According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 19.8 million people use medical marijuana in the United States. Marijuana, otherwise known as weed, is not a government standard so it is classified as unknown, making it illegal. The legalization of medical marijuana has many benefits such as lowering crime rates, comforting people suffering from chronic pain, and boosting our economy.
With medical marijuana legal, crime rates will decrease all over the United States. In Colorado, marijuana crime cases fell 98 percent within the year of legalizing weed. It would reduce alcoholic violence such as assault or domestic violence. A former deputy director, Taylor West, said:
“We’re not seeing any increase in crime rates through marijuana — we’re seeing lower crime rates, and there are good rational reasons for that” (ProCon).
Alcohol crimes are ten times higher than when people use marijuana. Violent and property crime offenses have dropped in places that have medical and recreational marijuana. Kimberly Lawson states from the Regional Science and Urban Economics,“ The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the sample period ” (Lawson). It would take the money and phase out the cartel or the black market. Leading to even less violence at the United States and Mexico border. With the legalization of marijuana, it has cost the cartels over billions of dollars and it shows that the black market can be replaced legally. It would free up costly police resources. These costs involve police, judicial, legal, and corrections expenses. Crime rate can fluctuate between state lines and that leads to a difficult decision on whether medical and recreational marijuana is safe. Nine more states in the United States have now passed laws to have recreational and medical cannabis in their state including Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and our capital D.C. After these nine states legalized marijuana other states have started to follow and draft up their laws and regulations about cannabis. Most crimes happen in the industry taking they are normally cash exchange, leading to people trying to rob or burglarize the store. With more border states legalizing weed, it has brought less violence from the cartel. With dispensaries opening they will help get the illegal, dangerous, and maybe even deadly marijuana off the streets.
Marijuana has been around for hundreds of years and has been helping people with body pains. There are two many components in marijuana, CBD and THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is how people get high and is the mind-boggling substance. Cannabinoid (CBD) is an anti-inflammatory. It is used to take care of rare diseases and difficult to control epilepsy. Medical marijuana is increasing in popularity and people are moving away from opioids. It is an alternative pain reliever from people with chronic pain or inflammation. For people with kidney or liver problems smoking weed takes the place of Advil or Ibuprofen. According to a survey from Medical News Today, “81 percent agreed or strongly agreed that marijuana was more effective alone than in combination with opioids” ( Leonard). Marijuana is supposed to have an opioid effect but has fewer risks. Medical marijuana aids veterans that have mental disorders. The feeling of being high allows people with mental disorders, like anxiety or PTSD, to feel calm. After smoking weed the limbic system is affected letting people with neurological problems experience freedom. The relaxing effect of marijuana helps with sleep management. Marijuana has such a wonderful effect on people healing or curing them.
The legalization of recreational marijuana would add billions to the economy. With it being legal, it allows governments and investors a new way to make money. Marijuana stocks would be available to list on well-known stock exchanges allowing investors to take advantage of them. According to Investopedia, “ In 2015, Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees on medical and recreational marijuana. Sales in the state totaled over $996 million”( Krishna). With the legalization and the constant growth in the United States, a report from the cannabis analytics company New Frontier suggests that “federally legal pot could generate an additional $131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue by 2025”( Krishna). Dispensaries would start to open and will create new jobs. According to New Frontier Data, “there are about 340,000 jobs in the U.S. legal pot market today. That’s an increase of more than 30% from last year” (Jagielski). That number is expected to grow over the next five years to about 1.5 million jobs in the weed business. It also gets people into the economics of the weed industry. It helps with secondary jobs in businesses like software developers or construction services. With cannabis still illegal on the federal level, it makes investors scared to invest in the weed companies. With cannabis legal it would let companies list their products on the U.S exchange, therefore, access would be easier for investors to show interest.
The legalization of medical marijuana will significantly reduce crimes associated with the distribution of marijuana, selling, and possessing it. The crime rates will vary by location but overall it will reduce violent crimes and property crimes in neighborhoods with dispensaries. Dispensaries are mainly a cash-carrying business, which makes them a targeted crime. The dispensaries do not have banking yet, so it makes it difficult to use a credit card. Neighborhoods with a dispensary normally have a lower crime rate and it does not spill over to other communities. In the states where marijuana is legal, the number of charges and convictions have declined in the first full year. Julian Morris stated, “From this evidence, it is clear that, while legalization does not necessarily eliminate illegal production, distribution, and sale of marijuana, it tends to diminish it dramatically” (Morris). Morris also stated that traffic fatalities have declined and criminal driving offenses have declined in states where marijuana is legal. A study in 2014 reported that states that have medical marijuana laws show “a reduction in the overall incidence of a “Part 1 offenses” (homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft)” (Morris). Marijuana is still a federal crime, still making it illegal. The laws help control the amount of marijuana a person can buy or that the user can not buy a gun either. Users with a medical card cannot buy a legal gun because of the “unlawful user and/or an addict of any controlled substance ” (Federal Marijuana Laws).
Most states have decriminalized marijuana use, removing the risk of prosecution and penalties.
