In the last few decades, marijuana has not only been outlawed by the U.S. government but also by the media. In recent years, however, there has been a major push to change that.
In 2012, Colorado and Washington were the two states that took the initiative in the change that a whole generation had been anticipating.
It was a domino-effect, to say the least. Since 2012, over 20 states and the District of Columbia have followed suit by legalizing marijuana in some kind of form, either medically or recreationally.
According to a study by peoplepress.org in 2013, the use of marijuana was favored by more than half of Americans for the first time in four decades.
This goes to show that change is on its way. This generation has a completely different mindset than those before. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Many individuals believe that marijuana in any form has zero positives while clinical researchers and other medical professionals have proven that the main ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can be very beneficial for an array of diseases.
Just to name a few, marijuana can benefit individuals suffering from AIDS, cancer, Hepatitis C and Alzheimer’s disease.
In a survey run by WebMD.com, results showed that over 1,500 doctors from 48 states, agreed that medical marijuana should be legal in their states and should be an available option for their patients to receive treatment with.
Why is the use of marijuana in any form viewed so negatively in the media?
Is it because it is only now becoming legal is some places or is it because of the dark light that has been covering it for generations is still hovering over?
The old thought that it may be as dangerous as substances like heroine and cocaine is rapidly making its exit.
Though it is a gateway drug, the medical findings behind it have proven that the benefits outweigh the negatives by a landslide.
“As a former smoker I believe that marijuana can have many powerful impacts as far as helping individuals cope with anxiety and pains of many sorts,” John Baldi, finance major, said. “I no longer smoke because of certain life-decisions that I have made, but I don’t think that people who choose to engage in smoking should be told that they are not allowed to.”
The medical aspect of marijuana however, is just one facet of the ongoing debate. Economically the legalization of marijuana has given states a chance to flourish.
“I used to live in Lancaster and I sold marijuana there,” Adam Law, business major at Penn State, said. “I recently moved to Colorado and the strides I have made selling marijuana is astonishing.”
In its first year alone of recreational legalization, Colorado collected more than $76 million in taxes and fees. In Colorado’s proposal of the legalization, they agreed on using the tax money to build new schools and hospitals.
Not only is this market of marijuana helping the states’ revenue, it is also being regulated through state-legal systems of marijuana cultivation and sales to adults 21-years and older. This effort was coordinated through the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol.
With its medical and economic values, it seems almost impossible for the rest of the states to not follow suit.
“It boggles my mind that people think it’s logical to spend funds on locking up peaceful marijuana smokers instead of raising funds through legally selling marijuana,” Baldi said.
Though the debate continues, the support for the legalization of marijuana is becoming increasingly overwhelming.
As Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “Rich cannabis and cannabis oils can save lives.”