Opinion Blog Post Re-crafted: Marijuana Legalization

President Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana in his teenage years. [2] There was no reprimand, the police were not involved, he did not even try to hide it. Yet, smoking marijuana is punishable to up to three years in prison in the United States! And he’s not alone, some of the most successful people on earth have smoked weed in the past, people like Bill Gates, Carl Sagan, and Oprah Winfrey [7] are just a few examples. Moreover, should marijuana be illegal at all? The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of hot debate in Canada and the world at large. Although I don’t consume or endorse drugs, I support the legalization of weed, and so do the majority of Canadians. [1] Marijuana should be legal in Canada because it is not dangerous or excessively harmful, keeping it illegal places heavy strain on our legal system, and legalization would strengthen our economy.

First, marijuana is not dangerous and does not put the user at much medical risk in the short or long term. Marijuana is much less dangerous then alcohol, [2] with alcohol poisoning and drunkenness related accidents taking thousands of Canadian’s lives each year. [5] While there are no deaths attributed to marijuana consumption. [8] In addition, the smoking of marijuana is also vastly better for your lungs then cigarettes. [2] If these two substances are worse for you in both the short and long term, yet are legal. Then why shouldn’t marijuana be legal as well? There is also strong evidence that marijuana can have positive health benefits. It is often prescribed to treat muscle spasms caused by Multiple Sclerosis, nausea from cancer chemotherapy, and deter poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness. [4] While marijuana can be prescribed medicinally in Canada, legalization would allow easier access to the drug for those in need. It would also make it easier to study its effects and potential as a treatment. In conclusion, marijuana should be made legal because it is less harmful then cigarettes and alcohol, and it even can have positive health benefits.

Second, keeping marijuana illegal puts heavy strain on our legal system and how we administer justice as a nation. In 2011, 61,406 people were arrested for pot possession in Canada, [6] all of which need to be processed by our legal system, costing thousands of man hours and taking away from cases that much more desperately require the attention of the law. It also results in overcrowding of our prisons. [6] Keeping it illegal also supports organized crime. One of the key sources of income for organized crime in Canada is the trade of marijuana, and if the government were to tax and control the sale of the narcotic, this income would be taken away from the black market. Overall crime in Canada would decrease as the largest area of the drug trade dried up. Overall, by legalizing and controlling the sale of weed, the government would have less drug arrests to process, prison overcrowding would become much less of an issue, and crime in Canada would overall lower as organized crime becomes less of a threat.

Finally, legalizing marijuana would have astronomical financial benefits for the Canadian government. For one, taxing and controlling the sale of the drug would cause a large amount of money being collected for the Canadian government. In the American state of Colorado, the sale of marijuana is legal and controlled by the government, this resulted in 2.1 million dollars being made by the state in the first month, or about 40 cents per citizen of Colorado. [3] Assuming similar income will be made in Canada, we would see an additional income of 162 million dollars of tax money going to support our government in the first year. [3] Rather than this money supporting organized crime, we would see it directly benefiting Canadian citizens. But that’s not all, an estimated that over a billion dollars could be saved by the move, due to the current extremely expensive process of prosecuting marijuana smokers. [3] As a result of legalizing weed, the financial straits of our nation would be heavily lowered, and the money could be used to support other areas then this fruitless prosecution of recreational marijuana use.

In Conclusion, recreational marijuana consumption should be legal in Canada. Marijuana It is generally less hazardous for your health then alcohol or cigarettes and could have health benefits. Legalization of pot would also take a key source of income from organized crime and cause further income for the Canadian government. Legalization of weed would be greatly beneficial to our nation, and is something to look forward to in the future of Canadian politics.

 

[ 1] Ubelacker, Sheryl, Marijuana Legalization In Canada Could Be On Horizon As Attitudes Mellow, The Canadian Press, 12/22/2014 http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/22/marijuana-legalization-canada-pot_n_6366646.html

[2] Brownstein, Joe, Marijuana vs. Alcohol: Which Is Really Worse for Your Health?, livescience, January 21, 2014

http://www.livescience.com/42738-marijuana-vs-alcohol-health-effects.html

[3] Author unclear, <www.leafscience.com/2014/03/26/much-money-canada-make-marijuana-legal/> (the listed site is blocked by the school wifi for mentioning drugs, date could not be listed but is on page)

[4] Harding, Anne, Medical Marijuana, WebMD Feature,

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/medical-marijuana-uses

[5] CCSA,. Alcohol. CCSA, 2014. Print.

http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Canadian-Drug-Summary-Alcohol-2014-en.pdf

[6] MacQueen, Ken. ‘Why It’S Time To Legalize Marijuana’. Macleans 2013. Web. 17 June 2015.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/why-its-time-to-legalize-marijuana/

[7] Rilley, Ryan. ’50 Successful Marijuana Users Who Prove The Person Matters More Than The Plant’. Huff Post 2014. Web. 17 June 2015.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/18/most-famous-marijuana-users_n_5160073.html

[8] “Marijuana Decriminalization & Its Impact on Use” About Marijuana, Norml, http://norml.org/aboutmarijuana/item/marijuana-decriminalization-its-impact-on-use-2

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