Opinion: Legalization of marijuana a solution to country’s debt?

By Cameron Barnes |
Ranger Reporter |

Cameron Barnes

The use of marijuana still is a controversial issue in the United States, and nearby states are claiming that states’ rights is the way to handle this issue.
Colorado and Washington will vote this year to legalize marijuana and start regulating it like alcohol.
How will Amarillo be affected by their decision? Being only a few hours away, it might affect the Panhandle more than we think.
For the most part, Amarillo is not the most tolerant city for marijuana use due to its location on I-40. Millions of dollars are confiscated every year just from the busy interstate.
One factor that makes Amarillo a “green” city is the price of marijuana. According to theatlanticcities.com, the Texas Panhandle has the most affordable marijuana in the state.
The lowest prices in the country are in the Pacific Northwest, and the most expensive prices are mostly the eastern half of the United States, and more specifically the Northeast.
The use of marijuana dates to ancient times. According to testcountry.com, China used marijuana as a remedy for gout, rheumatism, malaria, beriberi, constipation and absentmindedness.
Now, marijuana is not as popular as alcohol or tobacco, but 30 million Americans consume cannabis in an average year, according to cnbc.com.
The District of Columbia and 17 states currently accept medical cannabis availability. Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington all accept medical marijuana use and are fairly lenient on possession charges.
If cannabis were legalized and taxed, it would be a $40 billion a year industry in the United States.
If legalizing could help us get out of a recession, then why isn’t it legalized already? There are many opposing beliefs still out there, and the majority are not completely OK with this idea.
Many people believe cannabis is a “gateway drug” to substances such as cocaine and heroin. That is like believing soft drinks are a gateway to alcohol use because almost everyone who drinks alcohol has drunk a soft drink before.
Part of the reason that theory is around is because in order for people without medical marijuana cards to receive cannabis, they must get in contact with someone distributing it along with drugs that are dangerous and addicting.
It puts buyers in a bad light if they are doing business with someone handling hardcore drugs. If marijuana were legal, drug dealers no longer would be necessary, and people could conveniently buy cannabis from stores.
Many worry about marijuana legalization because of heath risks. Some say there are no health risks with cannabis, and others say it is highly addictive.
Actually, both statements are false. Marijuana does affect the body, and longterm use can lead to minor damage in the lungs and other organs, depending on the method of ingestion.
On the other hand, anything with any sugar in it is going to be more addictive than cannabis. The few people addicted to cannabis have a psychological addiction, not a physical addiction.
According to drugwarfacts.org, these are the annual causes of death in the United States: Diseases of the heart are the top killer with 599,413 deaths annually. Drug-induced death is 39,147, alcohol-induced death is 24,518, homicide is at 16,799 and cannabis is at zero deaths per year.
Does that mean everyone should start smoking marijuana because it doesn’t kill? Certainly not.
It’s still a bad habit, but a habit with benefits as far as helping the country get out of its financial situation.
I believe more violence and unnecessary arrests could be avoided if marijuana were legalized, but that is only my opinion.
If Colorado legalizes marijuana, it will either make our local police force more lenient or more strict toward cannabis use. Can the government effectively regulate such a product? We will have to wait and see.

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