Back in the day, people were stricter regarding smoking weed. Many used to equate it with shooting heroin, so if you got caught with marijuana you’d be labelled a hardcore addict.
Nowadays, things are much different. Smoking weed isn’t taboo anymore. We have many celebrities such as Rihanna and Woody Harrelson being openly proud of their smoking habits.
There are still parts of the world, though, where being caught with a spliff can land you in jail or even sentenced to death if you get caught with larger amounts.
Whether you’re pro- or anti-cannabis, take some time to consider the following reasons why we think marijuana should be legal.
It can help lower crime rates
Though there’ll always be concerned voices that warn against the dangers of legalizing marijuana in connection to rising crime, some studies show that the legalization of marijuana in the US is actually inducing a crime drop.
There is also evidence that suggests that crime rates in states near the Mexican border (which have partially legalized or decriminalized cannabis) have dropped. This is especially important, knowing that the majority of drugs comes from the illegal drug trade controlled by Mexican drug cartels.
Even if the crime rate actually increased in states where recreational cannabis was legalized, statistics will show that it has also increased in states where cannabis is still illegal.
A more important argument to make here is that legalizing weed will allow law enforcement officers to focus on violent crimes.
Police would be able to focus on arresting actual crime offenders (murderers, thieves, sexual offenders) rather than spend time arresting weed smokers whose “crime” is a victimless one.
The fact that in 2017 police made more marijuana arrests than violent crime arrests, ending up with 700,000 victims who suffered without justice, is very concerning, to say the least.
It boosts the local economy
Legalizing marijuana can definitely have economic benefits. States get tax revenue from weed sales, which means more money that can also be spent on drug harm reduction or various rehabilitation programs.
For states like Colorado, legalizing marijuana has been exceptionally beneficial, as many cities were completely forgotten after the steel industry shut down. As it turned out, legalizing weed provided a real economic boost to a place that had suffered a major economic collapse.
According to Forbes, cannabis legalization is helping revive struggling economies. Many other states should follow suit – instead of focusing on reviving failed industries, they should look for solutions that can help with new job opportunities.
Tax money can be used more efficiently
Oregon is an excellent example of how tax money collected from cannabis sales can be put to use effectively. The first $85 million collected since the state legalized recreational marijuana was distributed according to their law. This means a significant portion of the money was put into schools, police, the public health system, as well as alcoholism and drug services.
It’s essential to use weed tax money to regulate the industry itself. For example, the government can use it to finance medical cannabis research, education programs aimed at children and teenagers, and drug rehabilitation programs.
Rather than using tax money to fund prisons, it’s more humane and efficient to use it to invest in better education opportunities and programs about safe drug use.
It encourages tourism
Amsterdam is known as a haven for cannabis lovers. Each day, many excited tourists flock to the Dutch capital to enjoy sitting in their famous coffee shops and trying out various strains and other cannabis-related products.
What’s even more interesting, weed isn’t actually legal in the Netherlands, it is just tolerated. That means that it can be safely smoked in coffee shops or taken home in the amounts of 5 g or less. Growing a few plants is fine, but producing weed on a mass scale is definitely prohibited.
Yet, this is more than enough to attract tourists who want to smoke without hassle. So, for those who aren’t for complete legalization: take a look at the Netherlands, because they’ve managed to achieve so much with just a bit of a tolerance policy.
Legalization can encourage entrepreneurship
Since we mentioned cannabis tourism, it’s also worth pointing out that where’s tourism, there’s also a big chance of various other business opportunities. When you have a lot of tourists, you can always find ways to make them part with their money.
Some ideas related to weed are organizing cannabis-themed festivals, cooking classes, and post-consumption walking tours. These activities can help tourists learn more about the place they’re visiting and also have a unique experience that can teach them how to safely prepare edibles and consume weed in different ways.
Aside from encouraging locals to be more entrepreneurially oriented, legal weed also increases the government’s tax revenue, as we already mentioned.
Legalizing means safer consumption
When you buy black-market weed, you can never be sure what you’re actually getting. The product can be mixed with unsafe chemicals that help increase weed potency. Poorly informed consumers can end up using something that can potentially be harmful to their health.
On the other hand, legal weed is sold via distributors who have to go through a complicated process of getting a license to be able to sell marijuana That process involves various guarantees to consumers about the quality and safety of the weed.
Legalizing marijuana involves other ways of making sure consumers are safe. For example, some legal marijuana states and cities are opening weed lounges where people can consume cannabis in a safe environment.
When weed is prohibited, users don’t have much choice or ways of protecting themselves from unsafe products.
More medical cannabis research
About 30 countries around the world have legalized cannabis to some extent for medical purposes. This allows people with rare or incurable illnesses to live better and more productive lives. Some of the conditions that can be treated or whose symptoms can be relieved with cannabis are epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, cancer, etc.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis is also successful in treating sleeping disorders. Many long-term insomnia sufferers claim that regular weed intake before bedtime helps them relax and fall asleep.
In addition, most research agrees that cannabis works as a painkiller, but there is not enough scientific evidence that medical marijuana actually treats illnesses.
If cannabis was fully legalized, it would allow scientists to conduct comprehensive, full-scale research on the benefits of medical cannabis.
Bonus reason: it liberates people
Though this reason is the most difficult to prove, it can be argued that weed liberates people. Millions of cannabis users cite the carefree feeling they get from smoking cannabis as one of the main reasons for continuing to use the plant.
It inspires musicians and other artists to create works of art, allows people to de-stress after long hours of stressful work, helps people overcome self-consciousness, connect with others, bond better in groups, etc.
Perhaps all this can be said about other harder drugs as well, but the difference between them is that cannabis doesn’t pose a threat to one’s safety. No one has ever died of marijuana “overdose,” and many studies show that it actually helps fight opioid addiction.
There are more reasons for pushing for marijuana legalization, which doesn’t mean that legalization should be taken lightly. It should be carefully implemented, with ready solutions for undesirable consequences.
One of the most important things during the process of legalization is the continual education of people. The best way to protect them is to make sure they are as informed as possible about all the benefits and drawbacks of using cannabis.
Heavy policing and severe punishments aren’t going to help others improve and be better; only education and freedom can achieve that.