Benefits behind legalizing cannabis

Illinois becomes the 11th state to legalize marijuana

Come Jan. 1, recreational marijuana will be legal for use and sale in Illinois for people 21 and up.

Illinois is just one of the eleven states that has legalized marijuana. Others include Colorado, California and Michigan. 33 states have legalized marijuana but only for medical purposes.

The legalization of cannabis has become a very relevant topic, especially with the upcoming election. While there have been positive outcomes to legalization, there have been problems too.

Cannabis affects people differently, which is why it can’t be categorized as a hallucinogen, stimulant or depressant. It can be any of the three it just depends on the effects experienced.

These different experiences lead into one of the largest arguments in this debate, addiction. Marijuana has an addictive high. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, with frequent use, this high can lead to dependence in which one relies on cannabis and will fall into withdrawal without it.

It is easy for one to believe that with the legalization of cannabis, dependence on it will increase. The states’ solution to this is simply regulation. If fact, states like Califorinia have regulations on the amount a customer can purchase per visit.

Along with these rules, states have put in regulations for the safety of children. These regulations include child proof packaging and age restrictions when entering any chain of marijuana production.

The legalization of cannabis is supposed to make it safer for those who consume it. When buying marijuana illegally, customers do not know much about what they are consuming. It is possible that they are ingesting harsh chemicals, pesticides or mold. Through health regulations put in place by the government, the customer can ensure that the product is clean and safe.

Cannabis is a drug and in certain situations can be dangerous. In a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health, it was found that cannabis related hospitalizations spiked after the legalization.

“Hospitalizations with possible marijuana exposures, diagnoses, or billing codes per 100,000 hospitalizations increased from 803 per 100,000 before commercialization (2001‐2009) to 2,413 per 100,000 after commercialization (June 2014-2015) ,” stated the report.

“From this evidence, it is clear that, while legalization does not necessarily eliminate illegal distribution and sale of marijuana, it tends to diminish it dramatically. As a result, it relieves the burden placed on courts, law enforcement and prisons, allowing for greater focus on violent crime,” concluded the study.

Despite this, cannabis has advanced medicine. Along with THC, cannabis contains cannabidiol, or CBD. Compared to THC, CBD is used more for medical purposes because it doesn’t provide the side effects that THC does.

CBD is used to help those who suffer from epilepsy, migraines, and severe inflammation, pain, or nausea. It is also used by those who suffer from mental illness or disorders. THC benefits insomnia, low appetite, and glaucoma. I give CBD oil to my dog for his arthritis since it is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Legalizing marijuana will alleviate the stress on our criminal justice system. In a study conducted by Reason Foundation, it was found that in states that have legalized cannabis there was a drastic drop in cases of possession of illegal marijuana.

The legalization of cannabis would also help support the economy. According to The Washington Post, more than 18,000 new legal jobs came out of the marijuana industry in 2015.

The new product is also predicted to boost tax revenues. Arcview Market Research found that sales in North America grew to $6.7 billion in 2016 alone. It is projected to hit $20.1 billion by 2021. In 2015 Colorado made an estimated $135 million in taxes and fees from marijuana.

With all of this in mind, it is necessary to note that cannabis is a dangerous drug. Especially for people our age. Marijuana can impair thinking, judgement, memory, and learning functions.

A report from the University of Otago found correlations between teens use of marijuana and their overall success in life.

“The results of the present study suggest that increasing cannabis use in late adolescence and early adulthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes in later life. High levels of cannabis use are related to poorer educational outcomes, lower income, greater welfare dependence and unemployment and lower relationship and life satisfaction,” concluded the report.