“A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly fifteen hundred pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response… In strict medical terms, marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume.
For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. ” – DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young Opponents of legalization often ask why marijuana should be legalized.The real question is: Why should marijuana not be legal? Legalizing marijuana would benefit Americans because it is safer than alcohol; it would bolster the economy; and marijuana has been proven to have many beneficial medicinal qualities. Marijuana should be legalized in the United States. The main reason that marijuana should be legalized is that it is far less dangerous than alcohol.
The government has the responsibility to regulate substances that cause significant harm to the public health.In 2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that excessive alcohol consumption was associated with approximately 75,000 deaths per year. Additionally, the CDC cited alcohol as a factor in approximately 41% of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes, while marijuana was held responsible for no motor vehicle crash related deaths (CDC 1). In an opinion handed down by Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, he states, “nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance.There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality” (Young 56).
Marijuana is not nearly as great a risk to public health as alcohol. Another reason that marijuana should be legalized is that its production and sale would boost the economy. Newsweek magazine estimates that the annual expenditure on marijuana in the United States may reach upward of $100 billion per year (Easton 1).
Imagine the potential revenue from the sale of legal marijuana.An article in CNN Money magazine relates the work of Harvard University economics professor Jeffrey Miron, who estimated that “the government would save $7. 7 billion a year if it didn’t have to spend money policing and prosecuting marijuana activity. Then, if the feds taxed marijuana at a rate comparable to cigarettes and booze, another $6. 2 billion would come rolling in” (Wastler 1).
These funds would enable federal and state governments to reduce budget deficits and increase economic stimulus spending.The final reason that marijuana should be legalized is because it has many beneficial medicinal qualities. Many organizations are testing medical marijuana use in the clinical setting. The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California, Berkeley states that, “by facilitating high caliber clinical trials, whose results are published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, the CMCR is providing physicians and policy makers with solid scientific data to inform both medical research and policy decisions” (Grant 16).Organizations such as CMCR have proven that the active ingredient in marijuana is effective in the treatment of patients with a variety of medical conditions including: chronic pain, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Glaucoma, Anorexia, arthritis, and seizure disorders (Grant 16). The legalization of marijuana would benefit millions of Americans suffering from pain and disease. A strong movement for the legalization of marijuana has been building in the United States.
Many other countries and some U. S. states have already legalized marijuana and an increasing number are likely follow suit. As times change, it is the responsibility of government to adapt in order to best serve its citizens. When considering the social, financial, and medical benefits that marijuana has to offer, it is easy to see that it is high time for legalization in the United States.
Works CitedCenter for Disease Control. Alcohol and Drug Abuse” CDC. 9 April 2010 Easton, Stephen “Legalize Marijuana for Tax Revenue” Newsweek. com. Frazier Institute.
9 April 2010 Grant, Igor M. D. “Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. ” UC San Diego, Health Science.
11 February 2010. N. P.
9 April 2010 Wastler, Allen. “High Court’s Pot Mistake. ” CNN. com. 7 June 2005.
N. P. 9 April 2010 Young, Francis. “Marijuana Rescheduling Petition” DEA. 6 September 1988. N.
P. 9 April 2010