Marijuana, also known as weed, cannabis, or the devil's plant is widely known as one of the worst drugs that you can possibly take. One puff of this “incredibly disgusting” drug can easily ruin your life; but that’s not exactly the case. Marijuana should be legalized nationwide for recreational use not only for its various health benefits but because it would decrease crime rates and increase money revenue.
As it is widely known, cannabis can create a pleasant feeling of relaxation, but it can also cause anxiety and paranoia. Another widely known effect is the blood-shot eyes and the odd odor that is left on the clothes. After long-term use marijuana can cause short-term problems with attention, learning, and memory. It can also cause various types of lung disease. However, there is mixed evidence over whether it can cause lung cancer, making it irresponsible to claim one or the other. Marijuana can cause many other effects but those are the main ones. Among these main effects, marijuana also has several health benefits, which is why it can be prescribed in some states for medical use.
Marijuana isn’t just used by people that want to get high, but also by people who use it to live a normal live. Although there isn’t any scientific evidence confirming whether or not marijuana can help with PTSD, many veterans have reported that marijuana has helped them where other medication has failed. Marijuana did what no other medicine could when Charlotte Figi, an eight year old with a rare form of epilepsy learned that marijuana drastically reduced her seizures. Marijuana can also help with AIDS/HIV wasting and the effects of chemotherapy such as the nausea, fatigue, and weight loss. Sadly some people have to become criminals in order to receive the health benefits.
If marijuana can’t cause anything severe and it has some health benefits, then why is it illegal? Well, around the early 1900’s the U.S. saw an increase in Mexican immigrants who brought in “marihuana” as the Mexicans called it. The media talked about the dangers of Mexican culture and marijuana, but one thing that Americans didn’t know was that marijuana was already in their medicine cabinets under the name cannabis. The demonization of the cannabis plant was an extension of the demonization of the Mexican immigrants. In other words they made marijuana look malicious to make Mexicans seem evil. The reason behind this was to keep track of the incoming Mexicans and have an excuse to detain and deport them.
Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t only decriminalize the people that use it for medical reasons but it would also benefit the states. 650,000 people were arrested in 2015 for marijuana law violations, making 40% of all drug arrests. If legalization of marijuana took place, then possessing it wouldn’t be a crime, which would result in a decrease of both the crime and arrest rates. This decrease in arrest would also save money, the reason being that taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay for the inmates that would be in jail for marijuana. Not only that, but the taxes implemented on marijuana would make insane amounts of revenue. In Colorado the tax income has already exceeded the estimated amount with a total of $129 million. The money earned could be used to fix roads, public schools, or other great uses.”The Revenue fund school construction… and general state needs,” the DPA writes.
After the Controlled Substance Act was passed in 1970, drugs were put into categories from 1-5 for how addictive and harmful they were. Marijuana was put in Schedule 1, the category where the most dangerous drugs, such as heroin, go. Marijuana isn’t as dangerous as it is portrayed to be, therefore it should be removed from Schedule 1. Moving marijuana to Schedule 2 would make testing the effects of marijuana easier and more efficient. This would reveal all the effects of marijuana while also disproving or proving the already public effects. If we were to know everything there is to know about marijuana, then the discussion of its legalization would be essentially over.
Out of 70 students, 70% reported that the only thing that the school system teaches about marijuana is that it is absolutely horrific. I, along with the health and fitness coach of my school agree that the school system doesn’t accurately represent the effects of marijuana; essentially making it propaganda. It’s important to not lead students astray, because in enough time, they will be the ones making the decisions.
All in all, the states should follow California's example and legalize marijuana to drastically increase their revenue and decrease crime. The money will be used to fix roads, fund schools, and plenty more. This will open up many great opportunities for our nation, instead of criminalizing innocent people who use it to ease their hardships.