10 Reasons to Legalise Marijuana

The debate to legalise cannabis is not a new one. It has been raging on for decades, with the same arguments in support or against it seemingly being repeated indefinitely. Crucially, however, the argument has taken on a new significance in light of the recent legalisation in certain US states. With both medicinal and recreational marijuana use legalised in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and now California, critics of legalising the plant have had to contend with a growing body of evidence that suggests it may not be as destructive as presumed. On the contrary, the experience of these states seems to support the idea that marijuana legalisation may actually provide a net positive.

This is not to say that legalised marijuana would be without a strict national framework in place that ensures a safe high-quality product. There would also naturally be extensive measures taken to prevent the substance being used by those under 18 or 21. With this in mind, it is worth reflecting on the lessons learned in recent years by the US and other countries that highlight the benefits of legalising marijuana.

1. Marijuana is a natural and effective medical remedy

The medical benefits of cannabis have already been extensively documented and accepted as professionally valid.

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Whilst further research is still needed it is generally understood that the plant provides a natural and reliable remedy for a broad range of medical issues. Cannabis can treat physical conditions such as migraines, chronic pain, nausea and muscle soreness, as well as more mentally based troubles that include insomnia, depression and anxiety. Different strains may be better suited to certain conditions, however, and the patient can determine for themselves which prove the most effective.

2. Less Dependence on Pharmaceutical Products

While the US has a very different healthcare system and pharmaceutical industry to most countries, the fact remains that across the developed world a steady diet of pills and tablets is fed to those suffering with medical problems. These so-called medicines are composed of synthetic components and chemicals that, due to their fairly recent introduction to the human body, cannot be said to be fully understood. Marijuana offers a completely natural and effective alternative to this, cutting out much of the artificial component of treatment and replacing it with a remedy that the patient can grow themselves. This in turn would lessen the burden on resources that the health services often experience.

3. Reduce Criminality

It goes without saying that legalising something will lessen crime rates for the simple reason that occurrences of that act are simply no longer counted. Yet importantly, the legalisation of cannabis would mean that police resources could be spent on more serious matters and lead to a safer society. Few would disagree that time assigned to chasing marijuana dealers could be better spent pursuing the pushers of harder and more dangerous drugs that have been responsible for the destruction of whole communities.

 

4. Deprives the Black Market of Money

If cannabis is being purchased legitimately from approved sources then this is a serious blow to the coffers of criminal organisations that peddle marijuana.

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Cannabis currently constitutes a huge portion of the funds that find their way into the hands of the criminal world, meaning legalisation would deprive the black market of much of its income. So powerful is this effect that Mexican cartels operating in US states with legalised marijuana report a 75% decrease in cannabis profits.

 

 5. Taxation Benefits

Should legalisation occur then any money presently earmarked for the pockets of cannabis-dealing criminals shall instead go towards legitimate goods obtained from tax paying businesses. Some may wonder what benefits there may be from taxing just one product in a whole market of illicit substances. Estimates claim, however, that that taxation of legalised marijuana could raise an extra £500m to £1bn per year, all of which could be heading towards hospitals, schools and other critical public services.

6. Relieves the Burden on Prisons and the Criminal Justice System

When a group stops being categorised as criminals their number are taken out of the legal system. At a time when many courts are swamped with a backlog of cases it would be a relief to the Criminal Justice System if it no longer had to deal with petty cannabis cases. Prisons would likewise cut out their cannabis-related intake, meaning more resources would be freed and costs to the public reduced.

7. Legalisation Would Create Jobs

Taking such a course of action would mean that legitimate and regulated cannabis businesses would spring up. These businesses would need employees, and who better to work a role that requires an understanding of the plant and its properties than someone who previously illicitly grew or sold marijuana themselves. Whether businesses would be willing to employ individuals in these circumstances would need to be seen, but if so it would provide an easy transition into normal society for ex-dealers when it may otherwise be difficult to do so.

8. Marijuana Would Partially Replace Alcohol

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It is generally recognised that society would benefit from a reduction in alcohol consumption. Alcohol is notorious for making people aggressive, impairing judgement, and putting individuals in dangerous situations.

Conversely, cannabis is known for its sedating effects that are almost never associated with violence. The US has shown that in states where recreational cannabis use is legal, alcohol sales have dropped up to 50%. Even if to legalise marijuana would mean alcohol sales were reduced by only 10%, the savings experienced by the emergency services would be significant.

 

 

9. Marijuana Could Partially Replace Smoking

This is a more contested point but it is possible that, should you legalise it, smoking marijuana would replace smoking tobacco for some individuals. Marijuana does not contain nicotine, which is the addictive component within cigarettes, but it does have a similar relaxing effect and may satisfy those urges for the smoker to place something to the lips. Those wishing to minimise their high in the process could select a lower-THC strain too.

10. To Legalise Marijuana Would Make People Happy

To legalise the plant would mean that millions of people have access to a natural medicine that can calm the nerves, relax your body, ease your mind, give you patience and help you sleep. Marijuana can be enjoyed as part of a healthy happy lifestyle, with moderate consumption proving to be both safe and beneficial to quality of life for many. Therefore, despite all the rhetoric around increasing tax revenue and reducing crime rates, perhaps it is simply the harmless pleasure marijuana brings that speaks the loudest for its decriminalisation.

 

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