Implications of Marijuana Legalization: The Pros

Is legalizing marijuana the right thing to do?

As part of our series on marijuana use, we will explore this contentious issue. There was a time when the public, medical industry, politicians, and law enforcement agencies were on the same page regarding the status of marijuana. This cannabis strain was considered a dangerous drug and on par with heroin and cocaine. It was the proliferation of marijuana from that laid the foundation of a long drug war in Mexico and the US.

However, progress has been made in the last three decades with respect to the legal status of marijuana in the US. As of now, 10 US states have legalized marijuana for all its uses. Moreover, 30 states allow its medical uses. In short, the greater part of a statewide jurisdictional area in the US is now covered with marijuana legalization laws.  

The last midterm election has also shown that public support is increasing for recreational marijuana. Amid all this, it seems as if the federal government is completely oblivious of these developments. As per federal law, marijuana is still classified as a Class I substance alongside dangerous synthetic drugs. Even though few voices in Congress advocate legalization, the federal echelons largely incline towards maintaining marijuana’s current status.

It’s also interesting to note that both proponents and opponents of marijuana legalization use its implications to prove their points. The authorization of recreational marijuana is not a matter that can be seen in black and white. In this two-part article series, we are going to discuss both the pros and cons of marijuana legalization. In this piece, we will discuss some of the proven and supposed benefits of marijuana legalization.

The Black MarketQuandary

Recreational marijuana became a legal commodity in California last year. Before that, all the pot users in the state procured their stuff through the black market, but those states that still maintain a ban on recreational marijuana has sowed the seeds for an ongoing and thriving criminal pot enterprise.

By legalizing cannabis for recreational use, states can exterminate the unique selling point of marijuana black markets, or at the very least, decrease their pforits by a substational margine, as no pot user willingly goes to illegal drug dealers with the ever-looming risk of getting arrested by law enforcement personnel.   

There may even be a reduction in crime; albeit, most drug crime is from addicated addicts, which is usually not associated with marijuana absorbtion, but those that (non-addictively) crave for pot on a daily baises, some call ‘pot heads’, may be inclined to acquire more money when they are financially strapped, even if they have to steal.   

Quality Assurance Becomes Possible

You can’t implement quality and safety control on illegal wares. Unregulated marijuana can be laced with combinations of other more dangerous drugs and even insecticides that can be detrementral to the user.

A recent case of deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin highlight the dangerous implications of buying drugs off the street.

By taking marijuana in a legal ambit, authorities can maintain a quality assurance regimen for the sake of public safety. Some states have employed seed-to-sale tracking for a legal cannabis crop to assure its quality and safety aspects.

Canada has already set an example of quality assurance of legal cannabis products. In November, Health Canada recalled two dried cannabis products over fear of contamination. Such vigilance can be only maintained when a product is being sold and controlled within a legal environment.

An Additional Tax Revenue Stream

There is no second opinion regarding the economic implication of marijuana legalization. The majority of pro-legalization lawmakers often talk about how legal marijuana can turn around the fortune of states with an additional tax revenue stream.

Tax data from legal states also substantiate this assertion.  In Colorado, the pioneer legal state, the Department of Revenue collected more than $200 million in cannabis taxes in the fiscal year 2017-2018. On the other hand, California generated over $60 million in the first quarter after the blanket legalization.

When other tax sectors are stale or showing little growth, legal weed offers a hefty tax revenue. This incentive is also the major reason why many politicians have a change of heart on marijuana in the last couple of years.

Easy Access to Medicinal Cannabis

Medical research has shown many therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids present in marijuana. It has been studied that CBD and THC (cannabinoids) has had an advantage impact on the symptoms of many diseases. This is the reason why the majority of US states have decided to allow at the very least, the medicinal use of cannabis.

CBD extracts have become a leading alternative medicine for treating rare epilepsy conditions, especially in minors. By putting blanket legalization in place, administrations can make it easy for patients and their caregivers to procure their medicinal requirements.

Relief for Law Enforcement Entities and Judiciary

No doubt law enforcement has been inuaded with drug crimes, much of it associated with marijuana. Adding insult to injury, the police and courts are working on strained budgets. The legalization of marijuana can have advantageous implications for police and courts in two ways.

More Funds: State and federal administrations can improve the funding of policy and judiciary with the help of additional income coming from legal marijuana taxation.

Better Focus on Serious Crimes:  Many states spend their valuable resources on dealing with petty marijuana crimes. A simple marijuana possession case wastes many working hours of both law enforcement bodies and courts.  And in many cases, people apprehended for the ‘crime’ don’t have any criminal background. So, apart from wasting law enforcement and judicial resources, such cases also stain the records of individuals who are leading a regular life otherwise.

With marijuana out of the equation, police will be able to focus on curbing more the serious and violent crimes. Prisons will not face the issue of overcrowding and the number of pending cases in circuit courts will lessen.

The above discussion makes a strong case for the legalization of marijuana. However, it is necessary to have the same thorough analysis of the other side of the picture before reaching any conclusion. In our next article, we will focus on the disavanges of selling marijuana legally.