What Are the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization?
There are plenty of groups, politicians, and individuals that are seriously interested in the idea of legalizing marijuana. Today out of the 50 states in the US, 20 of them have legalized it in some form and more are looking to legalize it in the near future. The debate however over whether or not it should be legalized and for what uses continues to go on and on. Below are a few of the pros and cons to legalizing marijuana in the US.
No More Harmful than Alcohol
Many would argue the fact that marijuana when used in moderation is no more or less harmful than someone who drinks alcohol or smokes tobacco. There are studies and medical professionals that would agree that if the drug is used and not “abused” that it will not be harmful.
Increased Personal Freedom
There are some groups that believe that a person should be entitled to discern whether smoking marijuana is right for them. Since the drug is thought of to be one that does not have harmful effects, they believe it should be up to the individual whether or not they use it.
Marijuana prices are high because there are significant risks involved for producing, transporting, and selling the drugs. By legalizing it, you take away the high overhead costs and can lower the costs. Supporters also feel that by having lower prices it will deter those who like to smoke pot but cannot afford it from robbing to get it.
Additional Tax Revenues
Most politicians would agree that by legalizing marijuana it would provide more financial resources for the states. There is a significant amount of money generated from the taxation of things such as cigarettes and alcohol and economists would agree that marijuana would produce the same if not more.
It’s a Gateway Drug
Marijuana has always been thought of as the number one gateway drug there is. It is usually the stepping stone for users that go on to use cocaine, heroine, and other illegal drugs. There are studies that show that marijuana is often an experimental drug which leads to more harmful drugs. This could be a serious problem for teens.
Higher Chances of Abusers
If a drug is legalized there is a high possibility that more people will become addicted to it. This means that they are at higher risk for physical damage happening to their bodies. While there is still debate on how much harm continued use of marijuana can do to the brain, there is evidence that it can lead to memory loss and difficulties in problem solving which would again be detrimental to teens.
Increased Risk of Secondhand Smoke
For those who oppose marijuana smoking the legalization of the drug would mean more secondhand smoke. There would have to be more regulations in place to protect those who do not wish to inhale the fumes.
Last but certainly not least those who are against the legalization of marijuana believe that legalizing it will only open the door for more drugs to be legalized in the future. Some believe that because it has been deemed a controlled substance by the federal government that it should stay that way.