Legalizing Marijuana (cannabis) is a controversial topic that is evolving each day in our country. As we move through this era of whether or not to legalize marijuana, the sides of the issue have been elevated through public opinion. Many people, today, advocate for marijuana to be legalized for medical purposes only and others advocate for both medical and recreational usage. Meanwhile, many still believe it should remain illegal for all usage. The purpose of this blog is to present all sides of the issue and to give information about it.
Currently, the federal government is letting the states decide about legalizing marijuana. Some states have begun the process to legalize it on two different levels. As of today, only nine states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 30 states have legalized the medical use of marijuana.
What is the difference between medical and recreational use? The medical use of marijuana refers to “using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Recreational marijuana, however, is used without medical reasoning, focusing on the THC component of the plant that provides users their ‘high.’
The assumed advantages that come from its legalization are both boosting the economy and supporting those that are in need of marijuana for its medical purposes. The Washington Post reports that, “Legalizing marijuana nationwide would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue and more than a million new jobs across the United States in the next decade, according to a new study.” The next step of reaching federal approval would expand its revenue even further.
On the medical side of the issue, marijuana can provide aid to those who are suffering from:
- Chronic pain
Meanwhile there are those who oppose legalization in any form. Marijuana is believed to be a ‘gateway drug’ that precludes the use of other illicit substances. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research suggests that marijuana is “linked to other substance abuse disorders and nicotine addiction.” The long-term effects of marijuana can have a negative effect on brain development.
Marijuana is also capable of impairing learning functions such as memory and critical thinking when used during the teen years, according to the NIBA. There are links to other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and other mental problems.
The smoke generated from marijuana can cause breathing problems and other lung complications for its users. When inhaled, marijuana goes deeper and is held longer than tobacco smoke, causing lung irritation.
A complication within the debate on the legalization of marijuana is the issue that other similar products such as tobacco and alcohol remain legal while marijuana does not; even though there are an overwhelming amount of case studies providing negative relations between the use of tobacco and alcohol related products and those that consume them.
The legalization of marijuana will continue to be a hot topic of debate. While some states are moving forward with legalizing marijuana both for recreational and medical purposes and many have already legalized it on some level, many states refuse to legalize it on any level.
If you are arrested on a drug related charge, or wish to discuss this complex issue, contact Miller & Wynn. Our attorneys have decades of experience. Call us at (770)-942-2720 or visit our website at www.MillerWynnLaw.com for more information.