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Donald Meekins English 1102 3/18/14

Marijuana: Viewpoints of legalization

Commented [dm1]: Good flow of the whole paper. Everything went together well.

What comes of Legalization? Smoking weed mellows me out, people who smoke pot are dumb, smoking pot helps with my pain, marijuana slow down your reaction time; these are all examples of statements made by all sorts of people on both sides of the issue over marijuana and it being legalized. Some logic is found on both sides of the argument and this paper will examine the implications for state legalization of marijuana. I personally believe that making marijuana legal and having the government regulate it is what should happen on this long debated issue. I can understand some viewpoints from each side but on the other hand I do not agree with every statement or claim made by both sides, but still feel legalization is the way to go. With it now being legalized in two states (Colorado and Washington) for recreational use; after the first months sales the issue slightly switches from one of the ramifications and benefits to one on what should be done with the money brought in from the taxation of this product. The opposing sides could go on about this issues forever most people are stuck in their beliefs on the subject and that is that. The different views of people on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use can be understood and some not so much. The main points that most agree on; depending on the side they take, do have valid points but most of which will not be known for sure until time passes and we see what happens. Taxation of Marijuana Talks about the money that the taxation of marijuana brings into the state is one of the main viewpoints of people on both sides of the issue. Rather they are against it being legalized in the first place or they are all for it being legal everyone has an argument on what should be done with the money that is being made. In the first month Colorado brought in $2.1 million dollars

Commented [dm2]: Let it be known this is the intro.

Commented [dm3]: Good introduction covering both viewpoints

Commented [dm4]: Show that this is lit review

from marijuana being sold for recreational use and another $1.4 million from medical marijuana sells for a total of $3.5 million in taxes for the state. Now even though recreational marijuana purposes. There are three different taxes placed on marijuana sold for recreational use; you have the regular sales tax, an excise tax, and a special sales tax which is why the number is higher. It is projected that sales for marijuana will $613 million dollars in the year to come. Of that the first $40 million dollars raised from the taxes is used for schools, their future construction and renovations. Now to be decided is what to do with what will be left over. Everyone has their own reason for why they feel they should get a piece of the pie. Even the police officers want some of the money that is to come in from this newly legalized plant. They say it will go to much needed training and to enforce the new laws that come with the legalization. The oppose say that making cannabis legal will lower the cost of law enforcement by not having to use money for arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana related crimes. The police officers point out that they will still be needed and so it really doesnt save any money. Others would like to see the money put toward drug treatment programs to help people who abuse the substance and also to help prevent the use of cannabis among children. Health Benefits The possible medical and health related gains and downfalls are also big among the debates of the use of pot. For some this is the most important of the issues. Pro-cannabis people believe that the drug can be used as a pain reducer and to also help people who have cancer and have trouble with nausea to help settle those problems. Ones who are against the use say that prolonged use of the drug can come with some serious health risk that should not be overlooked. It is also believed by some that legalizing it will only send out the message to people that this drug is safe because it is legal and the government controls it. They point out that prescription
Commented [dm6]: Opinion on the pain reducer. What do I think? Commented [dm5]: Give tax percentages

pills are legal but used incorrectly they can be dangerous and believe the same can be said for the use or over use of pot. The marijuana of today is also notably stronger than the marijuana smoked years ago. The THC has gone up in marijuana and anti-cannabis supporters think this may be a dangerous thing by putting more of this drug into the body as opposed to the much lower amount found in pot long ago. Supporters of the legalization say that the higher THC levels in the marijuana used today will cause people to feel the effects of the drug faster and with less of the drug thus in turn making it healthier than previous strands by having the person smoke less. Surplus Cash, Limited by rules Money issues of all sorts can arise right now due to the current banking laws and the fact that this forces it to be a cash only business for some. Even though marijuana is legalized on the state level it is still very much illegal on the federal level and thus banks are limited to what the can do with cash knowingly brought in from the sale of this drug because of their fears of getting into trouble for money laundering. So with banks afraid to do business with owners of the dispensaries they are then forced to deal in an all cash type of business which some say will give way to a rise in crime by presenting an opportunity for robbery. It does not seem to be too much of a disagreement though along this issue it is more of a when are they going to change the rules type of thing. One aspect that does have some law enforcement concerned is the thought or prospect of the cartels trying to become involved in this and in some way just legalizing their business and really doing nothing with the ongoing problem associated with them. Now everything is legal: Marijuana is a gateway drug
Commented [dm7]: What is THC

