The Effects of Legalizing Marijuana

The Effects of Legalizing Marijuana

It’s time to vote-no, not for the President of the United States. This vote only takes place in three states-for now. This November citizens in Oregon, Colorado, and Washington State will have their chance to vote to legalize marijuana. This battle between supporters and those whom oppose it has been going on for years.

Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana emphasize that legalizing it would obviously increase its use and bring with it more addiction and a multitude of other problems for both adults and youth. Statistics in 2008 stated that of the 7 million people who had an addiction to an illicit drug, 4.2 million of them were dependent on marijuana.

Potential Problems

What would happen if marijuana were legalized? Multiple specialists and government officials weighed in on the problems that could arise if marijuana became legal:

  • An increase in physical and mental problems
  • Drug-impaired driving
  • Increased use
  • Increase in gangs
  • More use by youth
  • Set back work that has been done to reduce use of marijuana
  • Higher risk of dependence
  • An Increase in Drug Addiction

One of the greatest arguments against legalizing marijuana is that it puts this drug right into people’s hands. Legislation could put it back into the hands of many who may still be vulnerable after completing treatment for dependence, or put it back into the hands of the youth who had it taken away because they didn’t understand all the risks involved in taking it.

A recent study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health stated that nearly 17 million teens are currently using marijuana. This is the highest number they’ve recorded in seven years. With more use brings the risk of more addiction. The Office of National Drug Control Policy referenced a study that said that one in six youth who experiments with marijuana has an increased risk of developing a drug addiction.

Falling Back

For some who oppose legalized marijuana they see much good progress that has been made in reducing use of marijuana now turned around and heading in the wrong direction. They see successful treatment programs jeopardized.

To those who say that it will keep more people out of jail just for marijuana use, they counter with the fact that less than one percent of people in jail are there for using marijuana. Even more poignant is that oftentimes, people who are battling an addiction to marijuana might finally encounter treatment when they are taken to jail.

From 1979 to 2008, Americans have reduced their use of marijuana by 54 percent. The progress in decreasing marijuana use may be lost when the numbers once again would rise.

A Difference of Treatment

Currently, Washington and Colorado polls have shown at least 50 percent support for legalizing marijuana. Citizens will continue to differ in the proper uses and the abuses of marijuana. But those who oppose legalizing marijuana still hold tightly to the thought that any increased use of marijuana only increases the risks for addiction and multiple other health problems.

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