Change of pace with marijuana legalization

Marijuana legalization is making tremendous strides in the United States and support for legalization is outpacing the opposition. 

Marijuana is currently legal for recreational use in four states: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Recently, Washington, D.C. passed recreational pot use, which means congress can legally get high before they go and vote on any marijuana laws. 

Around 40 percent of Americans have reported trying marijuana at least once, while a slim majority of 52 percent  support legalization throughout the country. It’s easy to see why, considering marijuana possesses a wide-range of medical benefits and has the potential to be a cash crop. 

So then, why is it still illegal? Many anti-legalization groups believe there isn’t enough science to support the medical benefits and legalization would set a bad precedent for younger generations. This logic is wrong on many levels.

According to the federal government, marijuana is a schedule I narcotic, which means there are no acceptable medical uses and has a high potential for abuse. Other drugs on the schedule I list include heroin and LSD, while drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine only qualify as schedule II narcotics, substances that have a high potential for abuse, but less potential for abuse than schedule I.

The federal government firmly believes that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no medical benefits, but there are countless individuals who have experienced the plant’s healing abilities.

“If it wasn’t for medical marijuana I would have severe back pain and social anxiety,” said Chris Graham, a medical marijuana patient at Sonoma State. “It’s nice to treat myself with a natural remedy, rather than a prescription medication.”

I find it hard to believe that marijuana has “no acceptable medical use” when the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion found that 73 percent of doctors supported use of marijuana to treat nausea, pain and other symptoms associated with AIDS, cancer and glaucoma. However, the federal government still holds the stance that marijuana is a dangerous and abusive drug  with no medical properties. 

This is absurd. Considering, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, and four states as well as the nation’s capital have legalized recreational use. 

It’s evident that many Americans are starting to realize that this war on drugs is a joke and that marijuana belongs in this nation’s culture. 

There is a dark side to the war on marijuana, which is the 700,000 people every year arrested for marijuana violation. 88 percent of those arrests were for possession only. 

According to the White House there aren’t many people in state or federal prison for marijuana-related crimes. 

Jeff Mizanskey, from Missouri, would disagree, considering he is serving a life sentence without parole, because he was found in possession of seven pounds of marijuana. Mizanskey had two prior non-violent felony pot convictions, which set him up for this life sentence. 

Life for Pot currently lists 25 other non-violent offenders who are serving life in prison for marijuana-related crimes. 

Marijuana is a multi-billion dollar industry, and currently all of that revenue goes directly to cartels and criminal gangs. In the first four months of legal marijuana sales, Colorado generated over $10 million in taxes, and the first $40 million of the tax revenue collected by the state is going directly to the public school system. 

Imagine if a state like California did that. We are a state known for our beautiful beaches, warm weather and also as one of the premiere locations in the world for outdoor marijuana cultivation. Highly regarded strains such as Grand Daddy Purple, and OG Kush have their origins in California, and some of best the growers in the world reside in this state. There is no doubt that if weed were legal, California would be one of the most sought after tourists spots for marijuana lovers.  

I am dumbfounded there are still people out there that regard marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical benefits and support federal prohibition. Those people need to open their eyes and realize people stand to gain a lot from legalization, and blindingly supporting anti-legislation is hurting the people of this country. 

I could care less if someone smokes or doesn’t smoke marijuana. One thing that does bother me is the fact there are still people out there doing everything in their power to keep this potentially life-changing plant illegal. 

The movement for marijuana legalization is moving at a steady fast pace, but more people need to wake up and realize this prohibition is only holding the country back.