Colorado is not alone in its pro-cannabis attitude. On the same day Coloradoans chose to legalize marijuana, the people of Washington state approved a similar measure. In late July of this year, The New York Times began a series of editorials …show more content…
In this situation, each state should support the recreational use of marijuana on its own unique terms.
I know that statement may be unsettling for some. Opponents of legalization often believe that cannabis use has scores of health issues associated with it, can be a gateway drug to more dangerous substances and can increase crime. This is in addition to the argument of wanting to protect children and make sure they do not get involved with it. Most of these arguments are overblown and largely based in hysteria. Granted, marijuana legalization does have some problems associated with it, but its gains are too great to ignore.
First and foremost, we need to understand the current costs associated with federal marijuana prohibition, which most states abide. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, more than $51 billion is spent annually on cracking down on drug abuse. Over 1.5 million Americans were arrested in 2012 on nonviolent drug charges. Almost 750,000 of those individuals were arrested on a marijuana law violation (88 percent of them were arrested for possession only). Consequences can range from the suspension of one’s driver’s license to life in …show more content…
Some pro-legalizers believe the pot market should be treated similar to that of alcohol, but that results in its own problems. In dealing with selling alcohol, some states only allow stores owned and operated by the government, such as North Carolina’s ABC stores. These establishments have socialized the liquor market by limiting competition, keeping prices relatively high and limiting selection. If marijuana were to be legalized, there would need to be guidelines that ensure markets are kept free in order to increase competition, which would optimize selection and reduce prices.
So, with all of the possible gains states could make on legalizing marijuana on their terms, why do some people want to keep it illegal? One of the opponents of legalization includes the Obama Administration’s Office of Drug Control Policy, which argued that marijuana is an addictive substance and that prolonged marijuana use impairs some regions of the brain for young adults.
Other arguments that have been made over the years include marijuana being a gateway drug to more dangerous substances and that legalization leads to an increase in criminal behavior. Most of these answers are hysterically overblown