Since medical marijuana was first made lawful in California in 1996, the push for marijuana legalization has taken strides. Today, more than half of the states in America have already enforced the legal use of marijuana. But the advocacy still has miles of ground to cover, especially when the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) still considers marijuana illegal.
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance, the most restrictive classification of drugs. The DEA finds that marijuana has “no accepted medical use,” with “no adequate safety studies,” and that there is insufficient scientific evidence of its medicinal qualities.
On the contrary, there have been decades of scientific studies published in medical journals about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. The plant is more commonly prescribed as a safer and more effective analgesic for some of the most painful diseases, especially neuropathic pain. Unlike opiate drugs, marijuana is less addictive and poses no risk of a fatal overdose. It is also prescribed for alleviating symptoms of cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, and other neurological disorders. Advocates instead assert that prohibition is a barrier to furthering research on the best and most effective uses of marijuana.
There are other insidious ways marijuana prohibition may be causing more harm than good. Marijuana is currently the third most widely used recreational drug next to alcohol and tobacco, with more than 200 million Americans admitting to smoking pot in the past year. This inadvertently leads to hundreds of thousands of arrests annually, and persons of color are 3.7 times more likely to be prejudiced for marijuana possession.
Legalizing marijuana will save the government $10 billion and resources for enforcement can then be directed to more grave criminal offenses such as rape, murder, or robbery. Instead of the costly use of taxes for the enforcement of the prohibitive law, a legal marijuana industry can create billions of dollars in tax revenues. Proof of which are the many investors trying to get their investments in place for what is now considered as the fastest growing industry in America. Investors include Jeanne Sullivan, Adam Bierman, Richard Kimball, Leslie Brock, etc.
A legal marijuana industry would achieve the following goals: Help dismantle drug cartels operating in the black market, prevent the distribution of marijuana to minors, provide guidelines on the proper and safe use of the drug to prevent abuse, limit the variety of strains permitted for medical or recreational use, and limit the amount of cannabis permitted for home cultivation or personal possession.
Indeed, recognizing cannabis as a legal, regulated drug would only serve to promote its responsible trade and use.