On January 4, 2018, a few days after marijuana became legal in California, Jeff Sessions. Attorney General of the United States, announced that the Trump Administration. Was rescinding the Obama-era policy of non-interference with State marijuana laws. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Schedule 1 drugs, by definition, have: “…a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” Ironically, marijuana has yet to be proven deadly or addictive, has shown to be an extremely beneficial medical treatment, and its role in being a ‘gateway drug’ is proven to be minor. Drugs should be classified based purely upon science, and the Schedule 1 classification of marijuana significantly impairs the ability to do further research to better classify it. It is important for the U.S. Congress to pass and propose a law that nationally makes marijuana legal, being that it is by far the most beneficial and benign of the declared illegal substances.
Marijuana is scientifically known to contain chemicals of medical value; therefore. The legalization of the drug can encourage. The utilization of its natural ingredients as medicinal treatments. A list of ailments in which compounds of marijuana can be of help includes epilepsy. Multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy for cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, depression, and chronic migraines (Medical, 2018). There are over sixty known chemical ingredients in weed. Which have medical significance, each being considerably easy to extract and input into many forms of medication. One chemical found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is known for having an extremely beneficial medical importance. A 2010 study done by University of California’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research found that THC, if inhaled, is equally, if not more effective, in controlling neuropathic pain than other drugs (Medical, 2018). Neuropathic pain alleviation eluded the medical community so this breakthrough was widely regarded considered monumental (Medical, 2018). Another chemical compound of marijuana, cannabidiol (CBD), is not only useful in helping people who struggle with sleep issues, but more importantly shows promise for helping to control the pain and muscle spasms that are associated with epileptic seizures, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries or diseases (Medical, 2018). Another main ingredient in marijuana, Marinol, is typically prescribed as a treatment for nausea and vomiting that is associated with chemotherapy and weight and appetite loss in HIV/AIDS patients (Medical, 2018). It has been shown to increase appetite and control nausea that can result from HIV or AIDS and cancer due to treatments like chemotherapy. Medical marijuana, though strictly prohibited federally, has already shown to have immense success as multiple forms of treatment. The legalization of marijuana, by increasing research and its amount of patients, could be an enormous enhancement within the healthcare industry.
By relieving the police force and other agencies of the U.S. government. That deal with marijuana investigations and arrests of their duties. And in turn taxing and profiting off of it, the legalization of marijuana can tremendously help save money within the government. Replacing prohibition of the drug. With a system of regulation has the potential to help solve the existing economic crisis we Americans are undergoing. Economically speaking, millions of dollars being spent on marijuana law enforcement each year could be saved (Legalization, 2018). State and local enforcement marijuana laws annually cost the average U.S. taxpayer about $7.6 billion in total, costing around $10,400 per arrest. Legal regulation of the drug could also save about $7.7 billion in government spending for prohibition enforcement, approximately $2.4 billion on a federal level and $5.3 billion on a state level (Legalization, 2018). The U.S. government also has the opportunity of taxing marijuana once it hits the market, thus creating more revenue. The sale and the distribution of marijuana could generate billions more in tax revenues for all levels of government (Legalization, 2018). Depending on if it is taxed as an ordinary consumer good or as a substance like alcohol or tobacco, revenue would range from approximately $2.4-6.2 billion. The legalization of marijuana could also aid in solving America’s unemployment issue by creating thousands of jobs in both the retail and agricultural markets (Legalization, 2018). For example, Colorado, a state where marijuana has been legal both recreationally and medically since 2012, was able to create over 3,500 jobs within its first year of legality, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (Jonsson, 2014). In addition, the average weekly wage of a marijuana industry worker is $555 (Jonsson, 2014). By legalizing, regulating, and selling the drug. The government has the opportunity to earn back over 100% of the money lost by marijuana arrests and investigations. Therefore, legal marijuana can enhance the growth of our economy.
Perhaps the most controversial and pressing matter causing support for legalization would be decriminalization. Most advocates for the legalization of marijuana believe that the country’s criminal justice system is being hindered by the prosecution of marijuana offenders. Approximately 5 million U.S. citizens have been incarcerated for marijuana, possession or dealing, since 1992. That’s more people than the entire populations of Wyoming, Alaska. Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Vermont combined (Marijuana, 2013). According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2011 alone. An individual in the U.S. was arrested for marijuana use, sale, or possession every 42 seconds, predominantly in poor and minority communities. In Colorado, this equated to more than 750,000 Americans being prosecuted for weed-related offenses (Colorado, 2017). Within the call for decriminalization is the argument against the absurd. And unjust prosecution that marijuana offenders face. About 90 percent of marijuana arrests are for possession, a crime that in usual cases is considered a misdemeanor. But even a misdemeanor prosecution can easily lead to the suspension of a driver’s license, loss of a job, and jail time (Schlosser, 2004). A 2005 study showed that marijuana accounted for close to half of all drug arrests made in the U.S.. costing annually $4 billion at that time (Legalization, 2018). Alarmingly, according to the FBI, “police arrest more Americans per year on marijuana charges than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault” (Marijuana, 2013). While supporters of criminalization base their argument on the belief that our current marijuana policy eases America’s social problems, it is evident that this policy only worsens the problems that they are intended to resolve. The criminalization of marijuana offenders infringes on their rights as American citizens. Those convicted of a marijuana felony, even if they are disabled. Can be prohibited from receiving federal welfare payments or food stamps (Schlosser, 2004). The framework of the U.S. marijuana policies is partly to blame for disorganization in our criminal justice system and the unjust trials faced by those prosecuted under these policies.
Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, there is no evidence explicitly associating the effects of the drug to the definition of a Schedule 1 controlled substance, therefore there is no reason for its national prohibition. In conclusion, the illegal status of marijuana in the U.S. has proven to be unwarranted and the national legalization of it, recreationally and medicinally, would be extremely beneficial in terms of criminal justice, economy, and medicine.
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