Education

Getting High off Talking Points: The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Weed

posted by Chris Valentine

As state and federal legislation begins to loosen their stance on marijuana, the debate wages on of the pros and cons of legalizing weed.

The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of discussion for decades. At this point, only nine states consider marijuana to be fully illegal. All other states have either legalized, decriminalized, or allowed marijuana to be used medicinally.

At the same time, the federal government still considers it to be illegal.

There are solid arguments both for and against the legalization of weed. We’re going to explore those ideas in this article, looking at some of the primary pros and cons of legalizing weed.

The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Weed

Before we get started, we should mention that more than half of all Americans claim to have tried marijuana. It’s something with a lot of popular support, and the trend seems to be that people are coming around to it.

The cannabis industry, though, is extremely complex. There are numerous financial, societal, and individual factors to consider when thinking of legalizing any particular drug, especially marijuana.

Let’s take a look at some of the reason to legalize.

Pros

We’ll do our best to have the most objective take on this issue possible. Voices of dissent for marijuana are growing quieter, meaning most people are only familiar with the reasons for legalization.

The following are some of the most pertinent reasons that people are in favor of making weed legal:

1. It Has Valid Medical Benefits

Recreational use aside, cannabis as proven to be effective in treating a number of illnesses.

Weed has been known to relieve people’s chronic nausea, muscle spasticity, loss of appetite associated with terminal illnesses, chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and more.  There’s also some evidence to show that marijuana can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

On top of all of this, marijuana is far safer than most of the prescription medication that people use to treat things like chronic pain and mental illness.

2. Too Many People Are Locked Up

In a country where some states allow the recreational use of marijuana, many people feel that locking human beings in prison for the possession or sale of the plant is unjust.

In fact, the ACLU claims that over half of all drug arrests in the US are for marijuana. Further, black individuals are almost four times as likely to be arrested for a marijuana-related crime when blacks and whites use weed at around the same rate.

This means that there is a distinct, systemic aspect to this problem and legalization could lead to the release of these individuals who were locked up for non-violent crimes.

3. It’s a Huge Industry

In a political climate where “job-creation” is extremely important, many wonder why we don’t capitalize on the huge potential of the marijuana industry.

As legalization creeps its way throughout the country, each year brings massive increases in the size of the legal cannabis industry. The number was 6.9 billion in global sales in 2016, skyrocketing to an estimated 16.9 billion by the end of 2019.

There’s an untapped potential for a lot of job creation, economic growth, and safer products on the market with legalization.

4. Legalization Would Eliminate Weed-Related Crime

When something is illegal, the street value of that thing increases greatly. People move to fill that demand and make huge profits in the process.

Product creation isn’t regulated, and criminal organizations are often at the helm of the operation. This requires people to get marijuana of unknown quality and go through potentially shady individuals to get it.

There’s a lot of focus on weed from police forces around the country, and those efforts might be better spent on some other kind of criminal activity.

Cons

Let’s take a peek at some of the negative aspects of legalizing marijuana. These are real concerns and should be taken into consideration when thinking of the issue.

1. Can Lead to Dependency

While marijuana is not a typical “addictive drug,” excessive use can become an issue for many people. While there isn’t a distinct craving and physical dependency associated with addictive substances, a psychological dependency is certainly an element of marijuana use.

The product isn’t going to work for everyone, and it may be promoted as a wonder drug too heavily. It may become a problem for some, and that’s an issue that deserves real consideration.

At the same time, alcohol is an issue for millions of people, causing death in a lot of cases, and it remains legal. The same is true for prescription pain medication, cigarettes, and more.

2. It Affects People Differently

Because marijuana interacts with all people a little differently and there are so many strains that produce different effects, it might be difficult to set rules and guidelines of behavior.

For example, there’s a blood-alcohol percentage that’s acceptable for people to have while driving. You can test if you have weed in your system, but you can’t necessarily determine “how high” a person is to a specific degree.

This could cause problems when it comes to using marijuana in public, before driving, or in other social situations.

3. Potential Psychological Effects

Psychoactive drugs, while potentially beneficial in a number of ways, do pose the potential for psychological harm.

Where you are, how much marijuana you consume, and your physical constitution has a lot to do with the experience you have when you’re under the influence of it. The mental state you enter into while under the influence of marijuana is not necessarily one that you could achieve while sober.

In other words, the thoughts and feelings you have are going to be either more intense or distorted in some cases, and these things can lead to serious experiences. Whether these are positive or negative experiences has to do with you and you alone.

So, some people might not be cut out to use medical-grade marijuana. It is difficult to determine who will enjoy marijuana and who will have a negative experience.

Interested in Learning More?

The pros and cons of legalizing weed are discussed often, and you’ll likely be a part of a cannabis-related conversation in the near future. Hopefully, this article has been informative to you.

If you’re interested in getting some more information, explore the rest of our site for insight into the marijuana industry.

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