This is a compilation of answers to the question of whether marijuana should be legalized in all states. Recent polls (as of November 2019) by Pew Research show that two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization, and there’s been a major trend of more Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana:
For those who argue for marijuana legalization, these are usually the main points:
- Medicinal marijuana has many uses, especially for things like pain relief
- Legalizing marijuana would free up law enforcement to focus on more serious crime
- The government should not be in the business of infringing on personal freedoms
- Increased tax revenue from taxing legalized marijuana
- Government regulation of marijuana would make it safer
- Marijuana is not a harmful or dangerous drug
And here are the points against legalizing marijuana:
- It would increase car accidents involving marijuana users
- It could act as a gateway drug to more harmful drugs
- Legalizing marijuana would not be of much benefit to society or individual users
- The belief that marijuana is legitimately harmful
- Smoking marijuana is immoral
Our goal here is not to take a side, but simply to list all arguments people have — then it’s up to you to make up your own mind and do your own research. I’ve listed comments people have submitted to us so far on why marijuana should or shouldn’t be legalized, and will be adding more as more submissions come in (if you have any input on this topic, please make a submission here). Comments both for and against marijuana legalization are welcome.
Right now, people are pushing for cannabis legalization for one reason: money. The government just fronted $2 trillion to stimulate the post-COVID-19 economy, and everyone is wracking their brains trying to figure out what we can do to get people back on their feet and create jobs. Cannabis legalization is the clear and simple answer. Federal approval of the crop will usher in a new era for the nearly 38.6 million people unemployed and provide a positive economic stimulus, all while making the acquisition and consumption of cannabis a safer process. The black market has been thriving for years by selling the crop, but there is no quality control process that regulates anything being sold. By legalizing cannabis federally, people will be able to purchase it in safe and vetted establishments while the economy gets to reap the benefits of these legitimate transactions.
--Bryan Fields, Eighth Revolution
As cannabis slowly becomes legal for recreational purposes all over the world, it's pretty easy to tell that most of the time, it has been a positive experience. Here are a few simple reasons why:
The cannabis industry has created a job boom. Just to put it in perspective, in 2019 the cannabis industry had more employees than the coal mining industry, the beer industry and the textile industry combined! In March 2019 there was more than 211,000 cannabis related jobs in the US. (source)
Pot generates dollars! The first state to legalize recreational weed in 2014, Colorado, has generated $111.6 million in 2019 in state revenue from cannabis. (source). In Illinois, Pot became legal on January 1st, 2020 and in 7 days, nearly $11 million of cannabis was sold!
There are many other reasons why weed should be legal in all states, and not too many reasons why it shouldn't. Let's not forget about the black market, although cannabis is a little different than other drugs when it comes to dangers of not knowing how the drug is actually created, it's still a concern. With a legal market, there is quality control, the end consumer knows what he's getting, when it's been harvested and when it's been packaged, by which company. There is consistency, customers know that if they enjoyed a certain strain, they can get it again.
And last but not least, CONVENIENCE. I'm sure every day consumers are getting tired of meeting up with their drug dealers, they would much rather go to their local dispensary.
--Arkady Kats, cannabissensei.com
I think cannabis should be legal not only in all of America but all over the world due to it's cultural, medicinal and economic benefits. Marijuana was actually legal for the vast part of human civilization, becoming illegal soon after alcohol during the prohibition in the 1920s. Originally, the reason it became illegal was similar to alcohol, which was due to the government wanting to control the substance, and of course, to eventually tax it for financial gain.
However, when cannabis became illegal, the intent was to use its illegality as a pretext to discriminate against colored minorities. This would make it easier for law enforcement to search immigrants without needing any other probable cause except for the scent of ganja in the air. This was well strategies by the government since marijuana was popular amongst immigrants from Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. In fact, it was due to its popularity with Spanish speakers that the word marijuana is still used in America instead of cannabis when officially speaking about it.
Now in 2020, countries and states that legalized cannabis have profited financially and culturally, due to the influx of capital from the emerging cannabis market. Everything from soap to butter and CBD capsules, the medicinal use, and properties of cannabis have generated tons of products over the past few years. Countries such as Uruguay, Spain and Canada are receiving more canna-travelers that are curious to see how society functions when weed is legal.
The real effect of legalization is that of reduced crime, fewer prisoners in jail, and a more progressive society in these countries. Holland for example, has legalized cannabis many decades ago and is a model for what legalization should look like. Crime and drug addiction rates in the Netherlands are some of the lowest in the world due to their liberal policies that encourage education and respect for our individual choices, such as using marijuana.
--Marina Avramovic, CannabisOffers
I do believe marijuana should be legal everywhere (at least for adults), but there are also some very strong, science-backed reasons why it should remain illegal too.
To sum up my reasoning, I would say this: legalizing marijuana would provide a net benefit to society.
There are pros and cons to everything in life. While marijuana can, has, and will continue to ruin peoples lives, it also allows some to regain theirs. Marijuana may be a gateway drug to some, it's also an exit drug for people suffering with heroin and other addictions.
The pool of money for public spending is only so big. Legalizing would free up some of this money and resources on fighting low-level drug-related incidents, and put that time and resources to more productive use.
Legalizing would likely lead to more cases of psychosis, but it would also lead to extra research around the other lesser-known cannabinoids. While THC and CBD steal the spotlight, there are over 100 that lack any decent research yet.
--Zac, The THC Times
There are various reasons I'm an advocate for cannabis reform and legalization. Perhaps the most significant aspect of my argument for cannabis legalization is its incredibly versatile and therapeutic potential as a medicine. New studies on the therapeutic efficacy of cannabinoid therapy populate the The National Library of Medicine every year and there is now documented evidence that cannabis can be effective in treating a variety of conditions from seizure disorders to chronic pain, gastrointestinal disease, dementia, and autoimmune disorders (to name a few). Furthermore, legalization will allow scientists and researchers better and expanded access to cannabis for research purposes, allowing them to better understand not only the phytocannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant, but the body's endogenous cannabinoid signaling system as well. I'm currently working on a piece for Green Flower Media called The Endocannabinoid System for Physicians: An Evidence-Based Review that discusses just how critically important understanding this mysterious signaling system really is to optimizing medicine and healthcare for our fellow man. Finally, during such uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic stimulation of cannabis industry across the country and the world will help reinvigorate failing economies and provide countless jobs for the masses. Cannabis is one of the most genetically and phenotypically diverse botanical medicines on the face of the earth and humans still have a long way to go before even being able to begin scratching the surface of the mysteries it holds. Until we can truly break free of social limitations and expand access to cannabis for all, we simply aren't striving to live to our fullest potential as curious, scientifically minded human beings.
--Gaurav Dubey, Biolitics
I am the Executive Director of the largest Washington State Trade association for cannabis and we have seen both tax revenues rise, arrests drop (but not eliminated for people of color - still a problem), and people able to get their medicine - even in a pandemic. Legal marijuana has been a net positive in our state, and as a highly regulated industry, consumers have a higher confidence in the safety of the product. Legal marijuana is safer for the consumer.
--Kristin Baldwin, The Cannabis Alliance