The Pros & Cons of Legalized Marijuana (cont.)

Marijuana treats a variety of ailments.

Marijuana and cannabis oils have long been touted as effective holistic and natural methods of treating a variety of diseases and ailments. Although it’s not a “cure” for any disease, marijuana has been used to treat symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, body cramps, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s and more. In fact, marijuana is legal for such medicinal uses in 29 states.

States can reap economic benefits.

If marijuana is legalized, states can tax it and reap other economic benefits. The marijuana industry is estimated to have produced $10 billion in sales in 2017. The industry created 18,000 new jobs in Colorado in 2015 and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity, according to the Marijuana Policy Group. Permitting, regulating and managing the industry helps states benefit from an existing market legalizing it and removing its stigma.

Cons:

Marijuana is a gateway drug, and legalization leads to more addicts.

Legalization sends the wrong message to pre-adolescents and changes the “How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs” narrative from “Just Say No” to “Wait until You’re 21.” Teenagers have incentive to use marijuana if the stigma is removed. Teens may purchase marijuana at a dispensary just like beer, wine and other spirits are purchased at a liquor store. However, marijuana use adversely affects pre-adolescent brains. Chronic marijuana users can suffer from lower achievement and diminished IQ.  According to the Pew Research Center, 43 percent of Americans are against legalization. Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) says it’s a dangerous, psychoactive, addictive drug that impairs judgment and perception. Today’s marijuana is up to 40 times stronger than the marijuana of the 1960s. The majority of marijuana users continue to be young adults and teens.