Marijuana. Weed. Pot. Grass. Mary Jane. Whatever you call it, this drug is becoming a lot more popular and prevalent for minors, and the fight to legalize it has taken the US by storm. Debates about whether this drug is safe enough to legalize for adults over the age of 21 have gone on for years. Four states and D.C. have legalized recreational use and 11 states have legalized medical marijuana, including California.
Although both sides of the argument for legalization make good points, marijuana should be legalized. With health a concern, pro-legalization efforts state that the risk of lung cancer from smoke inhalation is decreased because of the multiple other options – like baking marijuana into food items known as edibles, or in tea instead of smoking it. Marijuana is less addictive than caffeine, which is obviously legal and very common. Marijuana also has the least amount of deaths per year, with zero, compared to tobacco, alcohol, and illicit and legal drugs. No one has died directly for any type of marijuana use.
One of the world’s largest cash crops could also come into more government control, meaning they could tax more of it than they already are. The government is making a lot of money with the legal marijuana being sold, so imagine multiplying that amount and creating a lot of jobs, improving the already shaky economy. The government could control the strength of the THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes the infamous high, sold. They could also control the amount sold to people, and the legal age limit, making the market safer and easier to control.
Marijuana wouldn’t be available to people under the age of 21, because marijuana is proven to have less long term effects on the brain when it is almost fully mature. By legalizing the drug, less underage kids will do it because they think breaking the law is cool, or they look super bad-ass doing it, which can increase safety for minors.
With Prop 47’s approval during the recent elections, the law has changed on imprisoning those caught with marijuana. Prison time has been decreased significantly but the fines have increased, with the money now going to schools, hospitals, and other public projects. Along with this proposition, legalizing marijuana would open up jail space for the many other convicts.
With the legalization of marijuana, police officers could focus on more pressing issues than catching someone with a joint in their pocket.