You may be surprised, but there are many good reasons to legalize recreational marijuana. It may save lives, improve social life, moreover, the country may actually benefit from it. Properties of medical cannabis have been researched for decades, as a result now we have persuasive scientific-based arguments to change the attitude of the majority towards marijuana.
The world won’t go mad
Cannabis consumers aren’t going to crash your city, break in to the houses and shoot people. On the contrary, in the states that risked and legalized recreational marijuana, violent and property crimes have both decreased. In addition to that, marijuana recreational use tends to reduce alcohol-fueled crimes.
According to FBI Uniform Crime Report in 2013 arrests for weed possession cost $457 million (compared to 749,825 in 2012 and 757,969 in 2011). Possessing a small amount of marijuana isn’t a crime, but each year the taxpayers lose their money, which could have been spent on more urgent issues. In the New York state a single arrest for marijuana possession costs an arrested $1000-2000. From 1997 through 2010 the NYPD made 536,000 arrests. This cost taxpayers $500 million to over $1 billion.
It doesn’t matter in which state you live, African or Latin Americans are much more likely to get arrested for weed possession than white Americans, regardless that white Americans use it at higher rates.
Medical Applications of marijuana
It is already known that marijuana can fight cancer, ease side effects of chemo- and radiotherapy. IOM officially reported, that the cannabinoids in cannabis relieve pain, control vomiting and nausea, stimulate appetite. Huge number of sick people is suffering now because they have to take up to 40 meds to relieve the pain, while marijuana can narrow it down to only 10 or even substitute it.
Marijuana is 114 time less toxic than other legal drugs
Comparative analysis of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco shows that cannabis is 114 less toxic than alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis contains 480 natural components. Practical application of medical cannabis provides evidences that it is more effective than opioids used to treat many conditions.
Legalization won’t increase pot consumption among the youth
Many predicted the increase in cannabis consumption among the youth. In reality, it had quite the opposite effect. Legal sales of recreational marijuana are under control and tight law regulation. Selling legally is much safer and will neutralize the black market. As a proof to that, studies showed that in 2013 the percentage of young marijuana users in Colorado went down from 22% to20%.
A source of tax revenues
Apart from saving the US billions of dollars per year, legal recreational marijuana generates great tax revenue for the states. In 2014 legal recreational marijuana market brought Colorado more than $60 million. Around $40 millions are going to be returned to the voters, spent on school construction, costs of regulation and educational programs. To Washington it brought $40 million in the first 6 months after official sales started.
Illegal marijuana costs more
More than $3.6 billion is spent each year on marijuana prohibition. Decriminalization and legalization is one of the ways to gain control of it. Prohibition only makes the situation harder, think of alcohol prohibition which produced gangsters.
Elimination of the illegal market
Of course legalization won’t eliminate the black market at once. It takes time to make regular consumers change their habits to buy from stores and not from black dealers. Legalization boosts development of a proper infrastructure and provides access to the stores, and allows better education how to use marijuana, thus making the consumption safer. Last year arrests linked to marijuana has decreased 24% in Washington D.C., besides that the price on Mexican pot decreased from 90$ to 30 per kilogram, along with the price drop in legal stores. The latest shows that the black market is already suffering from such competition.
As marijuana industry is gaining steam now, there are more than 10,000 people got job opportunities in Colorado. More thousands of jobs are available in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C., not mentioning jobs created nationwide. In Montana in 2011 1,400 jobs were created to employ 70% of currently unemployed people at that time. Jobs include: assistants, growers, bud tenders, dispensary operators and administrators, lawyers, drives, solar panel specialist, government jobs etc. Obviously, such variety of jobs can help the US job market.