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Why Should We Legalize?

Reduce harm
The criminalization of marijuana use disproportionately harms young people and people
of color, sponsors massive levels of violence and corruption, and fails to curb youth

Create jobs
Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation's largest cash crops
under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal
economy instead of the illicit market.

Save money
Scarce law enforcement resources will be better used to ensure public safety while
reducing corrections and court costs. State and local governments would acquire
significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales.

Promote consumer safety

Marijuana product testing is becoming a standard requirement for legalized marijuana
markets. This means consumers are better informed about the marijuana they use.

DPA product safety recommendations

 Consumers should consider requesting information on any pesticides,

fungicides, fertilizers, or any other residual solvents that could remain on
flowers after the cultivation process.

 Consumers should be sure to inquire about the potency and dosage of an

edible product, especially if they are a novice consumer or if the package is
not clearly labeled.

 Testing for mold, fungus, bacteria, and other microbial organisms should be
required to ensure safety and quality. The effects of consuming some of these
chemicals, especially in the immunocompromised, could be significant.

 Flowers and other cannabis products sold to consumers should include

cannabinoid profiles on labels, including the content of THC, CBD and other
major cannabinoids, and the number and concentration of doses. This is
especially important for edible products, which can contain widely varying
doses of cannabis.
12 Pros & Cons Of Marijuana Legalization
It’s been only almost six years since the first week of November 2012, when Colorado and
Washington became the first two states in the Union to legalize recreational marijuana. It’s been
only four-and-a-half years since December 2013/January 2014, when public sales of the wacky
weed weren’t a criminal offense. Oh, how far we’ve come in sucNow, nine states have laws on
the books making recreational marijuana sales and use legal. A further twenty have
legalized medical marijuana use, but have yet to address the recreational issue. So even though
more than half of these United States have declared one form or the other of marijuana use
legal, the federal government still views marijuana sales and use as on par with that of heroin or

The states that have taken steps to legalize public pot sales can offer a whole list of benefits.
The states—and the federal government—that haven’t decriminalized recreational and medical
marijuana, are still holding tight to a list of disadvantages.

What are those pros and cons? Honest Marijuana has compiled the most common legalization
of cannabis pros and cons here in one place for your edification.

The Pros Of Marijuana Legalization

Before you transform into an angry troll and start yelling at us, “What about X?” or “What about
Y?”, please understand that this is not an exhaustive list of the legalization of cannabis pros and
cons. It is merely a collection of the most common arguments used to support or oppose the
legalization issue.

Many of the benefits below, which were once only theoretical, have since been proven true in
the states that have gone all-in by legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana sales and

1) Dismantling Of The Black Market

For decades, the black market was really the only place to find marijuana. Sure, your friend’s
brother always seemed to have some on hand, but where did he get it from?

Chances are he knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who was a drug
dealer or involved in organized crime (i.e., the mafia or mob). Some of those drug dealers and
mafioso even had ties to terrorist organizations in other countries.

The legalization of marijuana either put them out of business or made them go legit. Now, the
black market is almost completely gone. Cannabis dispensaries are registered with the state.
They are regulated. They are taxed. And that’s good news for everyone involved…except the
bad guys, of course.

2) Improved Quality & Safety Control

As the recent fentanyl-laced-heroin problem brought to light, there is really no way for
end users to know exactly what they’re getting when they purchase marijuana off the
street. Legalizing marijuana, on the other hand, immediately creates a set of standards
for quality and safety control.

We’ve seen how this can work in the alcohol and tobacco industries, and it
will certainly transfer into the marijuana industry. Now, users will know they’re getting
exactly what they’re paying for. Nothing more, nothing less.

Improved quality and safety control also translates into less of a burden on the medical
system. There is less of a risk of serious problems occurring due to overdoses on
unknown substances hidden in the marijuana that is sold on the streets.

3) Increased Tax Revenue

One of the biggest pros that have come from the legalization debate is that of increased
tax revenue. To illustrate the point, legal sales of cannabis products amounted to $996
million in 2015. That’s almost a billion dollars spent!

And the tax revenue collected off those sales was equally as staggering—$135 million.
That money can be used to fix roads, fund public projects, improve schools, hire more
police and firefighters…the list goes on and on.

4) Availability Of Medicinal Cannabis

Medical marijuana (both THC and CBD) has been proven to treat a wide array of
“untreatable” conditions including:

 Crohn’s disease
 Epilepsy
 Multiple sclerosis
 Migraines
 Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
 Cancer
 Problems due to chemotherapy
 Chronic pain
 Anxiety
 Inflammation
 Psychosis
 Insomnia
 Loss of appetite
 Nausea
 Seizures
 Nervous system degeneration
 High blood sugar
 Psoriasis
 Bone growth
 Bacterial growth

Making medical cannabis products available would mean improved public health and
less of a drain on the healthcare system. That would result in more public funds being
available for roads, schools, and other public safety initiatives.

5) Decrease In Gang-Related Drug Violence

Gang-related drug violence is still a very real part of life in many urban areas around the
country. But the legalization of recreational marijuana would remove one of those
sources of dispute.

