In 2014, the recreational use of marijuana was illegal in 48 states, here in the United States, leaving two states with legal permission for the people to smoke as they please. What makes them so special? After four months of it being legal in Colorado and Washington it is time for the legalizing of marijuana in more, if not all states. Here to talk about this issue, are two local Ball State Students, Tanner Bamforth and Lauren Spartz. After countless hours of research on the topic they will provide many different benefits the nation would see if the recreational use of weed was no longer prohibited by the other 48 states.
Tanner: The legalization of marijuana provides many benefits for the United States of America. The US would benefit greatly in multiple ways. The positive effects of the legalization of weed would: impact our economy, our law enforcement system, the peoples health, and the satisfaction of giving the people what they want. Each of these aspects have many of their own examples and different details that make them important and unique.
To grasp the concept of marijuana as a whole, you must first understand the history behind it. Cannabis, Coca, & Poppy: Nature’s Addictive Plants states that the oldest written record on cannabis use was in 2727 B.C. This was from the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung. It wasn’t grown in the United States until 1545. In American cannabis was grown on plantations for the use of its hemp for making rope, paper, and other accentual items used in everyday life. Other than hemp, marijuana was grown for the seeds to be used in animal feed and its oil to be used in paint. Pot is not just grown by people, but also wild in tropical and humid parts of the world. This means that this drug is illegal even thought it is naturally grown: a confusing issue to most Americans.
Lauren: Legalizing marijuana can impact America in one of the best ways imaginable: by improving the economy. Improving America’s economy and maintaining the name of “the land of milk and honey” is a determination amongst political leaders and many Americans alike. Could it be that by covering America in a purple haze, America’s economy as a whole may potentially ski-rocket in a positive incline? Yes- in fact there is now proof that stoners, hippies, potheads, and all of the other nicknames that have become so increasingly popular, contribute to this newly found effect that marijuana reinforces on America’s economy.
The most profound conformation of this controversial legalization is shown in the recent tax collection in the state of Colorado. According to Gabrielle Karol’s article on Fox Business’s website: In the month of January alone, Colorado collected 3.5 million dollars in taxes from just providing residents with the legal ability to purchase marijuana for both recreational enjoyment (it was made legal in January to buy marijuana for recreational usage) and medical treatment. Due to the booming sales Colorado has profited from, schools and educational programs are now more freely able to administer enlightening opportunities for Colorado’s future generations. Marijuana’s drastic impact on Colorado is predicted to change by next year: resulting in Colorado making profits of 133 million dollars in marijuana taxes alone.
Giving freedom back to cannabis lovers by legalizing open sales of marijuana has the potential power of feeding United States 31billion dollars in tax revenue. This estimation leads to the ability of having future America outshine other countries for many generations to come.
Tanner: Marijuana is said to be very harmful towards the health of the humans that ingest it and that is a main reason it is illegal. This statement is actually false. With this said, everything has a down side, but marijuana has more positive than negative effects. This can be said for other drugs that are already legal. The liquid drug, also known as alcohol, has possibly no health benefits; yet possess a number of negative effects on the body. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol affects the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. Along with decreasing the effectiveness of the immune system and increase one’s rick of cancer. If this isn’t bad enough, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence states that alcohol is responsible for 2.5 millions deaths world wide on a yearly basis.
Marijuana on the other hand has many benefits to make up for the few negatives it has. Eileen Shim, a writer for PolicyMic, states in her article, 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Medical Marijuana, that weed has many pros to the human body. Marijuana can actually stop HIV from spreading throughout the body; this was proven in a study of monkeys who receive a daily does of THC. Studies have found that marijuana also has the ability to block the enzyme that causes the progression of Alzheimer’s. Eileen Shim goes on to say that weed slows the spread of cancer cells, is an active pain reliever, and combats depression anxiety and ADHD. It can also help with neurological damage, such as concussions and strokes, and prevents blindness from glaucoma. With all of these great health benefits it is mind blowing that marijuana is illegal, but alcohol is legal.
