On Balance, Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense

by Ashley Bidne

Widener University Political Science/Criminal Justice Major

Washington is now the second state to legalize the possession of marijuana. The new law decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce. However, users must be at least 21 and selling it still remains illegal. For a long time I have been against legalizing marijuana, but with more states legalizing it I feel that now is a great time to reexamine the issue.

Colorado’s Representative Jared Polis and Oregon’s Representative Earl Blumenauer are fighting to get marijuana legalized federally. In addition, economists are claiming that Washington and Colorado could receive an economic boost of up $550 million a year. According to the FBI, possession of marijuana is the cause of 43.3% of drug related arrests. With this in mind a majority of these criminals are being sent to prison along with our tax dollars. Incarcerating one inmate could cost between $30,000 and $60,000 a year depending on the state.

However, many people are not convinced that this is a sufficient reason to legalize marijuana. Therefore, I researched further into the side effects of smoking. The health effects of marijuana include, but are not limited to mental illnesses such as depression, lung irritation, and an increased heart rate. However, many of these side effects are common with drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.

If the federal government chooses to legalize marijuana, the US will be capable of regulating it and will no longer be paying to incarcerate 1000’s of inmates. Overall, the benefits seem to outweigh the cost of legalizing marijuana and my decision about legalizing marijuana has been changed with Washington’s legalization.


2 thoughts on “On Balance, Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense

  1. Dear Ashle, I invite you to check into the book by retired Cincinnati Police Captain Howard Rahtz. Before becoming a cop at age 42, Rahtz spent 20+ years as a drug rehab counselor and ED of the Alcoholism Council of Cincinnati. His concern is saving lives! Legalize it, reduce the cartel’s cash cow by 40-60%, tax it and further reduce their market by investing in drug treatment. Today, if you wanted to check into a rehab center in Cincinnati, you’d be put on an indefinite waiting list!! Rahtz is one of a growing number of law enforcement officers who are members of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Howard’s book is Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment. Thanks for your article! Robyn

  2. I didn’t know that they “predict” Colorado’s and Washington’s tax on marijuana to be that high. Regardless of the rules, it will still be sold illegally, consumed illegally, but that is unpreventable. Even if they kept it illegal, it will still be consumed if people want it. Why not try and make some profit out of it?

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