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The Campaign for Cannabis

Marijuana legalization in the United States

An+activist+from+the+D.C.+Cannabis+Campaign+holds+a+sign+during+the+midterm+elections+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+4%2C+2014%2C+in+Washington%2C+D.C.+++%28Olivier+Douliery%2FAbaca+Press%2FMCT%29
An activist from the D.C. Cannabis Campaign holds a sign during the midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C.   (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

An activist from the D.C. Cannabis Campaign holds a sign during the midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT used with permission.

Photo by Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT used with permission.

An activist from the D.C. Cannabis Campaign holds a sign during the midterm elections on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Matthew Burbine, Staff Writer

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Could marijuana become as easy to buy as alcohol or tobacco? It already has in 27 states. According to a recent CNN article (“It’s 2015: Is Weed Legal in Your State?”), these states and the District of Columbia have either legalized medical marijuana, decriminalized marijuana possession, or both. What are the pros and cons of such decisions?

According to PBS, (Frontline) marijuana was outlawed over 40 years ago because many people feared that its use caused violence, insanity, sex crimes, and could lead to addiction and the use of other drugs. Even though many of these things have been proven to be untrue, 23 states still ban any marijuana usage.

The Texas Sheriff’s Association recently issued a report (“WHOA!!” Texas Sheriffs Say “No” to Marijuana,”) that provides a comprehensive argument for the continued prohibition of marijuana. Using statistics from Colorado, the sheriffs say that marijuana use by teens has risen since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. They point out that this will have a negative effect on teens in school. According to the sheriffs, teens that regularly use marijuana will have trouble learning and remembering information because marijuana impedes the ability to “focus, sustain and shift attention.” The sheriffs state that marijuana provides no medicinal value and instead is only harmful to the users.

Both sides of the marijuana debate make thought-provoking arguments.”

— Matthew Burbine

Another opponent of marijuana legalization is the organization Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America. CADCA notes that, according to the DEA, marijuana is a schedule one addictive drug. A schedule one addictive drug has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” CADCA also says that marijuana use is linked to poor academic performance, and harms healthy brain development.

One supporter of marijuana legalization is the New York Times. According to an editorial, the cost of imprisoning possessors of marijuana is too expensive. The editorial board also decided that marijuana addiction is no worse than alcohol and tobacco addiction.

Another supporter of legalization, Truthout, gave their reasoning for their position in an article entitled “Top Ten Reasons to Legalize Marijuana Now.” It states that marijuana is an effective medicine for relieving pain, nausea and vomiting. Also, they believe that if marijuana were legalized, it could lead to millions of dollars in tax revenues if marijuana is regulated like tobacco and alcohol.

Both sides of the marijuana debate make thought-provoking arguments. This is why there is such a split in the U.S. between legalization and prohibition. It is likely that in the near future, voters in Massachusetts will be asked to decide whether or not they support the full legalization of marijuana. As a result, it is incumbent on all of us to educate ourselves so that we can make the best decision for the citizens of our state. Which side will you be on?

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