Should We Weed It Out?

Marijuana, weed, cannabis whatever you want to call it is now legal in over 20 states in the US.

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All states that have legalized Marijuana in 2017.   (Photo: Governing Magazine)

Although many refuse to acknowledge that cannabis has medical benefits, we see many cases in which patients suffering with diseases such as epilepsy benefit greatly from regular doses of the substance.  A British study from the University of Reading found that marijuana can help those suffering from epilepsy (a condition that afflicts one percent of the world) as THC has anti-convulsant properties. The researchers also resulted that it could potentially lead to an effective treatment with none of the negative side effects that more widely accepted medications present.

Alternative approaches to medical use, an expanding rejection of cannabis as a “dangerous substance,” and the popularity of the substance as a recreational mind-expanding drug are just some of the reasons why so many people start taking marijuana in the first place. So what is changing?  The legal stance in adopting and promoting these attitudes.

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Vancity Weed is a marijuana dispensary in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo:Vancity) 

In Colorado, a state that has legalized possession, sale, and manufacturing (growth) of Marijuana under state law, we are seeing an influx of “Marijuana Migrants” in order to help treat disease for themselves or for their loved ones. An example of a Marijuana Migrant family would be the Wilsons that moved from New Jersey to Colorado in early 2015. They chose to pick up and move when one their kids habitually suffered from severe seizures, and the medication that had been assigned to her was not effective. After the move (and the prescribed change of taking different strands of CBD oils derived from cannabis)  she now only suffers from a couple of seizures a month and can now attend school regularly.

Not only have people benefited from the legalization of the “drug,” states’ economies have also benefited. By taxing the substance at around 15%, states are seeing increased revenue from the legalization of the marijuana. In Colorado tax revenues went up nearly 100% after the legalization of the drug.  In fact, the greatest source of tax revenue in Colorado is from marijuana, and in just three years of the drug being legal, Colorado has made over 300 million dollars. Over 300 economists (as reported in the Huffington Post assess that legalizing pot could save the US $13.7 billion dollars, more support for the notion that the legalization of the drug could greatly help the growth of the economy.

Not only would the economy benefit from the legalization from the drug, but crime rates stand to be greatly reduced when the drug no longer invites the violence, theft, and corruption (not to mention criminal prosecutions, jail time, and police force work) that results from marijuana dealings remaining illegal.  We see that in Colorado crime rates dropped a staggering 14.6% since the legalization of pot. The legalization cracks down on the black market that supplies the drug, correspondingly linked with violent crimes.

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Study from WHO on the comparison Marijuana and Alcohol related deaths. (Photo: WHO)

Marijuana has been touted and condemned as a “gateway” drug for many young adults, meaning that pot is just the tip of the iceberg of the drug realm. But new studies are beginning to expose this as a myth. According to the Washington Post, the true gateway drug is Alcohol with nearly 54% of users experiments with other drugs.  Conversely, we see that Marijuana users have a 12% chance of experimenting with other drugs. Somewhat shocking to the opponents of legalized marijuana use, there has never, ever been a case of someone overdosing on pot, whilst on the other hand, there are nearly 88,000 deaths caused by alcohol overdoses alone. Essentially, consumption of this much maligned and controversial plant has proven over and over to be a much safer vice than alcohol consumption.

Perhaps we should take another look at this “drug” and consider how wider legalization perhaps presents more pros than cons in the medical, economic, and societal realms that have labeled it a “problem” throughout history.

 

Author: Alan McDermott

Alan McDermott is a senior year this and it is his sixth year in Singapore. This is his very first year on The Eye. Some of his favorite activities are training in MMA, and hanging out with his friends. Alan is half Irish and half Japanese, and prior to living in Singapore he lived in Japan. Alan can be contacted at mcdermott41888@sas.edu.sg

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