In the states where marijuana is completely legal, those who encounter injustice of
some type can now turn to the police and the court system rather than turning to
vigilantism. That benefits not just their safety, but the safety of the public at large who
were often innocent victims of gang-related drug violence.

6) Allows Police & Courts To Focus On More Violent

Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana would do two very important things:

 Provide the police and the courts with more money (through tax revenue)
 Give them more time to focus on more violent crimes

Better funding means more individuals to handle the load. And more time means more
attention paid to preventing violent crimes. Too often, both the police and the court
system are overwhelmedwith handling individuals brought in
for simply possessing marijuana.
The problem was, under the law, those individuals had to be treated as though they
were carrying meth, heroin, or cocaine. That flooded the court system and overcrowded
our prison system. Legalizing marijuana would relieve the pressure on these already-
overworked public servants.

recreational drug.

Did You Know?

Before the 20th century, cannabis plants in the U.S. were relatively unregulated,
and marijuana was a common ingredient in medicines.

As of 2018, the U.S. government claims the right to, and does, criminalize the
growing, selling, and possession of marijuana in all states. This right is not given
to them by the Constitution, but by the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably in their
2005 ruling in Gonzales v. Raich, which again upheld the right of the federal
government to ban marijuana use in all states, in spite of the dissenting voice of
Justice Clarence Thomas, who stated: "By holding that Congress may regulate
activity that is neither interstate nor commerce under the Interstate Commerce
Clause, the Court abandons any attempt to enforce the Constitution's limits on
federal power."

Brief History

Recreational use of marijuana was thought to have been introduced in the U.S.
early in the 20th century by immigrants from Mexico. In the 1930s, marijuana
was linked publicly in several research studies, and via a famed 1936 film named
"Reefer Madness" to crime, violence, and anti-social behavior.

Many believe that objections to marijuana first rose sharply as part of the U.S.
temperance movement against alcohol. Others claim that marijuana was initially
demonized partly due to fears of the Mexican immigrants associated with the

In the 21st century, marijuana is illegal in the U.S. ostensibly due to moral and
public health reasons, and because of continuing concern over violence and crime
associated with production and distribution of the drug.

In spite of federal regulations, nine states have voted to legalize the growth, use,
and distribution of marijuana within their borders. And many others are debating
whether or not to do the same.

Pros and Cons of Legalization

Primary reasons in support of legalizing marijuana include:

Social Reasons

 Prohibition of marijuana is unwarranted government intrusion into

individual freedom of choice.
 Marijuana is no more harmful to a person's health than alcohol or tobacco,
which are both legal and widely used, and regulated by the U.S. Food &
Drug Administration.
 Marijuana has proven medical benefits for patients suffering from a host of
ailments and diseases, including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma.
 Crime and violence, both within the U.S. and at the U.S.-Mexico border,
are greatly increased due to illegal selling and buying of marijuana.
Legalization would logically end the need for such criminal behavior.

Law Enforcement Reasons

 According to the FBI Unified Crime Statistics, 587,700 people were

arrested in 2016 for marijuana-related crimes, more than for all violent
crimes like murder and rape combined. As a result, marijuana arrests place
an undue burden on our judicial system.
 Drug busts of youth for marijuana offenses often carry harsh penalties that
can cause undue social harm with lifelong consequences.

Fiscal Reasons

 Marijuana is one of America's top-selling agricultural products. According

to the Colorado Department of Revenue, combined four-year sales of
marijuana for that state since it legalized cannabis in 2014 has now topped
$4.5 billion.
 "... mainstream pundits like Fox News' Glenn Beck and CNN's Jack
Cafferty have publicly questioned the billions spent each year fighting the
endless war against drugs," per the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009.

If marijuana was legalized and regulated, an estimated $8 billion would be saved

annually in government spending on enforcement, including for the FBI and
U.S.-Mexico border security.

Primary reasons against legalizing marijuana include:

Social Reasons
 Much in the same way that pro-life advocates seek to make abortion illegal
for all based on moral grounds, so too do some Americans wish to make
marijuana illegal because they believe its use is immoral.
 Long-term or abusive use of marijuana can be harmful to a person's health
and well-being.
 Second-hand smoke from marijuana can be harmful to others.
 Many allege that regular marijuana use can lead to the use of harder, more
harmful drugs such as heroin and cocaine.

Law Enforcement Reasons

 Some opponents of legalizing marijuana believe that individuals involved

in illegal buying and selling of the drug are more likely than average to be
involved in other crimes and that society is safer with marijuana offenders
 Law enforcement agencies don't want to be construed as supporting drug

There are no significant fiscal reasons against U.S. legalization of marijuana.

