Indeed, more than 50% of American residents are now of the opinion that cannabis consumption should be made legal. This belief was proved by a recent Gallup poll, which showed that—for the first time in recent history—more Americans were of the opinion that marijuana should be legalized than those who were against its legalization.
This is also a trend seen among states; 33 now allow the use of marijuana, and of these, 10 allow it as a recreational drug as opposed to solely for medicinal purposes. In these recreational states people can also grow marijuana plants in their own home for personal use. We can expect that this trend will continue to rise exponentially, especially as the scientific and medical communities discover more benefits regarding the use of cannabis products medicinally.
But what about the remaining states that have not yet legalized cannabis and marijuana use? Why should these states consider the legalization of marijuana, cannabis and its derivatives as part of their agenda? How could the legalization of marijuana, be it recreational or medicinal in nature, be beneficial?
The Size of the Marijuana Industry
“Marijuana itself is a massive industry, despite being currently illegal for use in many states still. As such, it is estimated that the value of the US marijuana industry is over $10 billion in value—despite the fact that the drug itself is classed as being a Schedule I drug.”says Nathan Jackson, a marijuana blogger at Vela. Furthermore, as many as a quarter of a million United States men and women are employed by the US cannabis and marijuana industry, contributing vast amounts to the American economy.
How Marijuana Legalization could be Beneficial
There are many different benefits of marijuana, as well as some notable misconceptions that many people have. Understanding these can help to shed a new light on how marijuana legalization could be beneficial for users.
It’s not That Addictive
Now, this point may come as a surprise—but it’s an important one to start out with. Indeed, there is a widespread belief that marijuana use is incredibly addictive. While we are not saying that people can’t get addicted to marijuana, it is also important to put this in context. Approximately 10% or fewer adult Americans who use marijuana will develop dependency on the drug, which is far lower than the 30% of people who will develop tobacco dependency! So, in a culture where smoking is acceptable, it has to be asked—why is marijuana so demonized?
Nor is it That Harmful
Again, we are not trying to say that marijuana doesn’t do any harm, but it is important to put things into context. Not only is it seemingly impossible to die from a marijuana overdose—there have been no recorded cases in human history of deaths from marijuana overdoses—but even the side effects are mild when compared to some other chemicals. Indeed, of all of the chemicals that we routinely inflict upon our bodies, the worst is arguably alcohol.
A study in the UK found that alcohol caused approximately four times that amount of harm to other people, and three times the harm to the user, than marijuana use. Furthermore, tobacco usage resulted in comparable amounts of harm being done to the user and other people. So, it has to be asked—if marijuana is not legalized, then should alcohol and tobacco not also be banned? And, conversely, if alcohol and tobacco are acceptable then surely marijuana should similarly be a legalized option?
It’s on the Rise
Approximately 40% of Americans have admitted that they have used marijuana at some point in time, despite it being criminalized in many states still. This is far, far higher than the approximately 16% of Americans who have tried cocaine at some point—alluding to the widespread use of marijuana at present.
A key reason for the rapid rise in marijuana popularity is due to the health benefits that the drug can offer for users. Marijuana can be helpful for people who have sleeping difficulties; a 1976 paper concluded that the effects on insomniacs of marijuana supplementation “closely resembles those induced by lithium.” Furthermore, similar effects were also seen by the National Cancer Institute where cannabis supplementation seemingly allowed users a better and more restful night’s sleep. Supplementation with marijuana can also be helpful for nausea relief and overall mental and physical well being. A notable example is for the treatment of seizures, where marijuana supplementation has frequently proven itself to be more effective than normal medicinal treatments.
Many successful people, from Morgan Freeman to Michael Bloomberg, incorporate marijuana into their routines. Of course, it is worth considering that some people will take marijuana use too far, however, the majority of people can be expected to show self control and restraint with marijuana supplementation; this allows them to benefit from the positive effects of the marijuana. Legalization of marijuana could allow further people to benefit from this as well.