It’s safe to say that American politics are quite divided. But one issue has united many Americans. An April 2021 survey revealed that 91 percent of Americans favor marijuana legalization.
But the visions for marijuana legalization differ. Some people advocate for the federal legalization of weed. Others want the states to decide for themselves, or they want to decriminalize it.
To understand the debate over the federal legality of weed, you need to break the issue down into pros and cons. What are the benefits of legalization, and what are the detriments?
You can answer this question today. Here is your quick guide.
Benefits of Legalizing Weed Federally
The federal legalization of weed can lead to increased profits. If the government were to sell or put taxes on marijuana, they could reap billions of dollars for government programs. Since legalizing marijuana in 2014, the state of Colorado has made more than 10 billion dollars.
The government selling marijuana can make it safer. Many dealers add pesticides or toxins to their plants in order to help them grow. The government can regulate plant production so this does not happen.
Legalization would encourage more medicinal uses. The FDA has approved several medications with chemicals derived from marijuana. They can treat nausea and stimulate appetite.
Marijuana may be able to diminish pain and induce sleep. Legalization would allow more scientific research into it. It would also allow patients to access it and use it for their various medical conditions.
The War on Drugs has fueled incarceration rates, especially for BIPOC people. Black Americans get arrested for marijuana offenses four times more often than white people.
A conviction for a marijuana offense can lead to lost job opportunities and discrimination. Legalizing weed would diminish America’s prison population and allow many Black men to live free lives.
Cons of Legalizing Weed Federally
The biggest argument against legalization relates to health. Smoking weed can damage a person’s lungs and throat. Chemicals in marijuana can trigger symptoms like hallucinations, especially in younger people.
Marijuana can impair a person just as alcohol can. This means that legalization could lead to increased traffic accidents.
Some people use drugs as a coping mechanism for trauma or anxiety. This can cause them to become addicted, even after health effects surface. Legalization will reinforce the idea that drugs are a crutch, preventing people from getting real help.
Marijuana may act as a gateway drug for other substances. A 2020 study found that marijuana use amongst teenagers can lead to opioid use later in life.
Most people opposed to legalizing marijuana are fine legalizing related substances. They approve of continued scientific research into weed and the use of hemp. But the hemp vs marijuana debate is still raging amongst opponents of weed.
The Federal Legalization of Weed Debate
The federal legalization of weed is a complicated issue. There could be substantial benefits from it.
The government can sell or tax weed and make billions of dollars. More people could use it for medical benefits, including pain relief. America’s criminal justice system would become more equitable.
But the health benefits are not entirely clear. Weed can damage teenagers’ brains and cause traffic accidents. It can lead to the use of other drugs later in life.
Keep reading about marijuana to make up your mind on the issue. Follow our coverage for more guides.