Hunter most discussed problems. A large majority
HauserENG 11124 November 2017TheFight for Marijuana Legalization in the United States There are many issues that effect today’s modern America,with the legalization of marijuana always being one of the most discussedproblems. A large majority of people who are against the legalization ofmarijuana argue that there would not be much gained from it, or that theeffects of marijuana legalization may be dangerous to the public even thoughdata suggests that these opinions are invalid. If we help to pass legislationin the united states to legalize marijuana the damage done by the opioid crisiswill be reduced, billions of dollars could be used from excise taxes to fundpublic schools or other things used by the public, criminals with onlymarijuana-related charges could be released saving billions of dollars, and thepolice force in the united states would be able to focus on more dangerousactivities than marijuana.
Marijuana is a naturally growing plant that has beenaround for centuries, but it wasn’t until the early 1900’s that marijuanabecame criminalized in the united states. The first piece of legislation passedagainst marijuana was the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which was designed to makeit illegal to possess or sell marijuana. While the laws coming from theMarijuana Tax Act were somewhat not enforced, that changed with the Boggs Actin 1952 which called for mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana as well asseveral other much more harmful drugs. Marijuana began to gain popularity inthe 1960’s in the United States with the whole hippie scene, which shed morelight on people consuming marijuana and led to the public declaring a drugcrisis in the United States. In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act was passedwhich labeled marijuana as a schedule 1 substance and carried stricterpunishments on those who were caught with the plant. This meant that marijuanawas declared to be very addictive and have no health benefits whatsoever, andwas put into the same category as ecstasy and even heroin (Lopez).
It is no secretthat the opioid crisis in the United States is horrible and continues to getworse each and every year. Marijuana is a safe alternative to any type ofopioid used to treat pain. In a study done by a group of doctors studyingmarijuana and opioid addiction related deaths, it was shown that in Coloradowhich has legalized marijuana for recreational use the amount of people dyingeach year from opioid related deaths is decreasing by 8.4 people per year(Livingston, Barnett, Delcher and Waganaar).
If marijuana was legalized itwould also reduce the number of opioids prescribed, the number of opioidsconsumed, and even accidental opioid overdoses due to incorrect self-dosing(“Marijuana as Medicine”). So, in order to truly help the opioid crisis inAmerica and steer people away from potential crippling addiction doctors couldbegin to prescribe a naturally growing plant with zero recorded deaths andnothing but the benefits that people who want to take opioids are looking for. While marijuana is most commonly used as a treatment forpain, it has several other uses as well. It has been proven in a study done bythe National Eye Institute that marijuana can help slow the progression ofglaucoma by reducing the pressure inside of someone’s eyes, thus preventingblindness (Loria & Welsh). In the United States over 480,000 people dieevery year from cigarettes (“Smoking and Tobacco use”) it has been shown thatmarijuana can reverse the carcinogenic effects of cigarettes in smokers overtime (Loria & Welsh) meaning that marijuana could potentially save millionsof lives if used in replace of cigarettes. Marijuana has also been shown tohelp with epileptic seizures in a study done on epileptic rats performed by RobertJ. DeLorenzo, of Virginia Commonwealth University.
The rats were able to go onfor a period of nearly 10 hours completely seizure free and has been used tonow treat humans as well (Loria & Welsh). CBD, the chemical in marijuanathat does not have psychedelic effects has been shown to slow the spread ofcancerous cells by turning off a gene called ID-1. The cancerous cells thenmake more duplicates of this gene as opposed to continuing to spread cancer (Loria& Welsh) Marijuana can also be used as a natural treatment for anxiety anddepression by being used to improve the user’s mood and could even be used as alight sedative for someone who may be having a panic attack (Loria & Welsh). Not only canmarijuana be used to treat addictions to harmful medications and also be usedto treat many horrible diseases, it can also be used to benefit the unitedstates government by providing more tax money.
If the united states treatedmarijuana like it was alcohol or tobacco and had the same taxes on it thanbillions of dollars of tax revenue would be coming in and benefitting thepublics interests such as schools, parks, and national recreational areas. Ontop of providing funds for the government, legalizing marijuana would allow forthe police in the United States to focus on matters that needed more attentionas opposed to trying to arrest people for petty charges related to marijuana.Billions of dollars could also be saved if the people in prisons who werearrested for marijuana related crimes were released, thus creating much moreavailable money to be spent on other issues in the United States.
Eventhough Marijuana is illegal in most states, it has been shown to provide naturalhealth benefits and not be as addicting or harmful as other pain-relievingmedications. States that it may be illegal in need to look at the positiveaspects when considering marijuana legalization for medical use as well asrecreational, and the positive benefits it could have on the economy. The UnitedStates could help the opioid crisis if marijuana was legalized, have more moneyto spend on anything the government felt the need to spend it on, and overall havea safe and healthy alternative to cure many diseases.