As of now, only 21 of the United States have legalized weed that too for recreational purposes. Many other states are considering changing their laws to legalize it, making marijuana available for medical and recreational and medical use. The main motive behind doing so is to dismantle the black market and hope for making lives better for patients suffering from ailments like arthritis, anxiety, and insomnia. Although there are many benefits associated with legalizing weed, there are also drawbacks that many states fear. Let’s have a look at the bright and darker side of legalizing weed and making it easily accessible to people. But first, let’s understand what the state laws state about the use of weed.
With a doctor's recommendation, the therapeutic use of cannabis is lawfully accepted in thirty-seven states and four out of five permanently inhabited U.S. territories, including the District of Columbia (D.C.) .
Additionally, eleven other states limit tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to permit access to cannabidiol (CBD) containing products despite cannabis still being listed as a Schedule-I drug by The Drug Enforcement Administration. Fortunately, for individuals abiding by their state medical marijuana laws, they are shielded from federal prosecution due to Rohrabacher–Farr amendment protections.
In the United States and its territories, cannabis can now be legally enjoyed recreationally in 21 states plus Washington D.C., Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands. In comparison, 10 other states have decriminalized its use. Distribution of this plant product is legal everywhere, but with personal cultivation, Washington DC is only disallowed by two states: Washington State and New Jersey.
The FDA has authorized several cannabis-derived compounds for prescription use, including Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), Cesamet (Nabilone), and Epidiolex(CBD). For those not on a doctor's plan, CBD and delta-8-THC stemming from industrial hemp are legal at the federal level. Nevertheless, states have laws that dictate the enforcement of these rules.
States accepting marijuana as a means of treatment for millions of patients will certainly benefit by legalizing weed and products based on it. Some of the prominent pros of legalizing weed include:
According to the CDC, around 58.5 million Americans have arthritis. On the other hand, As per Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.8 million adults suffer from anxiety. Legalizing weed has several potential health benefits, as CBD can help treat both conditions. It could reduce the number of opioid overdoses due to people being able to use cannabis as an alternative treatment option for pain relief.
It could help with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety by providing a natural form of relaxation that can be used in place of drugs or alcohol. Cannabis contains many compounds that are thought to have anti-cancer properties and may even help treat some types of cancer.
Legalizing marijuana would generate taxes that could be used to fund public programs, such as education and health care. It would also create jobs in the legal cannabis industry, which could help stimulate the economy. In addition, it would reduce spending on law enforcement related to enforcing current regulations surrounding cannabis use, freeing up resources that could be used elsewhere.
Legalization and promotion of medical marijuana can also increase tourism revenue in areas where it is legalized as people come to visit “weed-friendly” locations. A legal cannabis industry might also lead to more research into the medicinal benefits of this drug and thus potentially provide treatments for various conditions and illnesses. And all of these factors could contribute greatly to economic growth.
There has been a long-standing debate about whether marijuana should be decriminalized or even legalized due to it being a “victimless crime” that is disproportionately enforced on minority populations.
Marijuana legalization could potentially reduce arrest numbers and lead to fewer convictions for drug possession which would help lessen overcrowded prisons and the financial burden associated with them.
As per statistics, the youth using hard drugs like cocaine and heroin is much lower in states that have legalized marijuana. This shows that when adults can legally get access to weed, they may be less likely to turn to harder drugs.
Although marijuana has been criminalized for decades, the tide is turning in favor of legalizing and decriminalizing cannabis in some countries. This shift could be an effective strategy to reduce drug abuse among users, as legalizing weed offers numerous advantages that may help individuals with substance use disorders.
Legalizing weed would give access to much safer forms of cannabis than what’s currently available on the street. Street drugs are often contaminated with unknown substances, which can pose serious health risks and even result in death for those consuming them.
The legalization of marijuana offers a massive opportunity for states to generate significant new revenue. Taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana could provide an estimated $2.7 billion in annual tax revenue for governments across the country, according to the nonprofit Tax Foundation.
The money generated from legal marijuana sales could be used for public education, infrastructure repairs, substance abuse treatment, and prevention programs, among other things.
