As more research emerges, it is becoming more apparent that it is time to evaluate, deliberate, and establish legal marijuana and regulations across the country. Legalizing marijuana for medicinal use is a positive decision because studies show that marijuana can treat conditions such as Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, PTSD, cancer, and the side effects of chemotherapy. Legalizing marijuana can also help reduce Black Market sales which causes a decrease in gang-related violence by allowing buyers to obtain safe, quality marijuana from reputable sources. These reputable sources are regulated and taxed which then benefits the cities and states where it is sold. Marijuana should be legal because of the medical benefits, reduction in crime, and the benefits of increased tax revenue.
Marijuana should be legalized because research shows that it has many medical benefits. Marijuana can treat conditions and diseases such as Crohn’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Cancer, side effects from chemotherapy, and many more (Franciosi, 2017). Compounds from the plant are beneficial to patients “both as a curative and in mitigation of a range of symptoms” (Ernst, 2016, p.6). Thanks to research and development of new medicines, marijuana is helping more patients treat a wide array of conditions and symptoms. As of 2016, there were 10 cannabis-based pharmaceutical products in various stages of development with the most prominent being Sativex, an oral spray used to treat neuropathic pain and spasticity in patients with MS, and Marinol, FDA approved as an appetite stimulant (Ernst, 2016, p.6). Allowing more research to happen is the key to learning all the benefits of marijuana and to convince more citizens and professionals that marijuana is beneficial. In addition to the medical benefits of marijuana, there is evidence that legalizing marijuana can reduce violent crime.
Research is demonstrating that legal marijuana has a positive impact on reducing violent crime. Crime rates in Denver, Colorado showed a dramatic decrease in crime when comparing 2013 to 2014’s violent crime statistics. “After the legalization and regulation of the cultivating, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for adults age 21 and over, there have been some significant decrease in violence rates in the area” (Gruia, 2017, p.368). Gruia (2017) shows a chart that provides the following information regarding decreasing crime rates within the city and county of Denver from 2013 to 2014:
Homicides in 2013: 41 and in 2014: 31 = a decrease of 24.4%
Rape in 2013: 444 and in 2014: 433 = a decrease of 2.5%
Robbery in 2013: 1133 and in 2014: 1096 = a decrease of 3.3%
Overall, the average of violent crimes was reduced by 7.25% and property related crimes were reduced by approximately 1.2% in Denver from 2013 to 2014 (Gruia, 2017, p.371). Not only does legal marijuana have medical benefits and reduce crime, it also increases governmental income.
The increased tax revenue generated by marijuana sales benefits public schools, substance abuse programs, law enforcement, and much more (Hudak, 2015, p.686). The sale of marijuana has created a self-funded agency that uses excess funds to ensure that other groups benefit, and this helps maintain public support. The excess tax revenue supports the MED (Marijuana Enforcement Division) and provides funding for policy areas such as education, prevention, and public safety (Hudak, 2015, p.662). The taxation of retail marijuana is as follows:
- 2.9% Sales Tax
- 15% Excise Tax
- 10% Special Tax
This is a total of 27.9% tax revenue on every sale of retail marijuana and the money is distributed to help the community grow and prosper. The regulations that have been established require specific distribution of revenue as seen in the following examples found in Hudak’s (2015) article: the first $40 million of the 15% excise tax is used for public school construction and 15% of the Special 10% Tax goes to local governments with dispensaries in their jurisdictions. The benefits of legalizing marijuana include medical advancements, reduction in violent crimes, and an increase in governmental income.
Despite the facts, some would argue that marijuana decreases or negatively impacts mental health and that marijuana is addictive. However, many veterans with PTSD are being treated with opiate drugs that lead to addiction, overdose, and suicide (Titus, 2016, p.45). Veterans have found marijuana more beneficial in helping with the nightmares, flashbacks, depression, and pain (Titus, 2016, p.45). Scientists are still arguing about the addictive nature of marijuana but many points such as anxiety from withdrawal and a growing dependency can also be said about nicotine products, which are legal (Franciosi, 2017). The same may be said for alcohol also. More research is needed to determine if marijuana is addictive and to what extent.
Marijuana should be legalized because it would benefit all citizens whether it be from cannabis-related medical treatment, a decrease in violence in their neighborhood, or the growth of the community allowed by the increase in tax revenue. Studies continue to show new ways that marijuana can help patients mange the symptoms of various diseases and conditions. Denver, Colorado has shown that legalizing marijuana can decrease violence. With proper regulation, the revenue generated through the taxation of marijuana can create a better quality of life for citizens across the country. Allowing more research to happen is the key to discovering all the benefits of marijuana and to convince citizens and professionals that marijuana is beneficial. “Federal acceptance will free up research money, open the door for more states to relax the statues and encourage those on the sidelines to step into the fray” (Ernst, 2016, p.6).
Ernst, S. (2016). Editor’s Page. All Abuzz. American Laboratory, 48(4), 6. Retrieved on February 25, 2018.
Franciosi, A. (2017, September 18). 12 pros & cons of marijuana legalization. Retrieved on March 4, 2018, from https://honestamrijuana.com/legalization-of-cananbis-pros-and-cons/amp/
Gruia, G. (2017). Regulation of the cultivation, manufacture and sale of marijuana as a solution to decrease violent crimes and increase governmental incomes. Contemporary Readings in Law & Social Justice, 9(2), 366-372. Retrieved on February 25, 2018.
Hudak, J. (2015).Colorado’s rollout of legal marijuana is succeeding: A report on the state’s implementation of legalization. Case Western Reserve Law Review, 65(3), 649-687. Retrieved on February 25, 2018.
Titus, R. D. (2016). Puff, puff, pass… that law: the changing legislative environment of medical marijuana policy. Harvard Journal Of Legislation, 53(1), 39-58. Retrieved on March 4, 2018.
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© 2018 Misty Bishop