If you want to ignite a controversial conversation, just bring up the topic of marijuana legalization. It’s currently a hot-button discussion in America, but mostly because a lot of people are misinformed about the facts.
The roll-out of legalizing cannabis has been a state-wide thing, adding to the confusion. Throw in some perfectly harmless CBD products over-the-counter, and it’s a recipe for a lot of false knowledge.
The truth about marijuana legalization is actually pretty simple when it’s not clouded with judgment and wrong info. If you want the real scoop behind cannabis laws, these five facts are for you.
1. Most of the Country Has Legalized Marijuana (In Some Form)
The legalization of cannabis in individual states has been going on for over a decade. Currently, the capital of the country, Washington D.C., and four other states have no restrictions on the use of marijuana for people 21 and up. Like smoking, you can possess and consume cannabis as long as you’re following the rules where you are.
In 19 states, including the recently adopted state of Ohio, marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes. If you have a medical marijuana (MMJ) card, you’re allowed to buy, possess, and use cannabis. To find a doctor that prescribes an MMJ card, check out this article by Veriheal.
Even in the states that haven’t quite legalized it yet, 14 states have decriminalized marijuana. Other states allow people over 21 to use cannabis and have it on them.
The confusion in the legal status is because it’s regulated differently throughout the country. Some states reduced the penalty for possession, giving the person a fine instead. Other states have no penalty but regulate use through taxes.
2. Taxation of Marijuana Can Help Everyone
Legalizing cannabis means states can levy taxes on the product. We learned with cigarettes and other nicotine substances that taxing a product won’t stop users. And taxes on the marijuana industry have the potential to significantly impact the state’s budget.
For example, Colorado was one of the first states to legalize the substance. In 2014, reports from the state show it was receiving over $7.5 million in tax revenue every month from marijuana.
Doing the math, each state could stand to gain nearly one billion dollars in revenue from legalizing and taxing marijuana.
In addition to the revenue gained, decriminalizing the product means fewer people in jail using up tax money. It’s a financial win all the way around.
3. States With Legalized Marijuana Are Being Responsible
The arguments against legalization predicted it would lead to the destruction of the population. But states like Maine and Nevada are not dealing with chaos and anarchy. In fact, crime has diminished.
Statistics show that both states reported a decrease in violent crime post-legalization.
Arguments in support of legalizing cannabis include these facts and more. There are a few reasons why crime may be lowered in legalized states. One is that most citizens would rather buy their substances legally than in underground or black markets.
Additionally, law enforcement officers once spent their time patrolling and busting cannabis offenses. Now, they can focus on more severe crimes. And since marijuana, when used right, makes you relaxed and happy, the arguments against violence don’t make sense.
4. Marijuana Isn’t Legal Federally – Yet
If you’re caught with marijuana in a federal jurisdiction, such as an airport, you might be in hot water. But for the most part, no federal entities have stepped in to stop state decisions regarding legalization.
Under the Obama Administration, an official memo was released that informed the country of the “hands-off” attitude. His statement said that the Department of Justice was not going to challenge any state’s laws within reason. The states had to have laws that were strict regarding how it was sold and distributed, keeping it away from minors.
Unless you work for the federal government or live in a state that hasn’t legalized it yet, possessing cannabis probably won’t get you more than a slap on the hand.
5. Legalizing Marijuana Opens the Door to Health Benefits
Right now, physicians and researchers have to jump through hoops to get FDA approval for cannabis use. By the time a potential treatment is approved, the intended recipient’s condition may have deteriorated too far, or they could have died.
By legalizing cannabis, doctors have wide-open doors to use the drug for the medicinal purposes it was used for millennia. In fact, many studies link cannabis use with health benefits. Reduced nausea and pain during chemotherapy and fewer symptoms in patients with seizures are two examples.
Prescribing medical marijuana instead of addictive opioids helps reduce the opioid epidemic, too. The arguments against legalizing marijuana might just be holding the world back from its healing process.
It’s understandable that there are so many confused people engaging in the marijuana debate. But when you arm yourself with facts, it’s much easier to make an informed decision and spread knowledge, not misinformation.