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The "High's" of Legalizing Marijuana

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Affirmative

Affirmative Argument #4: Weed “Works”

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The legalization of marijuana has had greater effect in the states and their job creation than initially expected. Yes, weed is getting people high. Yes, weed is having a positive effect on growing the states economy. And yes, weed is increasing the tax base. This not only creates jobs, but has provided significant tax income in the states that have legalized it; which has had a positive effect of the states infrastructure including schools. According to an article by Christina Sarich on the Natural Society, “The marijuana industry only makes up 0.4 percent of Colorado’s 2.6 million jobs; all of the positions did not exist a year ago.” Even with the most conservative growth projections, this new industry has the ability to provide substantial job growth in an industry that didn’t occur just a few years ago. Since only 7 of the states in the US right now have legalized marijuana, even with a small fraction of the additional states in the US legalizing it you can see how this compounds the economic and employment benefits of the states. In addition, according to The Marijuana Policy Project, we currently spend 7.7 billion dollars in the enforcement of marijuana laws; which obviously 7 states have lifted. Therefore, if marijuana is legalized nationally then all of these funds can be utilized towards other enforcement programs to make our country a safer place.

Affirmative Argument #3: Put Marijuana Prohibition to an End!

I would like to discuss certain issues of why marijuana should not be illegal in the United States. In this country, marijuana prohibition has greatly failed as a policy. People are being arrested for possessing only small amounts of marijuana, which leaves permanent criminal records, causing the following:

  • The withdrawal of a professional license
  • The suspension of a driver’s license
  • The inability to obtain insurance, a mortgage or further bank loans
  • The denial of access to public housing
  • The loss of student financial aid

Aside from these excessively and permanently being on your criminal record, there is a much bigger problem is occurring: overcrowding of prisons. Many people are not aware that drug-related offenders make up almost half of all inmates in these overcrowded prisons. Also, minorities (particularly those of color) are being arrested and imprisoned at nearly 10 times the rate that white people are. This is in despite of the fact that both smoke marijuana at almost equal rates.

It is a common belief and now a fact that marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, and has been proven to have many medicinal benefits. Few of the many examples include:

  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Treating glaucoma
  • Reducing/stopping the spread of cancer
  • Easing pain
  • Boosts appetite for cancer patients going through chemo

It is almost impossible to overdose on marijuana, as there is no deadly limit. Some studies suggest that in order for marijuana to be fatal, it would take smoking nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana in one sitting to simply ingest enough THC.

Lastly, Colorado and Washington no longer face the issue of prison overcrowding, as people are not being arrested and imprisoned for smoking marijuana. Also, Colorado has made around $70 million in tax revenue in the last year. This money is being used towards helping people in need, such as our schools. Education receives a large amount of this revenue.

It is now the job of the United States lawmakers to put an end to the failed prohibition on marijuana. It is the job of the states to make the decision of whether or not they should make marijuana recreationally accessible. I believe it should be treated at the same level as alcohol, leading to an increase in taxpayer money. Legalizing marijuana will only benefit the United States in helping the patients who have been suffering, the children who deserve better education, and will end all prohibition issues.

Affirmative Argument #2

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To some, Marijuana is just a plant, but to others, marijuana helps soothe the pain away with those struggling. Aside from marijuana strongly helping the economy, marijuana has proven to be beneficial when it comes to reducing pain. It has become very popular as an alternative to medicine, because of the effects it has, taking away as much pain as possible. It is always hard to struggle with an illness, and not know how to make the pain go away. Legalizing marijuana would make life so much easier for those who really need it, but only time can tell what will end up happening. Many studies have been done for situations such as these. Researcher Mark Ware, MD states, “about 10% to 15% of patients attending a chronic pain clinic use cannabis as part of their pain [control] strategy.” Ware did a study to experiment with pain and marijuana, and the results definitely proved this theory. Ware states “a typical example, Ware tells WebMD, is a patient who had knee surgery and during the course of the operation the surgeon may have had no choice but to cut a nerve, leading to chronic pain after the surgery.” Clearly, this was a very painful operation, with one thing in mind to help ease the pain. Ware states, “after each of the five-day trials, participants rated their pain on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the worst.The highest dose, 9.4%, provided relief. They reduced their pain down to 5.4,” Those on placebo were at 6.1.” Just three puffs a day can have these strong effects, and patients who struggle are extremely lucky to have this. Evidently, marijuana strongly helped this patient get his pain down, which is why it should be legalized in order to help those struggling. Some may look at Marijuana as harmful, but in cases like this it’s something we as individuals really need.

Affirmative Argument #1

The legalization of marijuana brings with it many benefits that could positively affect the United States. In particular, one benefit is the economic benefit. There have been many predictions that by making weed legal the government would save mass amounts of money in several places, the first being in prisons. If marijuana were deemed legal, the crime rate would decrease, therefore allowing the government to cut prison spending. Also, according to S.E. Smith’s “Why we need to finally legalize marijuana” in the Daily Dot, “Cutting down on the number of men imprisoned for drug-related offenses also has indirect economic benefits, by keeping men in their own communities, an issue that was recognized as early as 1988. Systemic poverty can be directly linked to fractured communities, such as those that have been torn apart by the drug war.” This would greatly increase the savings of the government’s money.

Also, legalization of marijuana benefits the economy in regards to taxes. For example, Colorado’s pot legalization legislation, Amendment 64, is estimated to create $60 million for the state in combined savings and additional tax revenue. Moreover, Forbes reported that including lost tax revenues, enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers $41.8 billion annually. Aside from Colorado, California evidently benefits from legalization of marijuana. The city of Oakland, California raised $1.3 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, which is 3 percent of the city’s total business tax revenue, according to The New York Times.

Evidently, the legalization of marijuana would greatly benefit the economy. There has been an estimate that the impact of the marijuana industry could soar to $24.4 billion. According to Sean William’s “Marijuana Could Have a Surprising Economic Impact, New Report Shows,” “the other source of frustration is that most financial institutions are avoiding working with marijuana businesses due to fear of federal prosecution and/or fines from the federal government at a later date.” Overall, marijuana surprisingly has a strong impact on individuals and the economy, and legalizing it would only help.

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