The United States government currently has a prohibition on marijuana but in some states, laws are being passed to allow medicinal use and recreational use of the controversial drug. The country is somewhat divided on the issue as 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of marijuana. There are positives to having marijuana legal for recreational use and some states have realized this and legalized it for recreational use for those over the age of 21.
One benefit of having marijuana legalized for recreational use is that it will lower crime rates. Research shows that in areas with marijuana legalized for recreational use crime has gone down due to the fact that marijuana does not have to be sold illegally. In California, violent crime arrests are down 16%, homicide down 26%, and drug arrests down 50% after the legalization for recreational use of marijuana. This is the lowest the crime rate has ever been in the state of California. In Colorado, the crime rate has dropped 5% since the legalization of marijuana. In other places as well crime rates have dropped especially in teens. This could keep more people out of jails which mean they could have a career and be a well-functioning member of society.
Another benefit of having marijuana legalized for recreational use is that the government makes millions upon millions of dollars and most of the money made goes directly to public schools. Marijuana is taxed in most places like alcohol is. Currently, the federal government has two taxes on marijuana, one that charges the producer $23 dollars a pound to go to the dispensaries and a 10% sales tax when the marijuana is sold to the consumer. In 2012 Washington (state) legalized marijuana for recreational use. Last year they raked in over 256 million dollars in marijuana taxes. California has marijuana legalized for recreational use and this year they are expecting upwards of a billion dollars in marijuana taxes.
One last importance of having legalized marijuana is the fact that it creates jobs. There have to be people to grow and harvest the marijuana plants as well as sell them. In Colorado alone, over 18000 new jobs have been created since the legalization of marijuana in 2012. These jobs put together made a profit of 2.4 billion dollars since they were created in 2012. This makes marijuana a stronger industry than 90% of other industries in Colorado. All of this has given Colorado one of fastest growing economies in the nation.
Some may argue that crime won’t go down because it will be easier for juveniles to get their hands on marijuana and since they can get their hands on cigarettes and other tobacco products they might think it will be the same, but facts show that in places that have marijuana legalized for recreational use juvenile crime rate has gone down since the legalization. It is true that marijuana is not the greatest for one’s mental health. On the other hand, tobacco is a very high-risk drug that causes more than 480,000 deaths just in America and compared to seven other drugs including alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and cocaine marijuana has the lowest mortality rate. This includes all users even if they use the drug all the time or just once.
It is often argued that the government does not need more money while at the same time the United states are around 20 billion dollars in debt and it is going up more and more each second. Also, most of the money goes directly to public schools which can pay for books and computers among other things that will help students learn. Opposing views claim that marijuana is super dangerous because of how addictive it is. However, proven research shows that the legal drugs nicotine and alcohol are much more addictive than any strain of marijuana. Even caffeine, which most people have on a daily basis, is more addictive than marijuana.
The legalization of recreational use of marijuana for those over the age of twenty-one would be key in helping everyone especially the youth and differences can already be seen in states that have marijuana legalized for recreational use. As shown above the legalization of marijuana for those over the age of twenty-one years old has more positive influences than negative influences. The legalization of marijuana across the country would keep youth out of jails, bring much-needed support to public education systems, and help provide jobs for our growing economy. Just imagine what it would be like if the crime rate drops seen in California happens across the country, if every student attending a public school could get the same education no matter what kind of neighborhood they live in, or if every state had thousands of more full-time jobs. America would be a much safer country, a much more intelligent one, and a much more productive one too.