Lauren: There have been many overstated comments said and written by advocators who are proactive in fighting for the legalization of marijuana. In comparison, non-supporters of the legalization of marijuana have also fought to keep our blessed homeland free of the Devil’s Lettuce by sometimes making untrue claims. Voiced and written opinions made by both opposite stances have created information that is not only faulty but is also producing untrue and improper education of marijuana to the population.
It is easy to categorize marijuana as being an unhealthy substance. However, in reality there are a variety of health benefits related to marijuana consumption. Commonly perceived as hazardous, marijuana has battled negative media coverage for ages due to claims of being addictive, a gateway drug, and having the possibility of contributing to criminal behavior
Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in an article on CNN’s website, how he once viewed marijuana and how he presently views marijuana. In 2009, Dr. Gupta wrote an article for TIME magazine describing his views on medical marijuana and how he believed legalizing marijuana would create a negative impact on future American’s. Now Dr. Gupta reconsiders his first initial stance, claiming that he has been called to apologize for criticizing marijuana and denoting the benefits of this cannabis plant. After reanalyzing research and uncovering smaller research studies done in other countries, Dr. Gupta came to the conclusion that popular claims of marijuana being highly addictive and marijuana not having any legitimate medical applications are extremely misleading and false. By sharing the story of Charlotte Figi, Dr. Gupta provided proof of marijuana truly having medical benefits from describing Charlotte’s lifetime battle with unexpected seizures.
Charlotte Figi began having seizures soon after birth. Charlotte’s seizures began to dramatically increase by the age of three, resulting to her having around 300 seizures per week. Regardless of Charlotte being prescribed to seven different medications, her unexpected spams continued to remain the same total amount everyday. However, with the help of medical marijuana, Charlotte now experiences uncontrollable seizures only two or three times a month.
The story of Charlotte and many other patients Dr. Gupta has come in contact with has impacted his view of medical marijuana and the life-changing benefits it brings to all patients. Can it be that many other doctors around America are starting to investigate the truth behind medical marijuana, causing them to reconstruct and redefine their previous stances on the subject?
Tanner: The US spends too much time, money, and effort fighting against marijuana. Officers are out looking for potheads, when they should be looking for true criminals, such as murders and rapist. Piety lawbreakers who do get arrested for marijuana, are forced to prison time along side brutal criminals who commit heinous crimes. According to Amanda Stevens, the author of Rawstory article titled Legalizing Marijuana Allows Police to Focus on Violent Crimes, “A 1999 study showed that 60,000 individuals were behind bars for marijuana use”. This statement made by Amanda Stevens, does not count the other 700,000 people arrested each year for marijuana charges that may not have to see the inside of a jail cell; she goes on to explain this had cost taxpayers over 7 billion dollars to prosecute these people. Spending that much money each year to fight the war on cannabis when, as said before, the US could be supporting marijuana and make a substantial amount of money in the process.
With a new law making marijuana legal for recreational use, law enforcement won’t have to worry about the illegal sale of it as much. This would cut back on drug related gang violence and murder, which could be caused by a drug deal gone badly. Things would be a lot simpler if there was just a local, friendly pot shop that hippies can have their needs met. This would also make officers jobs a lot easier. They would only have to worry about a few random drug deals, minors, and boarder patrol.
Tanner: If America is democracy then the people should get what they want. A recent poll taken in early 2013, states that 70% of people supported legal marijuana in the state of Florida alone . The decision to add the legalization of marijuana to the ballot shouldn’t be left in the hands of politicians. According to the Huffington Post article, This Is Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Everywhere, by Renee Jacques and Todd Van Luling, “58 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing the plant to be legal”. In conclusion, if the benefits of marijuana outweigh the negative media coverage that continually resurfaces. It is the people’s weed and every person has his or her own right to be able to partake in experiencing the high life legally.