It's Time To Legalize Marijuana
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Politics and Activism

It's Time To Legalize Marijuana

There's no reason for weed to be demonized any longer.

It's Time To Legalize Marijuana

Several states across the union are preparing to abolish the prohibition of marijuana. It may not appear to be the most influential law on the books, but its massive impact on the country is felt daily, whether we're actively aware of it or not. Therefore, it's important to understand why we're long overdue to end this ban.

Prohibition has never worked, and it never will.

The alcohol prohibition came to a screeching halt after the rise of the black market and gang activity surrounding the production and consumption of the illicit substance. Al Capone became one of the most notorious mob bosses in the business, using the power of prohibition to fuel his own personal gain.

Alcohol was more dangerous during this time, having a higher risk of being contaminated by some form of byproduct harmful for human consumption. Re-regulating the substance allowed the government to control the quality of the product being sold to the public and eliminate the dangers of the black market.

It hasn't always been illegal, either.

Prior to the 1930's, cannabis was legal for medical consumption nationwide. Only when hemp, cannabis' cousin, proved itself to be a rapidly growing industry did the government take action against it to protect their own special interests.

The idea that their allies in the coal, oil and paper industries would take a hit from hemp's rising popularity sparked the universal ban, roping cannabis in with it.

While hemp can now be imported from other countries for sale in the United States, cannabis still faces a negative stigma after the rebirth of the prohibition in the 1970's with former President Richard Nixon's establishment of the War on Drugs.

Private prison systems in the U.S. now earn more than $51 billion annually off of these outdated provisions.

This means if pot is legalized, mass incarceration will sharply decrease.

46.3% of those currently serving time in U.S. prisons are jailed for drug offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons' most recent report released in May. Of that 46.3%, nearly half were for marijuana charges alone, 88% of which were for simple possession.

And forget about weed being a gateway drug.

In fact, marijuana is safer than both tobacco and alcohol, the two deadliest drugs sold on the market.

Alcohol accounts for more than two million deaths worldwide each year, yet ads promoting it are played regularly on television, glorifying the product when it is far more dangerous than they lead on.

Tobacco and alcohol also have astronomically higher addiction rates than pot. Pot smokers are much less likely to become physically addicted to their drug of choice while regular consumers of alcohol and tobacco frequently see high rates of addiction and abuse.

Tobacco users, in fact, are more more likely to abuse other substances than any other, according to Addiction Center, with 40% of users reporting binge drinking back in 2011. Pot smokers are much less likely to become physically addicted to the substance as well, while cigarettes breed addiction by design.

So it's time to start regulating it like alcohol and tobacco.

States that have already legalized recreational marijuana have imposed multiple taxes on it in order to help fund social services such as schools and other educational programs statewide.

In 2015, Colorado had to reallocate several million dollars in tax revenue after exceeding it's annual income cap with a whopping $53 million collected from the pot tax alone in 2014.

Adding an age restriction to the law prevents youth usage of the product as well, making it far more difficult for them to obtain it. Teens currently find pot to be much easier to come by than alcohol since they aren't being stopped by dealers from providing a valid ID.

If parents really want to protect their children, they would want to legalize it rather than keep it criminalized. Keeping it on the streets simply puts their children at a higher risk for use. Pot use in teens in Colorado has dropped 3% since passing the initiative on the state's 2012 ballot.

There's no reason for weed to be demonized any longer.

There's too much information at our disposal for us to remain oblivious to the truth surrounding such a hot yet controversial topic. Like it or not, there's no justification for its criminalization any longer, so it's time to act for the sake of those currently suffering and spare our future youth from having to ever endure it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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