Admit it or not, cannabis has become a big part of our society. There has been an increase in public support for marijuana law reforms than ever before. More than half the country is in favor of legalizing marijuana and a majority of the 2020 presidential candidates agree as well. Even the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) says that marijuana should be removed from the criminal justice system and regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Fact, marijuana is the most often used illegal drug in the United States. It comes from the hemp plant. The chemicals in marijuana are found in the leaves and flowering shoots. THC is the most well-known of these chemicals, second to CBDs, which is used as a method for relaxation. Currently, 11 out of 50 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the United States with more states to follow shortly.
Medical Marijuana & Recreational Marijuana States
More states have medical marijuana programs, but you have to have a specific medical condition — varies state to state– that is approved on their tiny list to qualify. Obtaining a medical marijuana card is difficult even if you’re eligible. First, you have to find a doctor who is licensed — which can be difficult to find — then you have to schedule multiple appointments to be evaluated so it is very time-consuming. Unless you have a good medical plan, you will probably have to pay out of pocket because a lot of insurance companies do not cover those types of appointments.
I remember growing up with my parents, grandparents, and other adults telling me that marijuana can kill me. My health classes grouped the plant in the category with crack, PCP and cocaine. I was terrified for years until I did some research in college as well as have a lot of intelligible conversations about cannabis. I quickly found out that marijuana was less dangerous, in some cases than alcohol and cigarettes. The difference was that I was it was easier to get alcohol and cigarettes.
Why Should We Legalize?
If alcohol and cigarettes are legal, recreational marijuana should be too.
I can go buy a dangerous amount of vodka and menthol cigarettes anywhere in the United States, legally and illegally. Both are very addictive and have attributed to thousands of deaths in our country. However, I have to visit Colorado to legally purchase a joint. According to the CDC, a total of 35,823 persons died of alcohol-induced causes in the United States in 2017. Alcohol plays a large role in criminal activities and violence. Some of the most common alcohol-related crimes involve cases of drinking and driving, robberies (15%), sexual assault (37%), Aggravated assault (27%), Intimate partner violence, Child abuse, and Homicide (40%). Alcoholism is a huge problem in the United States as well. The CDC reported that more than 15 million people struggle with an alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than eight percent of those receive treatment.
Cigarettes are just as bad, more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Along with that, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. In the past few years, E-cigarette companies have been increasing in popularity. Although these brands are marketing to adults, young kids are getting sucked into a nicotine addiction due to these e-cigarettes. According to The Food and Drug Administration, they have declared teen vaping an “epidemic,” citing federal survey data that showed nearly 21% of high school students vaped last year.
Ever since marijuana has been known to mankind, not one single account of death from overdose has been recorded. You may think having a large amount of THC in your system will kill you, but you’re wrong. A marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint to be at risk of dying.
Medically Safer To Use Than Most Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs take a toll on your body. I saw a change in my mom over the years as she took pills after pills to help with her pain after various surgeries. The drugs were hurting her more than helping, but she couldn’t take the pain. Not to mention, prescription drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, are very addictive. In 2010, 38,329 people died from drug overdoses. Sixty percent of those were related to prescription drugs.
Marijuana has a low risk of abuse and does not have any addictive qualities. It is used to alleviate a lot of medical ailments, most commonly used for pain control. Opiates are highly sedating so it is hard to be active and do normal activities without feeling out of it and disengaged. This is very useful for cancer patients who undergo a great deal of pain and other side effects of chemotherapy.
Promotes Consumer Safety
Over 94 million people in the US have admitted to using it at least once. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. For the safety of the public, the natural plant should be regulated. You never know what is in your cannabis such as pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, or any other residual solvents. Also, testing for mold, fungi, bacteria, and other microbial organisms are very important. Knowing what you are consuming is important. With the inability to purchase marijuana legally, it is difficult to get this information. Many cannabis products have different potency and doses as well as knowing the strain you are smoking or consuming. For me, I cannot smoke certain strains whether it be an indicia or a Sativa due to my mental health. I found this out over the years after many trial and errors.
Of course, there are pros and cons to everything especially marijuana, but you have to admit that marijuana can be very beneficial for the United States and its people. With rumors that 2020 will bring the green, we can only wait to see whether or not recreational marijuana will be legalized.