The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana by Cassie K

The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
The support of legalizing marijuana has risen to 57% of U.S. adults, according to Abigail Geiger of the Pew Research Center October 2016. And, 29 states have already legalized the medical use of marijuana, while nine states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, according to Karmen Garcia of the National Conference of State Legislature in April 2017. With this in mind, the legalization of marijuana across the US could be in the near future. The legalization of recreational marijuana could bring a huge change across the US. For example, America’s federal deficit could be alleviated by legalizing recreational marijuana because of the increased revenue to the states, in addition to increasing jobs thus decreasing unemployment, and decrease incarceration.
Also, near half of all people in federal prison are in for a drug related charge as reported by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in March 2017, thus legalizing marijuana would also reduce incarceration rates. Additionally, it would reduce the unemployment rate because people wouldn’t have a criminal record when applying for a job. And lastly, legalizing marijuana would keep people from fearing a mandatory drug test when applying for a job.
Furthermore, every citizen of America should care about this issue because it can affect a family member or friend. Criminalizing marijuana keeps people from getting jobs, it makes people lose jobs, and it can put them and their family members in jail or prison. Prison costs money to tax payers and families. The criminalization of marijuana is not justified, and punishment for marijuana use is too severe. Recreational marijuana should be legalized on the federal level to increase revenue, decrease federal deficit, decrease incarceration, and decrease unemployment.
Moreover, considering Colorado made over a billion dollars within a year from recreational marijuana sales, this suggests that if recreational marijuana was legalized across all states, it could reduce the federal deficit when all states would have increased revenue going to education and other helpful programs instead of incarceration. Without the expense of incarceration, the federal government would also save billions of dollars annually if it were to legalize marijuana from not having to enforce the current prohibitions against the drug. For instance, the average cost of incarcerating one Federal inmate was $31,977.65 which equates to $87.61 per day, according to Charles Samuels of The Federal Register in March 2015. Because tax payers are paying for the incarceration of other citizens, this will save tax dollars when recreational marijuana is legalized. By legalizing recreational marijuana, the incarceration rate would decrease when considering half of incarcerated citizens are in federal prison for a drug related charge.
Likewise, incarceration affects the unemployment rate, which would also drop even further. The legalization of marijuana could then decrease unemployment when marijuana possession could be expunged from people’s records, allowing them to pass a background check. Consequently, companies can fire employees for legally using marijuana, even if the person wasn’t at work when using it. If marijuana was legal on a federal level, drug tests wouldn’t cause people to lose jobs, or prevent them from getting jobs when applying.
Although drug testing does not measure performance, companies are still allowed to drug test applicants. But because marijuana stays in your body two to three times longer than all common drugs, drug testing is discriminatory towards marijuana users exclusively. If marijuana is legalized there will be less of an incentive to drug test, therefore this would save companies money when they stop using them. Then, this would decrease unemployment when people won’t have to fear a mandatory drug test when applying for a job.
Furthermore, regulating recreational marijuana, like tobacco and alcohol, should be enforced. For example, the age restriction in Colorado to purchase marijuana is 21 and older. Like any other drug tested by the FDA, funding for studying marijuana would be allowed. And, because a medical doctor could prescribe marijuana, then the doctor can supervise a patient and prescribe the safe amounts to be sold at a time for that patient. Legal marijuana could also lead to scientists to further medical advancements. With regulations of the sell of marijuana, taxes would be similar to tobacco and alcohol, and those dollars would go back to the state.
Ultimately, legalizing marijuana with regulations will help aid further research and medicine. As mentioned, with regulations, marijuana can be properly assessed and tailored for specific patients with different ailments with the supervision of a medical doctor. Medical marijuana is defined as marijuana that is recommended by a doctor for treatment of a medical condition. Marijuana could come from dispensaries that specialize in growing, producing, and distributing medical marijuana. Marijuana, if produced in environments directly specified to be used as medicine, can then be tailored to specific medical patients. Depending on what the health condition would then depend on the different ways that marijuana can be consumed.
For instance, marijuana can be consumed in different ways. For example, Hemp oil is oil that is pressed out of the marijuana plant, containing CBD. CBD, or Cannabidiol, is one of the two active ingredients in marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. Instead, CBD only effects the body to calm patients with seizures, or other neurological conditions. This makes it perfect for children and elderly people who have similar diseases but can’t smoke the plant. By using CBD cannabis seizures, epileptic episodes, and tremors are eradicated in minutes. Compare this to the amount of time it takes for normal pharmaceuticals to do the same and you will see that Hemp oil can take as little as 20 minutes to an hour as for normal pharmaceuticals take at least 30 minutes to work and sometimes could not work at all.
One of the side effects of marijuana is the infamous “munchies”, which could help cancer patients that have lost their appetite. Additionally, marijuana could encourage anorexia patients to eat when their anxiety of eating has been alleviated. For patients with asthma or COPD, edibles baked with marijuana are a great alternative instead of smoking. Edibles are food that has marijuana baked into it. Edibles can contain either CBD or THC depending on the strain of marijuana they use in baking. Like the other methods, edibles are also made in dispensaries or sometimes special bakeries then shipped to dispensaries for distribution. Edibles do the same thing for you as any other way but they taste better. 
            Unlike other drugs, marijuana has been harvested from a plant without any processing or using any methods to refine the drug (unless to make oils.) Users could grow a couple of marijuana plants in their house and harvest marijuana that was grown organically, safely, and without spending much money. Legalizing recreational marijuana would encourage people to grow their own plants like growing their own vegetables. But this would not take away from marijuana profits and sells, because not everyone would want to grow their own plants. Marijuana can be grown without any sophisticated operation, but people will still want and need marijuana from those dispensaries. Many people that smoke cigarettes don’t grow their own tobacco when they could. For most people, it’s just easier to buy the product rather than grow it.
When considering that most people believe marijuana should be legal, and more than half of the states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, the only people holding these advancements back is the politicians. With that in mind, citizens can help legalize recreational marijuana by writing to their state congress people and requesting action to be taken. Provide these examples listed within this essay to the letters and entice congress people by saying that recreational marijuana will increase revenue, in addition to creating jobs in regions where jobs are going overseas for cheap labor. Thus, legalizing recreational marijuana has the potential to decrease the federal deficit, decrease unemployment, and decrease incarceration. The significance of this is to keep people out of prison, which is costly to tax payers also, and keeping innocent people out prison helps them from being discriminated against when applying for a job.

 “Federal Bureau of Prisons.” BOP Statistics: Inmate Offenses, 25 Mar. 2017, Accessed 2 May 2017.
Garcia, Karmen Hanson Alise. “State Medical Marijuana Laws.” National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 Apr. 2017, Accessed 2 May 2017.
Geiger, Abigail. “Support for Marijuana Legalization Continues to Rise.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 12 Oct. 2016, Accessed 2 May 2017.
Samuels, Charles. “Annual Determination of Average Cost of Incarceration.” Federal Register, 9 Mar. 2015, Accessed 3 May 2017.

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