“There are two sides to every story, and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.” – Jean Gati
There is the “War on Drugs” on one side and Marijuana Legalization as a response to the failures of this war. The binge of marijuana legalization has led to a re-envisioning of the US drug policy and how it should change; as people seek discretions to vindictive criminal justice policies that have failed at a great cost to the nation’s liberty and finances.In this article by German Lopez 1, celebrations are in place to declare 2018 as the year Marijuana Legalization won. In recent years, support for legalizing Marijuana has reached the point of inflection, and a majority of Americans give it a thumping yes. A Gallup survey has been referred to in the article which insinuates that the support for legalization rose from 12 percent in 1969 to 31 percent in 2000 to 64 percent in 2017. California recently allowed a recreational marijuana industry. A state that’s more crowded and wealthier than any legal marijuana market; this decision was groundbreaking. It helps the marijuana industry earn more profits; to carry out the political campaigning and lobbying which in turn would assist them in playing a major role in the drug policy reform movement.
The second article “A Case Against Marijuana” by David Leonhardt 2 is the counter viewpoint questioning the not very well proven notion of the public that Marijuana isn’t very harmful. This perception of pot being not harmful escalates the risk of misuse and addiction. The users enter a comfort zone and develop a habit that eventually makes them uncomfortable. The effects of marijuana legalization are mixed to say the least and, in the gale to legalize, have we put in ‘enough’ research into this? What would it mean to create a whole new industry that encourages a lot more use of a mind-altering drug? Is all of this wishful thinking or we have predictions that fall in the high % confidence interval? The numbers from Colorado have been projected in the article as a rebuttal to legalization.
Whether you like it or not, the economic benefits of marijuana legalization are undeniable. Cold hard facts cannot be argued and they highlight how the states such as Colorado and Washington have booming economies post the legalization and taxation of recreational Marijuana. Legalizing marijuana enriches the revenues of individual states and the federal government, create employment, benefit investors with a potential listing on reputable U.S. exchanges improving liquidity and promoting reporting benchmarks. New Frontier Data released a report in 2017 estimating that the immediate legalization of marijuana at the federal level would lead to $131.8 billion in aggregate federal tax revenue being collected and create 1.1 million jobs between 2017 and 2025 3.
Beyond this soon-to-be multi-billion-dollar industry, less visible -but arguably of equal significance – are the myriad ways it impacts society. By taking control of the distribution of marijuana, legalization could reduce the flourishing black market for the drug, which is potentially the cause for a large amount of illegal activity as indicated by the rate of police-reported marijuana offences. Endorsement can address social issues such as perilous surroundings created by the illegal distribution of the drug and the negative consequences of being labelled as a criminal for possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Since its legalization in 2012, marijuana has been a financial boon to Colorado. Net marijuana sales hit a record $1.51 billion in 2017, generating more economic output than 90 percent of all other industries in the state 4. But socially, things are not rosy. A thriving black market, increment in homelessness, increase in the state’s crime rate to 5% compared with 2013 while the national trend was downward, increase in violent crime by 12.5% while the national increase was less than 5% – are some of the unintended consequence of this experiment that Colorado is still very much grappling with.