Not only would legalizing weed open up potential revenue sources, but it would also create jobs and free up resources that can be spent on more pressing societal issues.
For example, with an influx of tax dollars pouring into state coffers due to legal weed sales, states could hire more police officers or increase mental health services in underserved communities.
Where proponents consider it a better solution to black marketing and drug abuse, opponents have painted a different about making marijuana easily accessible. Here are some of the prominent cons of legalizing weed.
The legalization of cannabis has been considered by many to be a step in the right direction for society, as it allows people to use marijuana without legal repercussions. However, there are some potential health risks associated with using marijuana that could arise if it were to become more widely available.
Marijuana contains more than 400 chemicals, and its long-term effects have yet to be fully understood. However, research suggests that some of these chemicals can cause damage to the lungs, leading to an increased risk of respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis or worse.
Components found in marijuana have been linked to mental health issues such as paranoia and depression. Furthermore, smoking marijuana is known to impair driving ability and motor skills, increasing the risk of car accidents and injuries.
One of the most serious concerns associated with marijuana legalization is increased accessibility to children. It is important to note that the use of marijuana by youth has been linked to lower educational attainment and increased risk of addiction, mental health problems, and other adverse health outcomes.
With greater availability, young people could be tempted to access marijuana, leading to more widespread usage among teens than before. The fact that states are beginning to legalize recreational cannabis means that rules and regulations will need to be established about who can purchase and possess it.
For example, many states have set minimum ages for legal possession or consumption of cannabis products to prevent younger individuals from obtaining them. Retailers must also take extra precautions when verifying whether customers are of legal age, meaning that there is some control over how weed gets into the hands of minors.
With marijuana becoming more widely available, more people may use the drug and become addicted to it. This could lead to an increase in crime associated with the possession and sale of marijuana. Additionally, impaired driving due to marijuana usage can put pedestrians and drivers at risk, leading to potential accidents on the roads.
Furthermore, there is also a concern that recreational cannabis use could lead to increased mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. However, the long-term effects of using marijuana regularly are still being studied, so further research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be made about the potential harms associated with its legalization.
Let's get to it with a wider perspective, every state has different laws and regulations regarding weed, leading to confusion amongst different people. For example, a person may be allowed to purchase and consume cannabis in one state but not in another. This can cause problems for those who travel between states or countries, as they could potentially face legal consequences if caught with weed that is illegal in the jurisdiction they are traveling to. Additionally, there are often grey areas surrounding medical marijuana laws which further complicate the issue.
Another issue related to weed legalization is that it has caused an uptick in the number of "weed-related" businesses popping up around the country, such as dispensaries and delivery services. These businesses sometimes operate outside of the law and cause confusion among consumers who don't always know what is legal and what isn't.
Given the above factors, it is essential for states considering legalizing marijuana to consider all of the possible implications before making any decisions. Ultimately, careful research and discussion should take place before enacting any measures that will significantly impact public health and safety. The best part for you to do is limit the use of weed as much as possible and stay away from its ill effects. If it’s for medical purpose, make sure you don’t break any law of the concerned states.
The potential risks associated with marijuana legalization include increased accessibility to children, social costs such as crime and impaired driving, confusion about laws, and legal challenges. It is crucial for states considering legalizing marijuana to consider all of these implications before making any decisions.
There are various measures that can be taken in order to prevent minors from accessing marijuana. These include setting minimum ages for legal possession or consumption of cannabis products, requiring retailers to verify the age of customers before selling them any product, and enforcing laws against selling cannabis products to minors.
If you plan on traveling with or purchasing cannabis in a different state, familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding weed in that jurisdiction. It is also vital to ensure that you are not breaking any laws when traveling with or purchasing cannabis in a different state. It is also wise to speak with a local attorney if you have any questions about the legality of your actions.
Legal challenges associated with marijuana legalization include confusion about laws and regulations across states and potential public health and safety concerns related to increased accessibility and use of cannabis products. There may also be conflicts between state and federal law regarding the legality of marijuana.