The legalization of marijuana is a very large and current debate in the United States. Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have already legalized medical use of marijuana, and Washington and Colorado have gone a step further and legalized regulated recreational use. The purpose of this paper is to persuade voters to push the federal government to legalize marijuana, at least for medical use.
Marijuana is a naturally occurring plant that contains THC, the active ingredient that causes its psychoactive effects. It has a rich history in the US, dating back to 17th century colonies, but has been prohibited by law since the mid-1930s. In comparison to other legalized drugs, marijuana’s risks are somewhat limited, but they do exist. The staggering number of users and the potential for addiction, illness, and impairment are some of the main reasons policymakers have been hesitant to legalize the drug. On the other hand, its therapeutic benefits include pain relief, nausea reduction, and appetite stimulant, among many others. While smoking marijuana is proven to be harmful, there are other ways to administer the drug, such as orally with edible products.
Taking into consideration the recommendations presented in this white paper, marijuana legalization would be beneficial to the government, healthy citizens, and patients with serious illnesses. These recommendations include taking the first step and legalizing edible marijuana for medical use, imposing a high tax on legalized recreational marijuana, and implementing control regulations to limit reduce overall consumption and limit harmful effects on society.