Factors for Legalization
After researching the issue, it is possible to make a conclusion that marijuana should be legalized based on the following factors:
It is not addictive
Several studies on the effects of marijuana have shown that it is not addictive and does not cause the same destructive behavior as cocaine, LSD or other illegal substances do (Gies and Grant 37). In fact, marijuana acts more like a sedative wherein a person seems far calmer and less likely to engage in destructive behavior.
It used to be the case that possession of marijuana would result in a 10 to 12 year jail sentence if a person was caught by the police. Considering the fact that marijuana is neither addictive nor causes a person to enter into a delirious and mentally destructive state, this means that these individuals were basically arrested over a very petty crime yet were sentenced harshly (Knapp 133). By legalizing marijuana, instances where someone is jailed over possession will no longer carry the same amount of jail time that they used to. This will help to reduce the overall prison population within the country and save money since the government spends $35,000 per year on each incarcerated prisoner (Mallon 27).
Better Allocation of Police Resources
If marijuana is legalized, the police can allocate its resources towards combating more socially destructive substances like cocaine, LSD or heroin. Besides, making marijuana legal can actually be useful in order to curb the income of various local and international drug syndicates and, thereby, it can help in the current war against illegal substances.
Legalization in all 50 States
When taking into consideration the current trend of marijuana legalization across the country, all 50 states should definitely be legalizing it. It has been shown in the states that have legalized marijuana that making it legal has not resulted in a societal apocalypse (Bundy and O’Brien 35). The sale of marijuana now brings income back into the state and its medical usage has been proven to have positive effects.
Federal Law and State Decision
States have always been allowed a considerable amount of leeway when it comes to the implementation of their own laws and policies. While federal law “could” declare marijuana as being legal, it would still be up to the individual states whether to follow the implemented policies or not.
Increase in Crime in Colorado and Seattle
It is unlikely that the increase in crime in Colorado and Seattle is attributable to the legalization of marijuana. First and foremost is the fact that people with the proper permits are no longer arrested for possession of marijuana as it is no longer classified as an illegal substance in states where it has been legalized (Kamin 429). While marijuana is considered as a controlled substance, possession is no longer deemed as a serious crime as compared to what occurred in the past (Wells 85). As such, arrests in relation to marijuana possession should have gone down or even outright disappeared based on the new legislation that was enacted. It is likely that the increase in the number of crimes is purely coincidental or a reaction by some criminal syndicates wherein they are attempting other forms of crime in order to make up for a decline in their sales of marijuana.
Based on everything that has been presented so far, it can be seen that the legalization of marijuana can bring multiple positive effects that can benefit the U.S. immensely.
Bundy, Thomas R., and Sean P. O’Brien. “4 Burning Questions About Medical Marijuana.” Claims 63.7 (2015): 35. Print.
Gies, Thomas P., and Glenn D. Grant. “Legalization Of Marijuana: What It Means For Employer Drug Testing.” Employee Relations Law Journal 41.1 (2015): 35-46. Print.
Kamin, Sam. “The Battle Of The Bulge: The Surprising Last Stand Against State Marijuana Legalization.” Publius: The Journal Of Federalism 45.3 (2015): 427- 451. Print.
Knapp, Vance O. “How Will The Legalization Of Marijuana Affect Employers?” Alaska Business Monthly 30.10 (2014): 131. Print.
Mallon, Bart. “Post-Marijuana Legalization Investment Issues And Risks For Investors In Marijuana Industry.” Investment Lawyer 22.1 (2015): 25. Print.
Wells, Brenda. “Marijuana Legalization: Implications For Property/Casualty Insurance.” Journal Of Insurance Issues 37.1 (2014): 77-92. Print.