What are the benefits of legalizing marijuana?

Discussion
Mar 31, 2016
by: connorc
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In my expository writing class, we were asked to discuss an inquiry that interests us. One topic that interests me, in part because of it's controversy and also because of it's relevance to today, is why legalizing marijuana would be beneficial. This issue is relevant to today because multiple states in the US have legalized it recreation ally, and many more including my home state of Michigan have legalized it medicinally. Additionally, this topic is relevant to the 2016 presidential election because it's an issue that will gain a candidate a number of votes in either direction. For example, the Democratic Socialistic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has openly stated that he is in favor of the federal decriminalization/legalization of cannabis, which in turn has helped to increase his popularity among many different groups, especially young people.

Legalizing cannabis is beneficial for a number of reasons. First, it prevents small-amount, recreational, personal users from being criminally targeted for marijuana. So many people are arrested for just personal amounts of marijuana, which goes on to ruin their lives by sending them to jail and preventing them to get a job with a felony record. With marijuana legalized, however, harmless people who are using marijuana responsibly are free to do so, and that way the cops can focus on the real criminals, like the drug dealers. Secondly, legalizing and regulating marijuana offers great economic benefit to the area of legalization. For example, Colorado made over $700 million in marijuana tax revenue, $40 million of which went to support education.

Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. are leading the way in legalization, and I think the rest of the country should follow suit. What do all of you think?