407). CBD is not psychoactive, meaning the consumer does not get the ‘high’ associated with the adverse effects. The registry system already oversees the consumption of legal CBD oil for medical purposes in eleven states. THC, the psychoactive constituent of cannabis, equally has its medicinal benefits. The compound improves breathing in persons with respiratory disorders, such as asthma (Pacula and Smart 407). The component is known to enhance human metabolism and provide a therapeutic high to individuals dealing with pain and post-traumatic stress. Making marijuana more widespread across America will alleviate the medical challenges of so many people, changing their lives for the better.
Legalizing marijuana is part and process of refining the United States’ criminal justice system. When considering the economic implications of legalizing cannabis, revenue saved is as significant as revenue generated. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the justice system spends around $3.6 billion annually in federal marijuana enforcement (Pacula and Smart 403). By legalizing marijuana, the drug will be erased from the controlled-substance list, which means less number of cases will be reaching the trial stage. Marijuana is currently categorized as a schedule 1 substance, which are compounds that the government perceives as most dangerous (Monte, Heard, and Zane 1). Rationale dictates that fewer number of court cases results in a declining incarceration rate. The criminal justice system will spend less on rehabilitating prisoners caught for marijuana possession and distribution. For the liberal thinker, more significant is that legalization will address the imbalanced incarceration of persons from minority communities for drug-related offenses. There is a xenophobic connotation to the use of marijuana that has, for decades, led to the bias persecution of African Americans in the United States. Legalization will help counter such negative racial animus.
The success of OMMU’s card registry system in Florida illustrates that there is an effective way to regulate the consumption of marijuana on a nation-wide basis. By making medicinal cannabis a ubiquitous service in America, people will benefit from a better alternative to traditional medicine. Pot represents a revolutionary pharmaceutical resource for pain management therapies. Not only will legalization improve general public health but also national economic growth. Legal trade of the drug promises increased revenue generation and family income at the national level. Lastly, legalization will help address the sociopolitical bias within the criminal justice system that, for decades, has purported the imprisonment of African Americans for minor drug-related offenses. The primary constraint to all the benefits as mentioned earlier is the lack of federal legislation that oversees the controlled production and consumption of the drug on a nation-wide basis. With a proven registry system, the average voter is guaranteed ethical production and consumption of the substance.
- Monte, Andrew, Kennon Heard, and Richard Zane. The Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Colorado. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), vol. 313, no. 3, 2014, pp. 1-3.
- Pacula, Rosalie and Rosanna Smart. Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Legalization. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, vol. 13, 2017, pp. 397-419.