The legalization of marijuana is a phenomenon that’s occurring in the main democracies, whether for medical, therapeutic or even recreational use. As of 2018, in California, the United States, marijuana is already legally produced and marketed for recreational use, which probably was simply unimaginable ten or twenty years ago.
And not only that – many European countries like Denmark, The Czech Republic, Germany, Finland and many more also legalized the use of cannabis. Of course, the number of states where it’s still prohibited by law is rather bigger than the range of the ones where it’s allowed. The story’s about to be told, however, it’s foreseeable that in the coming years the social, economic and public health impact of this decision will be evaluated, so any debate on this matter should take place from these dimensions.
At present, it seems that it’s actually quite difficult to imagine a reasonable argument that favors keeping marijuana illegal. There are so many voices that, from different trenches, denounce the urgency of adopting regulated legalization as part of a new strategy. Many existing negative thoughts on this prove that this isn’t a unanimous opinion. However, it’s considered a way to deal with drug trafficking and neutralize the multiple consequences of this phenomenon.
So, what’s right, you would ask? Well, let’s take a look at a couple of firm reasons why we think cannabis should finally be permitted everywhere.
It Would Reduce Crime
Any type of prohibition of a substance, to which there’s a demand, triggers the emergence of criminal groups that’ll respond to it regardless of the costs of the activity. That’s a fact. And – let’s just be honest – the number of such cases increases with each passing day.
Basically it’s an essential dynamic of economic systems. Wherever there’s a demand, a mechanism will be developed to satisfy it – that’s the easiest way. By regularizing the marijuana market and regulating it according to criteria similar to those used for alcohol, these criminal groups are automatically neutralized. They’re deprived of their market and therefore of the income that allows them to operate.
The process of legalizing cannabis would also protect users, who often risk law problems. It would also definitely take away much of the profits from organized crime groups that derive power from the money they make in the black market.
Just to get things straight – taxpayers’ costs of prosecuting and imprisoning nonviolent offenders are big. Recreational substances are charged in all countries with special rates, which allows a direct stream of money to state funds. All that money could be used by citizens to prevent and educate on the dangers of using heavy opiates, as well as alcohol and cigarettes. Much more useful, wouldn’t we agree on that? And even more important, the need for much more dangerous substitutions such as synthetic cannabis would decrease or disappear.
It’s a Medicine
The criminalization of marijuana is also easily questionable in the area of social health. Especially if we take into account that it’s scientifically proven that this, like many other plants, has medicinal properties that can be very useful for the treatment of different diseases. This might be achieved either by resorting to the plant itself in its natural state or as an active component of industrially manufactured medicines.
Beyond THC, another active substance in marijuana is cannabidiol, which works as anti-inflammatory medicine, immuno-modulator and neuroprotector. And, among other therapeutic applications that can be granted to the said asset, it has recently been discovered that cannabinoids are capable of destroying cancer cells.
Recently, some entities in the United States have adopted the authorization of medical marijuana – popularly accepted as an auxiliary substance for cancer patients. In addition, dozens of ethnic groups have historically turned to cannabis as a medicinal resource with proven results. Needless to say, the fact that marijuana is illegal hinders its use as a healing substance.
Not only has it been proven that both short-term and long-term use causes fewer problems than the consumption of popular opiates such as alcohol. Researchers have also identified the positive effects of using cannabis or its derivatives in treating symptoms of many medical conditions. These include epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and certain types of cancer, but also depression, arthritis, rheumatism and glaucoma.
Putting cannabis in legal flows wouldn’t only facilitate further testing. It would also give access to those who need it as the only possible remedy in order to help them have a normal life.
It Would Give Freedom to People
The criminalization of marijuana threatens the sense of freedom that inspires one of the fundamental rights of the human being. It’s true that in every state the prohibition of specific acts or activities is indispensable, presumably using the respect for the common welfare and rights of the other as a criterion. However, prohibitions such as this one end up undermining the right and ability of a person to make decisions that, in his opinion, suit him best.
It’s worth remembering that the use of cannabis dates back thousands of years. But there’s more beyond a recreational activity that has been strategically demonized by the media and the authorities. There are many people who see a catalyst for various purposes in this plant, and for some of them, it’s even a spiritual development or artistic inspiration. There’s even a clothesline by HighLyfe USA inspired by positive and witty thoughts about cannabis use.
It’s been proven that offering a social group the possibility of discerning their own integrity favorably stimulates the sense of self-responsibility among their individuals. It strengthens a commitment to themselves and to the rest of the group. In fact, this is one of the premises taken into account by the education system in above-mentioned Finland, considered the most effective in the world according to the OECD index.
It’s General Use Would be Safer
As previous experiences in places that have changed their cannabis policies have shown, removing this substance from the black market has had many advantages. Especially a positive effect on reducing the number of users of other illegal substances. It has also shown numerous benefits to the police and prosecution, removing a large number of nonviolent offenders.
Having this in mind, we could say that this also contributes to a better relationship between citizens and the force of law and order. This happens due to increased confidence in the police that concentrates on maintaining law and order and less on the personal choices of individuals. With the legal market, there also comes increased security and quality control. And this leads not only to the potential reduction of users at risk but also to the safer and more responsible consumption of those who choose to do so.
A Whole New Industry Could be Created
The legal marijuana industry is rather lucrative and can create jobs and wealth that benefit individuals and the local economy. And we are not talking about small sums.
Did you know that Colorado, for example, the local cannabis sector can be valued in six, or seven-digit sums? In fact, the creation of a marijuana industry here has been so successful that it’s ranked number one in growth, compared to the rest of the United States.
And as for jobs, not only those who work directly with the cannabis benefit from this. It’s true that thousands of people would be able to work directly in this industry, such as growers, laboratory personnel, dependents, etc.
This is great – but it doesn’t end there. The other industries will also benefit – transportation, accounting, marketing, equipment suppliers and even lawyers. Basically, there aren’t many industries that don’t actually benefit in one way or another. However, for this industry to prosper, it must be legal and regulated. Otherwise, it could end up like in Amsterdam, for example – the black market is still thriving there, denying many of the benefits of a legal cannabis industry.
Legalizing cannabis for its benefits is becoming an increasingly acceptable and attractive option for many. The sooner all remaining states join the trend, the sooner everyone would be able to see the positive effects and build a more sensible and rational attitude towards this miraculous plant used for thousands of years in almost all cultures.