Our country has come a long way during its young life. We are constantly working to improve our laws and liberties. While freedom is a central idea, there is always the question of how much freedom we can allow to individuals. Certain things like driving a car and owning a house all seem pretty standard. However, where do the rules come into place for recreational activities? What responsibility does our government have to monitor how we keep ourselves safe? Again, some things are black and white: murder and thievery are both illegal. But there are some things that are less certain: for example, should marijuana be a legal substance for people to obtain? Research has shown that cannabis can actually help cure diseases and has fewer negative side effects than alcohol, which is already legal for individuals over 21. And while some states have legalized the sale of marijuana and cannabis, not everyone is so on board. So what then is the path to legalization for this popular drug?
Is there a Precedent?
Throughout the history of our country and our households, it is obvious that banning a substance only makes people crave it more. Even consider a small child: after being told they can’t play with a certain toy, they become more determined to get that one. There is precedent in favor of legalization. When alcohol was outlawed, the country fell into chaos. People were angry and fought to regain their right to enjoy their liquor. While marijuana has never been legal on a federal level, people are still fighting for it to become so.
There are certain states around the country already benefiting from the legalization of marijuana. About 30 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, whereas 8 have allowed the sale of the drug recreationally. With vastly different types of people around the country, the support and repute of legalized marijuana vary throughout the different states.
What are the Real Dangers?
Now in elementary school when you were told to never do drugs, teachers made weed sound dangerous and horrible, but how bad is it really? Compared to alcohol, which is legal, marijuana is actually much tamer. Whereas alcohol can kill you if you overdose, you cannot consume enough marijuana to kill you. It’s simply not possible. Either substance can cause you danger, but mainly because your inhibitions are down, not as a direct result of consuming the substance. Driving or having unprotected sex while intoxicated may have consequences, but this is the same case for either drug. And while smoking marijuana does increase your chance of lung cancer, so does smoking tobacco, which, again, is already legal in this country for individuals over the age of 18. The only real danger of smoking marijuana recreationally is stunting brain development for younger users.
Pros of Legalization
It is obvious that marijuana is no more dangerous than other substances that can already be purchased legally. Plus, just because weed is illegal, doesn’t mean people aren’t already smoking it across the country. Benefits to legalizing the substance include being able to tax it and help the economy grow from that industry. You can now find the best marijuana penny stocks and invest your money in weed. The economic and tourist markets would grow with the legalization of marijuana, and the criminal justice cases revolving around the drug would decrease. It’s an ongoing discussion, but it’s only a matter of time before a major social and legal shift regarding what Bob Marley so fondly called, “the herb.”