A concern of a lot of people is the chance that pot is just a start to the exploration and possible use of more dangerous drugs in the future. Both sides can argue the validity of this claim for the simple fact there is a good chance that people who use hard core drugs more than likely have tried marijuana but also not everyone who uses pot turn to heavier drugs in the future and not all keep using marijuana. The real truth is there are just not enough studies and evidence out there to say for curtain what can happen. My Take Again I personally side with the legalization of marijuana. I believe it would be far better for everyone if it was regulated by the government and money made from the sale of pot was used for various things that need improvement. I think using a portion of the money from the taxes to build and renovate schools was a great idea. Investing money back into the institutes that teach the future leaders of this country only makes sense. I also feel that regulating will help in the deterrence of underage use by limiting the access to the drug. If pot was made legal and treated like alcohol or tobacco then people would be require to show ID instead of just getting it from a person on the street who is more than likely not going to care about the age of the person just that they are making money. Also with marijuana being legalized the economy could see a boost with the extra money being earned by the taxes and more jobs opening as the market expands. No matter anyones side on the issue of marijuana I think no one will argue with more jobs. As for the ideas on what it will do to and for health I think it is just like any other substance used to treat something it is all in how it is used. As long as it is used correctly I can see it having some positive effects for people who need it but on the same note you cannot expect to abuse a drug and it have no negative effect what-so-ever. I do not think people will die from an overdose like they could from the abuse of other drugs but can still have some negative ways on the body.
Commented [dm9]: Re-Do to outline a plan. State a way in which it works for everyone. Commented [dm8]: What are some drugs that are believed to be lead to

With dealing with the banks something does need to be done along the lines of current laws because without their help it forces the companies to operate as cash only business and if that continues then there is only a matter of time before that leads to rise in other crimes such as robbery. If people know that a business is dealing exclusively in cash then criminals might get the idea of it being an easy target. The belief that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to the future use of harder drugs is not one that I share. I think it is all in ones own preference, if they choose to try other drugs I do not believe the past use of pot would be a determining factor in the choice to try some other drug. So why the heck should anyone care? The use of cannabis is not going anywhere anytime soon. People have to look at it and really try and come to an agreement on how to deal with this subject. Yes there can be drawbacks to the legalization but there are also gains that could be made. The positives and negatives should both be analyzed and a plan should be put into place to help with concerns on either side of the situation. If you are against it being legal then just sitting around saying it should not be legal does nothing, you should get involved and try to help in that effort and on the other hand if you are for it then same thing goes you need to help get polices changed so that this can be a safe and productive business venture for everyone involved and the entire country. If it is going to continue on the course toward becoming legal shouldnt everyone do what they can early on to try and make sure that it is at least safe and done correctly? Only the ideas of the people involved are going to be heard because no one can read minds. So no matter what a person believes is right, if they do not say anything then their opinion cannot be taken into consideration.
Commented [dm10]: Go into more detail. How should people let their opinion be heard?

References Rittiman, Brandon. (2014, March 10) Colorado raises $2M in first month of marijuana taxes. http://www.9news.com/story/news/local/2014/03/10/first-month-of-marijuana-taxes/6257687/ Payne, John; Grellner, Jason. (2013, December 18) ShowMeCannabis Debate. http://youtu.be/131qTx2BD9c Caulkins, Johnathan; Hawken, Angela; Kilmer, Beau; Kleiman, Mark (2012) Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Commented [dm11]: Add more references