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Social Impacts to Legalizing Marijuana

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Introduction

Marijuana: rebellion, addiction, distraction. Marijuana has not always been used to get high. The first time marijuana has been documented was in 2737 BC by the Chinese; they used marijuana as medical aid for joint damage, disease, and relief from pain. From China, it was brought to India. In India, the Islamic culture innovated marijuana recreationally, due to alcohol consumption being banned in their religion. It was brought to America by the Spanish in 1545 and its use has been altered ever since. In Jamestown, it was considered a cash crop because of the natural source of fiber. In the 1910s, Mexican refugees fled from the brutality of the Mexican Revolution and brought Marijuana along with them. According to a survey from Yahoo News and Marist University, 22 percent of American adults use marijuana, this estimated to be around 55 million percent of the American population. 52 percent of American adults have admitted to trying the drug. This shows that marijuana has become popular over time, and could prove difficult to diminish its uses. (Yahoo News/Marist Poll: Weed & The American Family. 17 Apr. 2017.)

The proven side effects of marijuana, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, include increased risk of heart attack, increased risk of stroke, problems with coordination (impairing safe driving), the decline in IQ (up to eight points), poor school performance and a higher chance of dropping out, addiction, antisocial behavior including stealing money or lying, financial difficulties, increased welfare dependence and greater chances of being unemployed.

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Economic Decline in Everyday Life Caused by Marijuana

Marijuana use is undeniably an expensive hobby for both the consumer and the government. If marijuana were to be legalized throughout the country, there would be a rise in teenage use and abuse of the drug. The Oregon Research Institute found that when cannabis was legalized in their state, there was no significant increase in the number of teenagers using but an increase to the amount they were using, being 26%.

According to Addiction Center, marijuana is the third most popular drug, behind tobacco and alcohol. The effects of the drug have a direct tie to the workplace, targeting the employees’ wallets. A journal published by Addiction reported people who admitted to smoking in the past year confess a lack of dedication compared to coworkers. Employees who have less dedication to their job tend to get demoted or even fired. This could be caused by a side effect of indulging in the use of cannabis.

By taking the drug, one is more inclined to miss work. As reported by drugfree.org teens under age 17 who use marijuana every day are 60 percent less likely to graduate from high school. Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley spoke to CBS News reporting college graduates are more likely to move to find work than high school-only workers.

Marijuana causes unproductivity in the workplace and school. Along with that, it has been proven to be a gateway drug, a drug that leads to a more addictive one. On top of the cost of the drugs themselves, the consumer would have to pay for the hospitalization and rehab. Discovered by drugabuse.gov, in 2009 marijuana was involved in around 400,00 emergency department visits, the average cost being $1,233.

Economics in a Business Aspect

Though marijuana’s side effects are proven to be harmful, there is also a beneficial side to marijuana: money. According to Forbes, the marijuana industry has a worth of almost $7.7 Billion. (Zhang, Mona. “The Global Marijuana Market Will Soon Hit $31.4 Billion But Investors Should Be Cautious.” 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/monazhang/2017/11/07/global-marijuana-market-31-billion-investors-cautious/#16f7193d7297) The most expensive city globally to purchase marijuana, according to The Guardian, is Tokyo, Japan at £22.86 per gram, about 28.96 dollars. The cheapest country to buy marijuana from is Quito, Ecuador at £0.94 ($1.19). The cheapest price in America is $7.58, from Seattle. Therefore, investing in an American marijuana grower is not the best option, because of price inflation. On the other hand, distributing marijuana is an increasing financial industry. According to Tom Adams, the managing director of BDS Analytics who tracks the cannabis industry, in 2017, the marijuana industry had 9 billion dollars in sales. It is estimated, in 2021, that the industry will receive $21 billion.

Along with marijuana investments becoming a thriving industry, it would also become popular to use during work. A survey released by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention shows that in the profession of “food preparation and serving,” 32% of the workers surveyed reported using marijuana during the job. Legalizing marijuana would cause an inclination to be using the drug in the workplace, thus affecting work motivation and decreasing employee reliance.

Economic Decline in the Government

The government plays a major factor in whether marijuana will be legalized or not. If marijuana were to be legalized, there would be fewer drug-related arrests. According to the research done by the American Civil Liberties Union or the ACLU, 52% of all drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana. Another statistic from ACLU reports that 7 million people were caught having marijuana from 2001 to 2010 (“Marijuana Arrests by the Numbers.” American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, www.aclu.org/gallery/marijuana-arrests-numbers.) Though there would be less drug abuse on the streets, on the other hand, the drug would be more accessible and sold easier to minors. On top of the arrest, if marijuana were to be legalized, the government becomes responsible to do something about young teens accessing the drug easier. A solution to this issue would be for the government to fund anti-drug use campaigns in schools. This will ensure that students are educated with the correct information and cautions about the drug, as well as, prevent some students to take the drug.

Counterclaim/Conclusion

Overall marijuana could be valuable to the economy since it is another source of income. Recreational cannabis is harmful to a person’s capabilities, health, and work ethic, causing students and employees to underperform and not reach their true potential Medical marijuana has been proven beneficial for health purposes. On the other hand, the marijuana market is a prospering one, and investing in it shows great promise for the future, due to the drug becoming more popular today. But, investing in marijuana is investing in damaging someone’s life, finances, and health.

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