Legalization of Marijuana
Different states are engaging in dilemma discussions on whether to legalize marijuana or not. The need to legalize the drug follows age-old arguments on the effects and uses of the drug (Zimmer). On a global scale, marijuana is an illegal drug that is widely used. Being a drug, there are reported cases for its abuse, and this is the major reason for the confusion. Most states have decriminalized marijuana through a number of laws and acts, but it is better to decide individually if marijuana is worth legalizing. A pro-legalization wave is making most states to rethink their facts on the drug (Nagourney). International bodies such as the United Nations are aiding people to make decisions through conducting studies and creating awareness by providing information. Marijuana should be legalized due to its therapeutic properties, economic advantages such as taxation, and other uses such as soap and rope making.
Marijuana is used in three different forms; first, Cannabis Herbal is known as “medicinal marijuana” or “weed.” These are dried leaves used for medical purposes. Cannabis Resin is the pressed secretion of the plant. Hash oil is a concoction made from distillation or extraction of active ingredients of the plant (Office of National Drug Control Policy). The oil is used in manufacturing lotions, soaps that are good for the skin (United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime). Hemp is a form of cannabis and that is used for building ropes, and in manufacturing fabric and preparation of animal beddings.
Medical marijuana is important when it is involved in health issues; it adds euphoria, a mood that is conducive and comforting to most patients during therapy. It also contains seeds that are very rich in nutrients such as omega 3, calcium , and iron that have a great role in preventing heart problems (Lee). The growth of this plant is not expensive since it is environmentally friendly and it does not need much attention and manure.
Medical marijuana legalization in Colorado is offering immense benefits both to the state and to the users. In January 2014, Colorado earned $2 million in taxes from the sale of recreational marijuana (Kelly). The taxes are imposed on selling marijuana products and at the retail level. The tax of the drug is imposed on the final consumer. Besides that, medical marijuana sales are also on the rise given the immense therapeutic effects of the drug.
The monies earned from the sale of the drug in Colorado have helped the economies of cities such as Denver and Boulder. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard Economist claims the United States can earn $7.7 million from the legalization of the drug (Lee). This is possible if the drug is taxed using tobacco and alcohol rates. Legalization would reduce the monies spent by respective states on petty crimes such as possession of the drug. It would reduce the funds spent in prosecuting people who have been caught with the drug. Legal trade of the drug would reduce the number of gangs or even make their control easy.
Marijuana is a very contagious drug not to just the users but to the surrounding. When taken for a long time it is more chances for the user to be addicted. Overdosing this drug may course long-term illness such as infertility in men i.e. less sperm count. Irregular users often experience heartburns and regular heavy coughs while the regular users of this are associated with lung infections and frequent chest pains. Cannabis smoke affects the environment there is a possibility of non-users getting affected by bronchitis in case the smoke is inhaled frequently (United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime).
Studies show that minor are affected majorly, once they are exposed to the drug, there is a possibility for them to experiment on other lethal drugs such as opium and cocaine. Low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety are also developed. Poor performance in academics is experienced since the user’s level of concentration is minimal. A study in New Zealand confirms that most school dropouts are associated with this drug; it affects memory and finally, it affects learning of most adolescents and this leads directly to unemployment (Office of National Drug Control Policy).
Pregnant women are advised to stay clear of this drug simply because it contains carbon monoxide that helps in the decrease of an infant’s birth weight. Marijuana addicts have a tendency of detaching themselves from society since they believe in spending more time with fellow users or by themselves, this leads to negative thoughts such as suicide. It is advised that one should drive while not under the influence of cannabis because it affects vision and this effect might lead to an accident.
In conclusion, legalization of marijuana will earn several states much money in terms of taxes. The United States government will spend less time and money prosecuting people in possession of the drug. Legalization means that more oil products, ropes, and other products of marijuana will be availed in the market for use.
Kelly, Phillips. It's No Toke: Colorado Pulls In Millions In Marijuana Tax Revenue. Forbes. com. 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/03/11/its-no-toke-colorado-pulls-in- millions-in-marijuana-tax-revenue/>
Lee, Martin. Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific. New York: Scribner, 2013. Print.
Nagourney, Adam. Despite support in party, democratic Governors result legalizing marijuana The New York Times. 5 April 2014. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/us/politics/despite-support-in-party-democratic- governors-resist-legalizing-marijuana.html?_r=0>
Office of National Drug Control Policy. Fact Sheet. Marijuana; know the facts. N.d. Print.
United Nations Office of Drug and Crime. Cannabis; a short review. N.d. Print.
Zimmer, Lynn. Chapter one: The History of Cannabis Prohibition. N.d. Print.