Is Legalizing the Right Choice?
August 10, 2013
August 10, 2013
Is Legalizing The Right Choice?
Marijuana has been gaining in popularity for many years now and is only becoming more and more popular. This has lead to many states across the U.S starting to legalize the plant for medicinal purposes, which has brought up the discussion of just completely legalizing the plant. Two states, Colorado and Washington have already went that route and have legalized marijuana entirely to be regulated in the same fashion as alcohol. The legalization of marijuana in the United States could have many positive and negative effects, but I believe the positive will far outweigh the negative and the legalization of marijuana would greatly benefit our country as a whole
To start ill go over a main concern that many americans have with legalizing marijuana, who will be using it more when its legal, will it be our youth? Gathering evidence from numerous studies that have been conducted over the past 25 years affirms that if marijuana is legalized and there are no longer marijuana related penalties then it will not lead to an increase in consumption. On NORML's website on the "Marijuana Decriminalization & Its Impact on Use" page they list numerous studies that have been conducted on the topic. Here they quote L. Johnson, of the Institute for Social Research from the University of Michigan, claims that "Overall, the preponderance of the evidence which we have gathered and examined points to the conclusion that decriminalization has had virtually no effect either on the marijuana use or on related attitudes and beliefs about marijuana use among American young people. The data show no evidence of any increase, relative to the control states, in the proportion of the age group who ever tried marijuana. In fact, both groups of experimental states showed a small, cumulative net decline in annual prevalence after decriminalization." (NORML par. 7). There are many reasons why researchers believe that it will not be our youth who starts to consume more if marijuana is legalized, many believe that it will actually be our elderly. The executive director and founder of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann says that he believes kids and teens won't be consuming it more because of how accessible pot is to them already. He believes that the age group of americans who will began to consume more once marijuana is legalized is actually the elderly of the U.S., people aging from 50-90s. He claims that the reasons they will be the ones using is because they will become aware of how well it can help them with things like sleeping and arthritis, or replacing the many pharmaceuticals that some are prescribed.
Another topic typically brought up while discussing the legalization of marijuana is whether or not its going to be beneficial to our economy. The idea of selling marijuana to the citizens then allowing the state to tax the sales to bring in revenue sounds great, but will the costs of regulating and dispensing the marijuana be covered by the revenue brought in by the sale of marijuana? John Ingold of the Denver Post wrote an article covering the findings of an analysis done by the Colorado State Universities Futures Center, which argues that the revenue will not meet the annual target. Ingold wrote that "The Colorado Futures Center concludes in its report that the costs of regulating recreational marijuana - plus possible extra costs for law enforcement, public health and human services - may exceed the tax revenue from the recreational marijuana industry. The center also estimates that tax revenue from the industry will level off or fall, "as the 'wow' factor erodes over time and any marijuana tourism begins to decline, particularly if other states follow Colorado and Washington and legalize marijuana." ( Ingold par. 5). I do agree with points made in this article, however one of the things that I personally disagree with is the costs that Ingold chose to use as a base for his mathematical equation to see if they budget will be reached, I believe he set the price of one retail ounce of marijuana far too low, which in effect made the final product of the equation a much lower number then I feel the actual number would be.
Last I'm going to cover one of the main reasons that majority of the people who are anti- legalizing marijuana feel the way they do is because they are under the impression that marijuana is harmful for the body in many ways that its actually not. DrugPolicy decided to put an end to a lot of the myths that are passed around about marijuana and made a page on their site for "10 Facts About Marijuana" which covers topics that are typically misunderstood. In fact #5 the Drug Policy covers the discussion of if marijuana can increase the risk of cancer , they state "Several longitudinal studies have established that even long- term use of marijuana (via smoking) in humans is not associated with elevated cancer risk, including tobacco-related cancers or with cancer of the following sites: colorectal, lung, melanoma, prostate, breast, cervix. A more recent (2009) population-based case-control study found that moderate marijuana smoking over a 20 year period was associated with reduced risk of head and neck cancer (See Liang et al). And a 5-year-long population-based case control study found even long-term heavy marijuana smoking was not associated with lung cancer or UAT (upper aerodigestive tract) cancers" (10 Facts About Marijuana par. 5)
In conclusion with the information presented above and my personal opinion prior to this paper, I believe that legalizing marijuana in the United States is the right thing to do and as a whole it will benefit our country. I agree with many saying that there is certainly negative side effects, as is with any law, but I believe the positive effects will far outweigh the negative in the end and that legalization is the right decision to make.
weaknesses of draft- I believe that I need to work on my transitions throughout the paper, go back and possibly space it out into more compact and better paragraphs. Also I feel that the part of my paper that needs the most work is my concluding paragraph.