To Puff Or not to Puff: Should Marijuana Be Legalized

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“Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use,” said Richard Nixon during his presidential campaign, and yet the argument is still a topic of discussion to this day in politics. In today’s world, one of the biggest arguments that get brought up is; Should Marijuana be legalized? I am excited to grow up in a generation where states like Colorado and Washington have made the giant step of making the recreational use of marijuana legal, and so far things have been working out positively for them. In my opinion, I support the federal legalization of Marijuana because of the progress it has shown in states like Colorado and Washington, its medical use, and how we can economically gain from its legalization as a nation. Marijuana is more than just a recreational drug it has helped many people from a medical standpoint and also has several other positive uses. Anything that is used out of moderation could be considered a “drug”, alcohol and tobacco are both legal and those two substances have more reported deaths and addictions than marijuana does. So that leads me to wonder, why is marijuana still illegal? I formed these positive opinions on the legalization from agents of Socialization like My Family, My Peers, and the Media.

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Growing up my parents raised me to not do anything illegal including smoking marijuana. I was confused about what to think of marijuana until I saw my brother getting into it at a young age. He got kicked out of my parent's house for smoking weed so I learned how negative it was from seeing that example and how I didn’t want to follow in his same footsteps. He ended up coming back and one night when my parents were asleep we made a homemade smoking apprentice and I got high for the first time. I can’t say at first that I fell in love with it but I did tell myself that if I see my brother letting me do it, then it must not be that bad. It was that night that I changed my mindset from no longer listening to my parents to starting to ask my friends.

In High school, I started to see each of my friends one by one smoking marijuana and how it was never looked at as a negative. We knew since it was illegal that it felt like something we were doing was bad but it almost felt like the cool thing to do because of that simple fact. Naturally, my friend's opinions of it were what swayed me to think that it wasn’t that bad of a drug and that I have nothing to be worried about it. By senior year we would all meet up before school and smoke or after football practice, we would smoke. In my generation, we were influenced by how cool media made it out to be. Rappers like Wiz Khalifa and movies like Pineapple Express took the negative image of it and made it seem like its harmless.

On November 7th,2012, Amendment 64 was passed in Colorado making it legal for the people of Colorado to smoke marijuana legally for recreational use. In 2015 licensed and regulated marijuana stores in Colorado earned just short of 1 billion dollars in revenue. Over $135 million was collected in taxes and are used to help finance important state programs. In other states, money, where Marijuana is illegal the money profited from the plant, is going into the criminal’s hands and being reinvested back into crime. The money profited in Colorado from marijuana is all going back to the people in the state. Marijuana becoming legal in participating states like Washington and Colorado made these two states are becoming more attractive to tourists from all around the world. Marijuana is still illegal federally but these states are leaping to end the prohibition. Marijuana is becoming legal to use medically in many states and it's time that America follows the states that are legalizing it and make it federally legal. It could generate positive things for America and can help the nation become stronger.

Ever since movies like “Reefer Madness” the common view of marijuana has always been looked at negatively and looked at more as a harmful drug. Ever since Bush declared the “War on Drugs” marijuana was labeled a schedule one drug. The DEA considers schedule 1 drugs, drugs that are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. However, in these last two decades, people’s opinions of medical marijuana have shifted dramatically, most conservative states are legalizing the medical use of marijuana because of all its medical usage. CBDs in Medical marijuana have shown that helps patients with epilepsy have fewer seizures. Also, CBDs from marijuana are used to help patients with pain. Doctors use medical marijuana to help alleviate pain from diseases like AIDS or help cancer patients’ nausea from chemotherapy. While the federal government still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, many states disagree that marijuana does have a valuable medical use. These are just a few of its medical benefits however, marijuana is risky to obtain for millions of people who could benefit from it, and by loosening the marijuana laws we could help patients that are in need.

Another reason why marijuana should be legalized is that it can help with economic relief. Medical marijuana in the state of California alone brings in 14 billion dollars a year and is said to rise by another 4 billion dollars in the future if it becomes legal, and that’s only in one state. Even though it is not going to solve the nation's debt, making marijuana legal will help raise money for each state and eventually help to cut the nation's debt. Every year America is spending around 68 billion dollars on prisoners in jail where 1/6 of the population were incarcerated due to non-violent drug crimes related to marijuana. Our justice system is devoting thousands of hours to imprisoning marijuana smoking who are the most law-abiding citizens. Allowing these men and women to remain with their families, participate in their communities and contribute to society not only helps the person that was incarcerated but can help the economic chances of their community and their own family. The high caused by marijuana does not inspire violence and there is no real evidence that smoking marijuana causes one to go on to worse crimes. Even the myth of marijuana being a “gateway drug” have been proven wrong decades ago.

It’s time that we change the federal laws against marijuana. There are very clear points that prove how ending the prohibition of marijuana would benefit the Nation. I am convinced that the pros of legalizing weed outweigh the cons and that America needs to open its eyes to the facts. Marijuana is less harmful than it was originally viewed, it could help raise money economically and it can help treat patients. I’m not saying that just because this plant is legalized that you have to smoke marijuana, but America is the land of the free and every man should have the choice to make their own choice on what is best for themselves good or bad. I’m assuming that shortly because of all these positive benefits, marijuana will become legalized and America can become blown away with their choice. 

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