Cannabis. That very word alone is enough to terrify countless people, harkening back to the fears of “Reefer Madness” from the 1960s, and the endless insistence that marijuana was the devil’s drug and would destroy your very soul.
Of course, none of that is true.
Gradually, western society is slowly waking up to the realisation that cannabis is a plant with many medicinal properties, as well as other benefits to society.
Full, federal legalization is still a way off, but the first battle that needs to be fought is that of medical cannabis being legalized.
Cannabis is legal in a few states in the USA, with medical cannabis being legal in a fair few more, but there are still many states that refuse to accept its benefits – both medical and, indeed, fiscal.
So, here are 5 reasons why medical cannabis should be legal in ALL 50 states.
#5: Marijuana Prohibition is a Joke
Marijuana prohibition has been going on for decades, aimed at encouraging people to disdain the cannabis plant entirely. Politicians (frequently those among the right wing) would have you believe that prohibition is working extremely well, that it makes people safe and secure and ensures a better life for everyone.
Well no, not really.
In actual fact, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure; more people smoke marijuana that ever before, but are forced to either travel to where it is legal and thus incur expense, or smoke it illegally.
By encouraging people to commit a federal crime when they want to smoke marijuana, people are forced to turn to shady drug dealers and deal with criminal gangs.
Alongside that, marijuana prohibition has resulted in over 25 million Americans being arrested for cannabis related crimes in the last 30 years, which has cost the American taxpayer over $1 trillion to prosecute. The vast majority of this 25 million includes minorities, further widening the class gap and encouraging racial profiling.
In general, prohibition makes marijuana dangerous. Couldn’t we make it safe?
#4: Legalized Marijuana is Safer
When a drug is legalized, the conventional thought is that people will immediately overuse and abuse it, leading to more crime and imprisonment, as well as a generation of people addicted to the substance.
Well, once again, not really.
It turns out that when you make something that was once illegal finally legal, people don’t go crazy and develop addictions. They actually then begin to consume the products with moderation.
Alongside that, they consume it far more safely, because they can purchase it from a reputable source and, more importantly, not fear reprisal from the government for using it.
Just take a look at Portugal. *Portugal decriminalized all drugs back in 2001, which didn’t lead to mass addiction or drug use, but actual moderation and a decline in usage rates.
Alongside that, overdose rates dropped drastically as people could use their previously illicit substances freely.
With regards to children utilizing marijuana, it is actually far easier to stop underage people from using a substance if it is regulated. This is because the avenues of purchase only exist in regulated storefronts, removing dodgy dealers from the equation entirely.
When you have to buy your marijuana from an accredited store that has a regulatory agency making sure they don’t sell to kids and teenagers, the rate of youth drug use goes way, way down.
Just look at alcohol and cigarettes; while illegal, underage drinking does occur, it is far easier to regulate and control children’s use of the substances.
Speaking of drinking and smoking, isn’t there some hypocrisy there?
#3: Way More Dangerous Drugs Are Legal Already
Alcohol and cigarettes – two of the most addicting substances that we consume on a daily basis. Aside from a brief period of a few years back in the 1920s, alcohol has been legal since its creation over 5000 years ago.
Alcohol is responsible for over 88,000 deaths a year in the USA*, thanks to excessive drinking, alcohol poisoning and other alcohol-related deaths. Yet, most people drink it every day perfectly legally.
Cigarettes have been smoked and legal since the tobacco’s discovery in the New World some 550 years ago, yet they kill a monumental 480,000 people in the USA per year*.
Yet, somehow, both substances are inexplicably legal across all 50 states.
It is important to then consider the number of deaths caused by marijuana. In comparison to the 88,000 caused by alcohol and the 480,000 from cigarettes, marijuana kills… virtually zero.
This is because marijuana doesn’t cause poisoning like alcohol, nor does it lead to excessive cancers like with cigarettes. Instead, of the innumerable users of marijuana in the USA, not a single person has died as a direct result of their imbibing.
This obviously discounts people making silly decisions while under the influence of marijuana, but the same can be said of alcohol.
Alongside this, marijuana is not at all physically addicting, unlike the famous addicting qualities of alcohol and cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarette addiction affects countless millions all over the world, causing disease and suffering while draining the money of those affected so they can support their addiction.
In light of this, it only makes sense to treat marijuana as we treat other substances – to legalize it, regulate it, and control it, so as to make absolutely sure people can utilize it safely.
If we do that, we gain access to another valuable reason why marijuana should be legal.
#2: There’s Money to be Made!
One of the most significant benefits to Marijuana legalization that should interest politicians and all those in charge: money.
That’s right, it turns out that, when you legalize a substance and allow it to be distributed, you get to tax it.
Since the full legalization of marijuana in Colorado in 2014, the state of Colorado has raised $747,981,748. Which, if you’re having trouble reading that amount written as numbers, is seven hundred and forty seven million, nine hundred and eighty one thousand and seven hundred and forty eight dollars. In short, a huge amount of money.
Every state would have the ability to raise a huge amount of income from levying taxes on this new industry, both in its production and its sale, as well as seeing a huge amount of tourism exploding throughout the United States as people fly to the USA just to try their marijuana.
Not only is it fair when you consider the other substances that are legal, it makes a huge amount of sense when you take into account that the USA stands to generate billions upon billions of dollars in revenue.
Every day that Marijuana remains illegal is another several hundred thousand tax dollars that are left on the table.
The fact that there’s money to be made and this still doesn’t convince a good number of politicians to make it legal is insane enough, but the next, most significant reason should be the most compelling argument for legalization.
#1: Marijuana Helps People
Ignoring the money able to be made, ignoring people’s safety or the fact that prohibition flat out doesn’t work, marijuana needs to be considered for what it can do and how it can help make people’s lives better.
Marijuana is a medicine.
Yes, it can get you high, absolutely. But more significantly, people have been using the cannabis sativa plant for millennia to treat a number of medical conditions.
Innumerable studies have been made into the benefits of THC and CBD on the human body, both in treating specific conditions and in general health maintenance.
As an example, take the famous case of Charlotte Figi, a young girl suffering from epilepsy who managed to go from 300 grand mal seizures a week to just 2 or 3, thanks to the regular application of CBD oil in her food.
It’s thanks to those first steps in cases like Charlotte’s that many states are starting to realize the benefits of marijuana, but there’s still so much work to be done.
From treating epilepsy or eczema, all the way to dealing with anxiety or back pain problems, marijuana – more specifically CBD oil that exists within marijuana – is a tool we can use to help people.
Leaving aside all of the money and all the issues of fairness, marijuana is a plant that some people use to make themselves feel good, whereas others use it to help them deal with their medical issues, or even save their lives.
Ultimately, it’s completely obvious what we should do about cannabis – we need to legalize it in all 50 states of America, regulate it, and begin using it. Tax it, monitor it, use to treat patients and just generally enjoy it.
When something can help so many people and provide so much benefit with so little cost, why on earth isn’t it legal already?