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Is Marijuana Really that Bad?

Is Marijuana Really that Bad?
Is marijuana really that bad? Are the risks of smoking marijuana really worse than alcohol? These are questions currently being debated upon in the U.S. Many feel as if it should be legalized.
It has been six decades since marijuana was made illegal in the 1950’s. In the 1990’s though, California made medical marijuana legal and more popular than ever; to patients with a doctor’s prescription. But, this medical marijuana trend isn’t dying out. Ever since California legalized, 17 other states have made medical marijuana use legal with a doctor’s prescription legal. As of 2012, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington have made it legal to smoke marijuana recreationally if you are over the age of 21. However, since marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, people are still getting arrested in these legalized states by the federal government.
Legalizing marijuana could bring the U.S. government a ton of extra revenue. The taxation of marijuana has always been a credible idea. According to the Seattle Office of Financial Management in Washington State, an estimate of annual revenue from the taxation of marijuana sits at a staggering $434 million by 2015. Imagine if all fifty states made this annually. That would be more than both alcohol’s tax ($426 million in 2012) and cigarette’s tax ($425 million in 2012). With this extra money, we could help to limit deficits in areas such as government spending, or other areas of interest.
Although marijuana is costing more money to fight it rather than tax it, marijuana is actually said to be safer than alcohol. There are over a hundred thousand deaths a year from alcohol each year. But, there has never been a recorded death from marijuana use; nor has it been proven to cause cancer or kill brain cells. So what is the big deal, how can we say no to legalization?
According to an article published by the ,”Economist,” the yearly cost of an inmate is on average about $50,000 a year for each inmate, and with over 2,000 inmates a year per state, due to marijuana, the price tag seems a little high. For even having just a gram of marijuana in some states can result in jail time, license suspension, a fine, and in most states is classified as a Class A Misdemeanor. According to many states’ laws, if you have over a certain amount, you can be charged with a minimum 6 month to 1 year sentence in jail and between a $2,000-$15,000 fine depending on the amount found by authorities.
So, since polls at the Pew Research Center shows 52% of adults support legalization, then who is to say the general population shouldn’t be allowed to smoke marijuana if over half support it? Marijuana is a weed or plant, used as an herb for cancer patients, people with mental disorders, and recreational use in many places in the world. The U.S. legalizing would bring in millions of dollars in revenue from taxes, and help reduce deficits. Marijuana is also a safer alternative to alcohol. So, it is time for us to get on track, it’s the 21st century, and the “Bible Belt” grip of this country has began to subside. It’s time to legalize.



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