Recently, it’s been shown that a majority of Americans agree that marijuana should be legalized. A number of states as of now are legally allowed to purchase and smoke medical marijuana, with Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and just recently, Alaska, allowing recreational smoking as well. With that said, here’s the top 5 reasons as to why marijuana should be legalized throughout the entire United States, both medicinally and recreationally.
1. No one has overdosed from marijuana.
Studies show that consuming marijuana cannot lead to overdose. Researchers have recently discovered that there is a molecule present in the brain that limits the effects of too much Cannabis. French researchers identified a natural hormone that protected the brain of Cannabis intoxication in rats called Pregnenolone. It’s also been shown that marijuana does not cause users to become violent and commit crimes. Within the United States, other drugs have been shown to be extremely dangerous and harmful to users, much more than marijuana. As of last year, 52 million people in the United States, over the age of 12, have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. In addition, In 2013, of the 43,982 drug overdose deaths in the United States, 22,767 (51.8%) were related to pharmaceuticals. Prescription drug abuse statistics, as well as other drugs like alcohol and heroin, have dramatically more damage to people in the country versus marijuana.
2. The United States wastes millions on seizing marijuana.
Over 51 billion is spent annually on the war on drugs in the United States. Taxpayer dollars are being wasted on the government’s war on drugs, which only fuels more violence and crime versus actually solving the problem. In addition, the wasted money on the drug war causes cuts in other important services as well as less funding on more serious crimes and educational programs. Ending the wasteful spending on the drug war in the United States would free up a lot more money for more important things.
3. The plant itself has multiple uses.
The infographic above says it all! Hemp has many uses including: food, paper products, textiles, medicines, essential oils, construction, body care, nutritional supplements, animal bedding and feed. In addition, the possibility of using hemp as alternative fuels is promising. Where trees use up to 4-10 acres to produce paper and other materials from wood, hemp only requires 1 acre!
4. The medicinal benefits.
Medical marijuana has provided many medicinal benefits to those with chronic pain, depression, cancer patients, epilepsy, eating disorders, and more. Marijuana has even shown to not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The top two components of medical marijuana, CBD and THC have multiple benefits as its medicinal properties are still being studied with new uses being found for other illnesses.
5. It needs to be decriminalized – to decrease in crime and arrests.
Recently, the University of Texas at Dallas conducted a study showing that marijuana legalization will lead to a decrease in crime. “After controlling for a host of known factors related to changes in crime rates — we accounted for factors such as poverty, employment, education, even per capita beer sales, among other things — we found no evidence of increases in any of these crimes for states after legalizing marijuana for medical use,” Robert Morris said, the study’s lead author, to The Huffington Post. “In fact, for some forms of violence — homicide and assault — we found partial support for declines after the passing of this legislation.” In addition to a decrease in crime from legalization, drug arrests for marijuana will decrease. According to the ACLU, marijuana arrests make up over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Between 2001 to 2010, over 88% of arrests were for simply having it in a small amount! The arrest data also revealed a significant trend of racial bias and profiling. Although the usage rates are equal, Black individuals were 3.73 times more likely to be arrested than White individuals. Legalization would decriminalize marijuana leading to less crime and arrests, including the racial profiling issue.
The top 5 reasons for legalization of marijuana are very valid. The benefits of marijuana are continuing to override the negative, with over 58% of Americans in favor for legalization, with only 12% approving rating when first asked in 1969. Currently, many states such as Illinois, South Carolina, and Virginia are proposing their own bills that plan out legal medical marijuana programs for ill patients. It’s only a matter of time before it’s legalized countrywide with voters continuing to show overwhelming support for legalization.