For many ill people, medical marijuana is a safer alternative to other medications that relieve nausea and vomiting or other side effects they’re experiencing. It can alleviate painful symptoms from conditions including various forms of cancer and other chronic illnesses such as neuropathic pain. Marijuana can relieve muscle spasms that are sometimes associated with paralysis or multiple sclerosis. It has also helped treat individuals with loss of appetite due to various cancers and HIV. According to a Harvard study published in the American Medical Association, “ the six chronic pain patients who used cannabis or medical marijuana saw a reduction in their pain levels.” ( Reiman). Another study showed, “ that using medical marijuana decreased side effects of other pain medications, reduced opioid usage by 64 percent in pain patients, and improved the quality of life of subjects ” ( Reiman). Marijuana brings people emotion and cognitive transition including learning and motivation. A research study in 2012, tested 5,115 adults showing that “ that only pot users showed an increase in lung capacity, compared to the tobacco smokers who lost lung function over time ” (Kabir). Cannabis reverses the carcinogen in the lungs, improving the health of the user. Marijuana can create airflow and volume in the lungs of casual pot smokers. It can also drastically reduce the number of patients taking dangerous pharmaceuticals. Many patients have felt the benefit of using cannabis and don’t have the side effects reported with other drugs. It becomes clear after watching a pharmaceutical advertisement on television when they disclose the long list of side effects at the end. Individuals are realizing they can avoid these harmful side effects with a replacement of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is non-toxic with no negative side effects. Another frustration individuals tend to feel is the cost associated with pharmaceuticals that patients must pay to find relief for their ailments. In some cases, the cost can be thousands per month for those people suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Patients should have freedom of choice concerning their treatment plan and comfort. They should be able to choose a less toxic and less addictive alternative. For these reasons alone, we need to legalize medical marijuana.
Job growth could be significant in the cannabis industry if it becomes legalized federally. The current number of jobs could rise to 1 million or more in the next few years. While many states have progressed toward legalizing cannabis, it still could take years for full legalization. Cannabis jobs pay well and can suit many skillset workers. A dispensary manager can earn more than $70,000 a year and a bud trimmer can earn around $30,000 a year. The CEO level can earn more than $300,000 a year. The job potential in this industry has benefits for workers but also for generating income for the government. It has been a great argument for legalizing marijuana. It is difficult for cannabis companies to get banking. Even in legal states, companies can get a penalty for working with them. For the banks that work with the medical marijuana companies, they have to follow strict anti-money laundering laws; which adds extra stress and burdens. With these strict laws, banks cannot invest or associate with the companies because it is really risky with all the checkups and files on the dispensary. According to the Democratic Staff of the Joint Economic Committee, “just 30 percent of cannabis businesses have access to traditional banking services” (Heinrich).
Furthermore, federal regulations are coming between the researchers’ ability to conduct large, quality controlled clinical studies on the medical effects of marijuana. Researchers must obtain approval from different agencies and go through a complex application process. They also struggle to access research-grade cannabis needed for the comprehensive study. The FDA has approved the use of cannabidiol but has yet to approve the use of cannabis. Even with the challenges the researchers face, there is valid evidence that cannabis is effective for treating chronic pain and individuals receiving better patient care. Patients have started cultivation which allows the patients to grow their marijuana. Law enforcement will need to coordinate to talk about how marijuana will impact the environment. If the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act gets violated then the perpetrator can be fined or can have civil penalties.
Moreover, the growth of the cannabis economy will help create a wide variety of jobs, increase tax revenue, and provide better care for patients. From a dollar-based standpoint, legalizing medical marijuana would put additional money into individual states and the federal government. New Frontier Data released a report stating, “the immediate legalization of marijuana at the federal level would lead to $131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue being collected between 2017 and 2025” (New Frontier Data). That means the federal government could potentially go from collecting zero revenue annually to perhaps $10 billion. Along with the boost in the economy comes new employment. These job opportunities would have direct contact with the cannabis plant, in the supply chain, such as farming, distributing, processing, and retailing. Some possible businesses with direct and indirect jobs could be construction for building retail and greenhouses, software developers, consulting firms, and lending and financing services. Arizona is eighth in the nation in profits from cannabis. Arizona made about 705 million dollars last year off marijuana, so the government can now do whatever they want with the money made. Phoenix New Times stated that “Cannabis sales worldwide have more than tripled, booming from $3.4 billion to $10.9 billion between 2014 and 2018” (Evans). Arizona is predicted to make up to 200 billion dollars by 2030 from marijuana. With this new cash flow coming in it allows the government to fund the state with new parks, buildings, or roads. Arizona’s government shut down recreational marijuana by not passing Prop 205 so now they are missing out on millions of extra money being made. The state Department of Health Services from Arizona stated that “Arizonan’s smoke, ate or otherwise consumed nearly 60 tons of the drug in 2018” (Fischer).
Medical marijuana can help improve many peoples’ lives with pain, making money, or reducing crime around neighborhoods. Marijuana will always be around, so why not embrace it with it being legal all over the United States. Many athletes use marijuana after their brutal games to help relax. Although cannabis is illegal in sports athletes have come out reporting that they are replacing opioids. In high contact sports, players can develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which has led many former professional football players to pass away. The latest research from Practical Pain Management states “that medical cannabis may be able to treat TBI and prevent CTE, thus improving the quality of life for players at high-risk for these conditions” (Ellis). Players have taken a stand believing that cannabis is more effective and less addictive. Governments of states with legal marijuana examine the cannabis for “microbes and heavy metals to pesticides and herbicides” (Fischer). State-regulated laboratories also have to check for solvents or other chemicals after the product is made. As mentioned earlier, the cannabis industry is continuing to grow at a fast pace. One reason is that the plant is known to help with chronic pain, nausea, and even used as a sleep aid. It also helps people suffering from a variety of illnesses such as PTSD, cancer, and anxiety. The states which have legalized medical marijuana have seen a reduction in the use of pharmaceuticals. Doctors are slowing coming around to see the positive effects of medical marijuana as more studies are conducted. The state Department of Health Services allows patients to buy up to two ounces of marijuana.
Considering the facts above, if medical marijuana were legalized, it would lower crime rates in many areas, solve many medical issues with chronically ill individuals, and add billions to our economy. Arizona has taken a lead with medical marijuana showing that it details many different situations. Medical marijuana is saving many lives and it can save many more with the legalization of marijuana.