Should we give the green light for weed?


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LIAM GLENNON

The Mirror

Canada, South Africa, Georgia, and Uruguay have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis, 31 countries have legalized it for medical uses only. Forty-seven countries have decriminalized (unenforced, legal in small amounts, or no sentencing for possession/use) marijuana.

But why hasn’t the United States legalized marijuana in some form yet?

Recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Medicinal marijuana is only illegal in 15 states now.

I think the United States should just bite the bullet and legalize.

Let’s talk about why it’s good for the country. In 2016 the estimated value of the marijuana, both medical and recreational, in the U.S. was just under $6 billion. That market creates jobs in the states they exist in. According to Statista, if the whole country were to legalize the market is estimated to be worth $16 billion dollars, which would create many jobs and stimulate our economy. The U.S. could also place a pretty heavy tax on cannabis products and put a small dent in our budget deficit.

But weed is the ‘gateway drug’… won’t it get people addicted to harder substances?

No, actually. “Marijuana’s reputation is the gateway drug has been proven inconsistent, if not outright false. I like to call it the exit drug because it actually is used by many rehabilitation centers now, to diminish the effects of withdrawal, while keeping them addiction free,” said Maria Sánchez-Moreno in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. This means that legalizing the devil’s lettuce can actually decrease recidivism rates of drug abuse, and will clear up a lot of space in our justice system.

Okay, so what about medical marijuana?

Medicinal marijuana is perfect for patients in chemotherapy. Most doctors in those 15 illegal states still prescribe opioids to chemo patients, which are effective as a pain killer, but highly addictive, said Gregory Carter, MD, a co-director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. But marijuana, especially medical types, are as good of a pain killer, and much less addictive when taken in prescribed amounts. They are also an appetite stimulant, and being hungry is something that chemo patients struggle with.

Medical marijuana also costs a far cry less than OxyContin, a popular pain killer. It is much easier to administer, it can be ingested, vaporized, or topically absorbed. Marijuana also has no known lethal dose.

Additionally, and my favorite reason by far, why should the government be able you control your body?

The government has no right to control what adults put in their bodies. Why should they be able to limit the use of drugs or alcohol? Unless what somebody is doing negatively affects somebody else, the government shouldn’t be able to stop them from doing so. Marijuana should always be practiced in a safe environment, away from dangerous machinery and children, much like alcohol which is legal.

So, why should marijuana be legalized? The answer is for the good of the country, the people in it, and their well-being.