American comedian and social critic, Bill Hicks, once said, “Why is marijuana against the law—it grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit…unnatural,” as a response to questioning in regards to legalizing Cannabis. Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state passed legislation permitting specified amounts of marijuana for recreational use, there has been uproar from other Americans, debate in Congress as the battle continues to the federal level, and protest by organizations and individuals against cannabis for both medical and recreational use. There are vast reasons as to why the legalization of recreational marijuana would be beneficial to Americans and the economic growth of America.
The growing legalization of marijuana is incredible: 26 states including Washington D.C. have laws legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana in some form—medical or recreational. The result of legalizing medical marijuana has proven to help prevent and manage a vast number of medical issues such as epileptic seizures, glaucoma, ease the pain of cancer patients, and relieves arthritis pain. Marijuana can ease anxiety, increase creativity, comfort those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. Young people, majorly millennials and especially those who use or have used marijuana, stand by its benefits. Some believe it encourages them to complete their academic tasks as it removes the overwhelming stress, boast their ability to handle social interactions, and provides the ability to do daily tasks such as cleaning or simply getting out of bed.
As the millennial generation reached voting age in 2018, it has become obvious that the legalization of recreational cannabis is destined to transpire within the next five to ten years. As the millennial generation continues to vote and be politically active, stigmas regarding marijuana have changed drastically. It is the hope of many legalization-supporters that eventually there will be a regard that even though a medical card is not prescribed, some individuals use marijuana as a “therapy.” Similar to individuals who have a glass of wine or scotch after a long day at work; it’s to unwind and relax after a strenuous day, a self-therapy. The stigmas regarding marijuana usage are no longer equivalent to their older stereotypes: poverty, unemployed, satanic acts, etc.. Especially with the specific attention to mental health in society, marijuana has become a method of self care and ease to the hectic and overwhelming standards held to the millennial generation.
With legalization of recreational marijuana will come safer means of obtaining it and a potential end to the opioid crisis. A licensed establishment will ensure that any purchaser is of legal age, abiding the same rules as tobacco. This increases the benefits of the consumer as they become familiar with what strains of marijuana have specific effects on their bodies, similar to the legal obligation of alcohol companies to put the proof of the drink on the label. As for marijuana being a gateway drug, many studies have proven it to be an “exit” drug of sorts: Dr. Gary Witman of Massachusetts Canna Care clinic, has treated approximately 80 patients who were addicted to opiates, anti-anxiety medication, or muscle relaxers with cannabis through a one-month program thus allowing them to step away from lethal drugs and beginning their journey with cannabis.
There would be economical benefits on the federal level as well: less funding spent on prison costs for drug crime affiliated inmates, prohibition enforcement costs will lessen, and it is the belief of many Americans to cut organizations in order to have tax money for alternative causes yet marijuana would bring in the needed revenue while not cutting any organizations or reducing organizations’ size. The technological economy would also benefit from the legalization of cannabis due to businesses having a higher likelihood to implement more current security cameras, to ensure the safety of their goods, a more updated cash register system to maintain a well updated inventory and more modern cyber security systems in order to keep their records and sales organized. As the cannabis industry grows, the opportunity for employment follows respectfully. In the marijuana industry alone there are approximately 11 types of jobs: the master grower, cultivation supervisor, trimmer, extractor, budtender dispensary agent, cannabis chef, dispensary agent, lab workers, sale associates, security, and delivery drivers. This increase in jobs would not only boost the economy but lower unemployment rates in the states.
Though the debate continues to develop there is no doubts with decriminalization will come legalization, hopefully at the federal level in the near future. To limit citizens use of plant substance is to essentially limit their embrace of natural goods the earth offers. Snoop Dogg once said, “If the government would just legalize marijuana, the crime rate would go down. People would just wanna chill.” With the legalization of recreational and/or medicinal marijuana, the growth of the United States as a whole could be immense — all we’d have to do is roll it, smoke it, legalize it.