Would Legalizing Marijuana be Beneficial or Hurtful?

April 7, 2017
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In recent news, there has been much debate on whether marijuana should be legalised or illegalised for medical or recreational use. In states such as Colorado and California, marijuana is already legalised for both uses, while in other states it is still illegal. There are however, arguments for why the drug should be legal or illegal. Weed may have flaws, but many of its flaws are outweighed by the positives. Marijuana’s positives outweigh the negatives because it can increase state revenue, it can put some drug dealers out of business, and it provides medical benefits; but it has smaller flaws because it can also be harmful for health when used recreationally, and it can have a negative effect when used in some medical cases.

A positive to why marijuana should be legal, is that it can increase state revenue. “According to a 2010 study from Cato, legalizing marijuana would generate $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenue annually. The researchers assumed that legalized marijuana would be taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco and that the income earned by pot producers would be subject to standard income and sales tax”(Fairchild). Marijuana in Colorado and other states that it is currently legalised, is taxed similarly to food, alcohol, and cigarettes when sold at stores. With the taxing on these products, the revenue is proven to rise. If it were to be legalised across the whole country, then the country tax revenue would increase by billions. The drug as a whole could help benefit country financially, which is a big factor behind the argument of why marijuana should be legal.

Marijuana can also be beneficial because of how the country can stop business with drug dealers selling the drug. “As long as the cannabis is illegal, the illegal cannabis market is allowed to flourish. Legalizing cannabis will take money spent on the drug from the wrong hands” (New Health Advisor). Marijuana has a very large market. Whether it is legal or illegal, people will use it recreationally. The reason they have the ability to, is because of drug dealers selling them the drug. The drug dealers also can sell other illegal drugs, which they can also profit off of. Since marijuana is their most popular drug, legalising it can help put them out of business.

If marijuana were to be legal, it would provide health benefits for medical patients. “As previously mentioned, marijuana brings about a number of medical benefits. However, the most notable of them all is the treatment of patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. This is the reason why certain states, such as California, have implemented initiatives for the legalization of the drug for medicinal purposes” (NYLN). Marijuana would not be used only for recreation, but also be used for cancer patients. For people who need certain chemotherapy treatments, marijuana can help ease their fight to healthiness. If the drug can save lives, then it definitely has a case for why it should be legal.

While there are benefits to the legalisation of marijuana, there are also cons to the idea. One of them is the damage of recreational use to someone’s medical health. “Research also shows a link between marijuana use and a motivational syndrome — characterized by reduced determination and drive. It is reaffirmed by several studies that have linked marijuana use to criminal behavior, unemployment, lower incomes, greater welfare dependence, and lower life satisfaction” (Berman). Marijuana, like all drugs, can be addictive. It can determine the happiness of many users or addicts. The result of this is low happiness, a lack of money, and low overall quality of life. Recreationally, the drug is no different then smoking or drinking. It can be harmful for people's health, but it can be used controllably. While it’s illegal, it is still used by many people already. If marijuana is illegal, then alcohol and smoking should be illegal. Even though it can do harm to health, marijuana should still be legal.

Marijuana has some other flaws that not only recreational, but also to medical usages. The drug can cause certain types of cancer. “Another argument against the use of medical marijuana asserts that marijuana increases the risk of developing certain types of cancer such as lung and testicular cancer” (Bergeson). Marijuana can be used medically for certain chemotherapy patients, but the drug can even cause certain types of cancer. It is however, rare for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to develop other types of cancer because of cannabis. The drug has to be prescribed medically, and it is the doctor’s decision whether it should be used with the medical situation of the patient. So while marijuana has flaws medically, it still can provide help for cancer patients which is why despite the holdback, marijuana should be legal.

As you can see, the idea of legalising the drug has many pros and flaws. But in the end of the day, people will benefit heavily from the drug being legalised. Marijuana would help the country when legalised because it can increase state revenue, it can help put drug dealers out of business, and it provides health benefits for medical patients; while it has smaller flaws because of the harmfulness of it when used recreationally, and it can be harmful when used in some medical cases.

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