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Dalan Andersen
Prof. Langi
Engl 1010

Retail Marijuana
In the ongoing debate of whether or not retail marijuana should be legalized,
to many peoples surprise, there are both pros and cons. Marijuana is mainly
thought of as a gateway drug, that leads to the use and abuse of many other
harder, more dangerous drugs. Most people know that it affects your state of
mind and can cause you to make bad choices you wouldnt normally make
while under its influence. Some people, myself included, just think it smells
really bad and avoid it wherever possible. However a few states, Washington
and Colorado, have already legalized retail use of marijuana and some
wonder why would they do this? What could possibly be the benefit of retail
marijuana? Although there are negative effects, there are a couple very
positive effects that have already affected these two states. I will discuss
with statistics and research that legalizing marijuanas positive effects
outweigh the negative effects and should be legalized nation-wide.
As mentioned before there are negative effects of marijuana use. Immediate
effects can include rapid heart-beat, lack of physical coordination, decreased
brain function, disorientation and is sometimes followed by depression or

sleepiness. Some users even have panic attacks or anxiety. It has even been
linked to long term effects such as brain abnormalities, deforming sperm
cells, and upsetting a womans menstrual cycle. Studies have also shown
that 99.99% of cocaine users, first start with marijuana use. You are thinking
to yourself by now there is no way that any so called positive effects of
legalizing retail marijuana could outweigh these negative effects. Well sit
back, put your feet up and get ready to change your mind on this topic.
First off I want to mention some possible outcomes on the economic value of
legalizing retail marijuana as well as the impact on crime it will have. Then I
will back up my argument with statistics from the states that have already
legalized it and you can see for yourself what the best decision is. The most
obvious positive impact it could have is increasing revenue for the
government. This happens fairly simply. Apply a high tax to retail marijuana.
This has happened before and continues to happen with products such as
alcohol. Alcohol is typically taxed at a rate of 25%. This is much more than
any normal state sales tax on other products like clothes, furniture and
electronics which, for example, in California is a base rate of 7.5%. As you
see these items can be taxed at over triple the amount of other products.
The state of Colorado, in the first eighteen months of legalization of
marijuana, took in about $184 million in tax revenue. At first you take a look
at that number and just think, wow that is a lot of money. Then you start to
wonder, what are they doing with all this money? Are they going to use this
for a good cause, or just fill their pockets more fully with cash. Well the state

of Colorado has used a major portion of this revenue to improve awareness


of marijuana use and the dangers it can bring. The state has also put that
money towards opening more programs for prevention of youth marijuana
use and treatment of substance use. They have also put a smaller portion
into law enforcement, and public safety.
This leads fairly easily into the impact on crime. Not only is tax revenue from
retail marijuana put directly towards law enforcement but, crime rates will
also decrease. There is obviously a direct correlation here as well. By retail
marijuana being made legal, less marijuana users are being arrested. There
are restrictions on how much you can buy in a day and possess at a certain
time in Colorado, so assuming that it would be very similar stipulations, there
will still be some marijuana related arrests. In the year following the
legalization of retail marijuana in the state of Washington, law violations
related to marijuana were down by 62%. They also noticed a decrease in
violent crime rates. Another positive is that there was no increase in youth
marijuana use.
I am sure by now your mind is blown. Now you know that are many positive
outcomes to legalizing marijuana. Law enforcement can worry more about
violent and more dangerous crimes rather than using so much time and
effort on marijuana violations. It also creates a large revenue stream for
state governments by taxation, giving them the opportunity to use the
money to help improve the quality of life in their respective states. If we can
assure the tax revenue goes towards nation-wide programs against drug

abuse this will be a gigantic step in the war on drugs. That is a war that we
need to use all the advantages we can possibly get. This is not just a
gimmick to attain some money. This is a great solution to attain money to
prevent future use of drugs. These pros much outweigh the cons of
legalizing retail marijuana. Youre welcome America.

Sources
GRAHAM, LAURA. Wisconsin International Law Journal. Spring2015, Vol. 33
Issue 1, p140-166. 27p.
All Things Considered. April 4, 2013; National Public Radio
Ross, Winston. In: Newsweek. Dec 4, 2015, Vol. 165 Issue 20; Newsweek LLC
MacCoun, Robert J.; Mello, Michelle M.; The New England Journal of Medicine,
Vol 372(11), Mar 12, 2015 pp. 989-991. Publisher: Massachusetts Medical
Society
Anderson, D. Mark; Rees, Daniel I.; Sabia, Joseph J.; American Journal of
Public Health, Vol 105(4), Apr, 2015 pp. e8-e9. Publisher: American Public
Health Assn