Taking a leaf out of Canada’s book?

Marijuana or weed is a greenish grey mixture of dried flowers of the plant Cannabis Satvia. Its legalization is one of the few subjects which stirs strong emotions among doctors, researchers, politicians, scientists and policy makers. The debate has numerous takes and significant research and reasons to back each

This issue of legalization further involves the distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana. Recreational marijuana, as the name suggests, is the use of marijuana for induced contentment while in the medical field it is used for the treatment of certain ailments. This has raised a complicated issue of whether only medical marijuana should be legalized or also recreational.

Before delving into the economic benefits and losses of marijuana we must note its benefits and contribution in the medical field. Marijuana has been seen to cure chronic pains, control glaucoma, spasms and seizures. Its ongoing research claims to also kill cancer cells and many believe t. So ideally speaking, criminalisation of marijuana is a huge loss because it, being illegal, cannot be researched further. Having said this, we must also keep in mind that medical marijuana may be purchased by people and used for recreation, thus defeating the purpose of legalizing only medical marijuana. This was seen in Canada, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2003. Cannabis dispensary neighbourhoods have attracted greater criminal acts of violence and even a higher rate of organized crime. Moreover states in the US where medical marijuana was legal, have experienced greater juvenile drug use and addiction.

While we strive to be a compassionate society, we must also maintain a balance between managing an illness and establishing a system which does more harm than good.

Isolating the economic benefits of marijuana legalization, we find them to be numerous.

  • Income and jobs- The economies of nations will flourish as more and more job opportunities are created. The rate of unemployment and poverty will reduce. Another benefit will be that numerous industries will be established for the growing market. This way new jobs will be created in not only cannabis related fields but also industries which don’t deal with marijuana directly.

  • Revenue for the government- Since marijuana is illegal in most countries it has been dealt under the table. This has resulted in peddlers getting all the profit without taxes. If it were legalized, the government would reap huge benefits through the taxes earned.

  • Decrease in efficiency of law enforcement- The fact that marijuana is illegal has caused nations to spend millions every year on law enforcement for the drug in discussion.IIf it were legalized, this cost would be reduced. Organisations like the DEA and FBI are constantly overwhelmed with ratted out minor cases and unable to work fully against the deep rooted drug cartels. If it were legalized, this cost would be reduced. The manpower required to enforce these laws, the court cases and punishment of offenders takes a heavy toll on the public purse and would decrease significantly if marijuana was legalized.

To summarize the above two points, governments around the world could go from spending millions on marijuana law enforcement to earning taxes from the same. This in itself should be reason enough for legalization.

  • Economic growth and investments- Investors will reap huge benefits of legalizing marijuana, drug companies will have a chance to manufacture products such as Cannabidiol oil and other cannabis related medicines. Hence investors will reap benefits in spades in this, potentially profitable and prior unexplored market.

In terms of legalization of marijuana we also need to stress on the basic human right of choice. If marijuana is legalized, it would be made available to those who wish to use it on their discretion. The choice to make an informed decision is a fundamental concept that must apply to the situation at hand as well.

Having said this, in the events of legalization, an expenditure of policy reforms will be necessary. Legalization will cause consumption to increase and this will have a direct effect in terms of public health, social services and criminal justice. As consumption increases, so will addiction, this will have an effect on the productivity of employees causing economic losses.

Addiction in the youth will cause its decline and hence a downfall in the nation’s growth. Studies show marijuana’s link to lower response time and weaker motor skills. This might cause a hazard to public health. Cannabis is also linked to health issues like infertility, strokes, cardiovascular disease and latent schizophrenia. Despite its numerous losses, if the consumption of marijuana is monitored and regulated it could be used for the betterment of society.

We must keep in mind that the above listed losses will take place despite the criminalization of marijuana as the drug is available on the black market. In today’s day, even though marijuana is illegal in most nations, it is consumed by people. In fact if we legalize it we have a better chance of regulating its consumption and addiction. If we legalize it, we recognize it. If we recognize it we can regulate it to cause the least possible harm to the society.

In conclusion, the benefits to legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana are numerous. Its legalization would bring large economic benefits to the country and contribute to its growth. The negative impacts are significant, but are influencing the society today as well. The debate, though convoluted with contradicting arguments is in essence about regulating marijuana in a way that it benefits the society.

Written by: Tulika Gurnani

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