One of the most prominent issues in American culture is slowly working its way from the couches of stoners to the desks of state officials; the issue is whether or not America is ready for the use of recreational marijuana. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have blazed the trail on this issue by vaporizing their states’ marijuana laws. Like any issue though, there are two very divided sides. Skeptics will argue, but the research is there. Many states have begun using marijuana to treat a variety of medical conditions such as cancer, hyperthyroidism and insomnia (United). But is America ready to indulge in marijuana much in the way we consume alcohol? Would legalizing marijuana deter crime? Will crime rates go up? Can the taxes collected from dispensaries help boost the economy? Are the risks worth the reward? These are all questions many state lawmakers will have to answer as they decide whether or not their state is ready to legalize recreational marijuana.
There is no shortage of strong opposition to Amendment 64, which in summary states that: the personal use, possession and limited cultivation is now legal for people over the age of twenty-one. Furthermore the amendment removes any legal penalties associated with the previously mentioned cases. (Overview of Amendment 64) A publication by the DEA or Drug Enforcement Agency makes a great point in saying “We are public safety experts who have witnessed first-hand the damage and horror that drug abuse visits on society.” in Colorado Denver Police received 1,113 substance abuse calls from January to July of 2013. From January to July of the following year the amount of substance abuse calls increased...
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...out. Granted, ending cannabis prohibition will not single handily save the American economy, it will free up our public services and help generate additional income that can improve our quality of life. For this reason I offer a compromise. I suggest that a percentage of the revenues generated from the sales of marijuana be set aside specifically for funding, research and raising awareness for mental health. However at the end of the day self-control cannot be disregarded. It is up to the consumer to know when enough is enough and when the substance has become a problem it is the consumer’s responsibility for seeking help. It is extremely important that we educate our young people on the possible outcomes of marijuana abuse and the additional funding generated by taxing consumers and producers can provide educators a platform to stand on and a podium to speak from.
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