Just legalize it

Over 25 million; that is the number of annual marijuana users according to an article in “High Times” magazine. That is a large number, is there a reason why the government has failed to regulate the use and distribution of marijuana?

Cannabis is recorded to be the largest cash crop in the United States (High Times), and the third most used recreational drug, behind alcohol, and tobacco, that says something. It means Americans enjoy smoking weed, whether it be for medicinal purpose, or recreational, we smoke it, and a lot of it. So why doesn’t the government figure out a way to tax marijuana and make it legal?

We all know by now that Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana use, and the first week numbers for the sales in Colorado are staggering, over five million dollars worth of marijuana was sold in the first week alone. Think about that and ask yourself this, if a the state of Colorado can make five million plus dollars in the first week of sales, what could the state of California make, which in nearly double the size of Colorado, there is a lot of money to be made here. When you think about all the drinking and driving that goes on around us, all the lives that are lost due to alcohol abuse, the way alcohol can rip a family apart, around 50,000 people a year die due to alcohol poisoning, and around 400,000 due to tobacco. When you compare marijuana to both alcohol and tobacco, you will find that weed is non-toxic and cannot cause an overdose.

This only leads me to ask, why is marijuana illegal again? There has never been an overdose due to smoking weed, but I bet you can find several people that have had to be rushed to the hospital and have their stomach pumped due to alcohol poisoning. That just doesn’t happen with marijuana. Many people claim that marijuana is highly addictive, but that is just not the case. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, reported that marijuana leads to addiction at around a 10 percent rate of adult users, while cocaine hooks about 20 percent, heroin gets around 25 percent, and the worst, tobacco, with a 30 percent addiction rate. As a regular user I will say from experience, I have never even felt half as bad smoking weed as I have when I’ve had a drunken night.

People make stupid decisions when alcohol is involved, I’m not saying people don’t do that with marijuana, but I can confidently say the number is extremely lower. Not to mention the amount of people that are arrested and jailed due to marijuana, that number could be dramatically lowered with the legalization of marijuana. Enforcing prohibition on marijuana is costing tax payers billions, annually, 10 billion to be exact. The arrest rate is 740,000 people a year, which is nearly one million Americans arrested a year for marijuana. That number is higher than the combined arrests of all violent crimes committed, such as, murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, there is something wrong with that stat.

We need to stop jailing Americans for such petty things such as marijuana, and focus on the individuals that are out here killing our brothers and sisters, selling crack to the addicts, raping our women, and endangering our children out here with weapons and drugs. Weed is from the earth, it’s a plant that grows when nurtured properly, you don’t need to cook it up, and add dangerous chemicals to it. With the proper regulations and taxes I see no reason why we can’t all relax after we fulfill our work or school duties and smoke a joint, the same way people drink a beer.