Legal Background

The following are milestones of federal marijuana enforcement in U.S. history:

 Prohibition, 1919 to 1933: As the use of marijuana became popular in

response to alcohol prohibition, conservative anti-drug campaigners railed
against the "Marijuana Menace," linking the drug to crime, violence, and
other bad behaviors.
 1930, Federal Bureau of Narcotics established: By 1931, 29 states had
criminalized marijuana.
 Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1932: This act pushed the states, rather than
federal authorities, to regulate narcotics.
 Marijuana Tax Act of 1937: People who sought certain medical benefits of
marijuana could now do so freely, provided they paid an excise tax.
 1944, New York Academy of Medicine: The esteemed institution bucked
current thinking by putting out a report finding that marijuana does not
"induce violence, insanity or sex crimes."
 Narcotics Control Act of 1956: This piece of legislation set mandatory
prison sentences and fines for drug offenses, including for marijuana.
 1960s Counter-Culture Movement: U.S. marijuana use grew rapidly during
this time. Studies commissioned by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson
concluded that "marijuana use did not induce violence."
 1970: Congress repealed mandatory penalties for drug offenses. Marijuana
was differentiated from other drugs. Per PBS, "It was widely acknowledged
that the mandatory minimum sentences of the 1950s had done nothing to
eliminate the drug culture that embraced marijuana use throughout the
60s... "
 1973, Drug Enforcement Agency: President Nixon created the DEA to
enforce the controlled substances regulations and laws of the United
 Oregon Decriminalization Bill of 1973: In spite of federal
regulations, Oregon becomes the first state to decriminalize marijuana.
 1976, Conservative Christian Groups: Led by Rev. Jerry Falwell's Moral
Majority, rising conservative groups lobbied for stricter marijuana laws.
The coalition grew powerful, leading to the 1980s "War on Drugs."
 The Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1978: By passing
this act in its legislature, New Mexico became the first state in the Union to
legally recognize the medical value of marijuana.
 Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986: Pushed for and signed by President Reagan,
the act raised penalties for marijuana offenses and established harsh
mandatory "three strikes" sentencing laws.

 1989, New "War on Drugs": In his Presidential Address of September 5,

George H.W. Bush outlined a new strategy to combat the evils of drug use
and trafficking, led by Bill Benett, the nation's first-ever drug policy
 1996 in California: Voters legalized marijuana use for cancer, AIDS,
glaucoma, and other patients, via a doctor's prescription.
 1996 to 2018, nationwide: The war on drugs continues, yet marijuana is
either legalized for consumption, legalized for medical use, or
decriminalized in 42 states.
 February 25, 2009: Attorney General Eric Holder announced that "federal
agents will now target marijuana distributors only when they violate both
federal and state laws," which effectively meant that if a state had legalized
marijuana, the Obama administration would not override state law.
 Cole Memorandum of 2013: US Attorney General James M. Cole conveys
to federal prosecutors that they should not expend resources prosecuting
state-legal marijuana businesses, except in the case of one of eight law
enforcement priorities, such as distributing pot to minors or across state

 2018: Vermont becomes the first state to legalize recreational cannabis by

way of the state legislature.
 January 4, 2018: Attorney Jeff Sessions rescinds a trio of Obama-era rules,
including the Holder and Cole memorandums, which had adopted a policy
of non-intervention in marijuana-friendly states.

Moves to Legalize

On June 23, 2011, a federal bill to fully legalize marijuana was introduced in the
House by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA.) Said
Congressman Frank to the Christian Science Monitor of the bill:

"Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a

waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom. I do
not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana, neither do I urge them to drink
alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco, but in none of these cases do I think
prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."

Another bill to decriminalize marijuana across the country was introduced on

February 5, 2013, by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

Neither of the two bills made it out of the House.

The states, on the other hand, have taken matters into their own hands. By 2018,
nine states and Washington, D.C. had legalized recreational use of marijuana by
adults. Thirteen additional states have decriminalized marijuana, and a full 30
allow its use in medical treatment. By January 1, 2018, legalization was on the
docket for another 12 states.

Federal Push Back

To date, no U.S. president has supported the decriminalization of marijuana, not

even President Barack Obama, who, when asked at a March 2009 online town
hall about marijuana legalization, laughingly demurred,

"I don't know what this says about the online audience.” He then continued, "But,
no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.” This in spite of
the fact that Obama told the crowd at his 2004 appearance at Northwestern
University, "I think the war on drugs has been a failure, and I think we need to
rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws."

Almost one year into Donald Trump’s presidency, Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
in a January 4, 2018 memo to United States Attorneys, rescinded the Obama-era
policies discouraging federal prosecution of marijuana cases in those states where
the drug was legal. This move outraged many pro-legalization advocates on both
sides of the aisle, including conservative political activists Charles and David
Koch, whose general counsel, Mark Holden, blasted both Trump and Sessions for
the move. Roger Stone, President Trump’s former campaign adviser, called the
move by Sessions a “cataclysmic mistake."

If any president were to publicly support the nationwide decriminalization of

marijuana, he or she would likely do so by granting states the jurisdiction to
decide this issue, just as states decide marriage laws for their residents.

Top 10 Pro & Con Arguments

Should marijuana be a medical option?

1. Physician Perspectives
2. Medical Organizations' Opinions
3. US Government Officials' Views
4. Health Risks of Smoked Marijuana
5. More Physician Perspectives

6. Marijuana and Pain

7. Marijuana vs. Marinol
8. Addictiveness of Marijuana
9. "Gateway" Effect
10.Medical Marijuana Use by Kids

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