With the recent election, the United States of America saw Washington and Colorado legalize the recreational use of marijuana. While some states, such as California, have decriminalized the medicinal use of marijuana, these two states are the first ever in the history of the country to legalize the recreational use.
The bills passed in Washington and Colorado would make the production, distribution and taxation of marijuana legal, as well as possession of up to an ounce of the drug for people over the age of 21. Many people believe that legalizing weed, as it is more commonly known, will bring plenty of benefits for the states, but there are certainly still naysayers, who believe that marijuana is still a drug that can be abused. So, should the recreational use of marijuana be legalized in New York? I think so.
It is no secret that while marijuana has been illegal for recreational use, millions of Americans still smoke the drug on a regular basis. In 2007, there were 1.88 million marijuana users in New York alone, a figure that is reportedly growing. This makes it obvious that marijuana could become a very lucrative industry in the United States. MadameNoire reports that illegal marijuana is a $36 billion-per-year industry in the United States, and with Colorado’s medicinal marijuana tax profiting $5 billion already, the potential for government profit is clear. Among the possible recipients for the tax money is the public school system in New York City, which is desperately in need of monetary aid. The possibility for fiscal growth makes the idea of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana very tempting.
Also, job creation is another benefit of legalization. Workers are needed to grow, process, and distribute marijuana, as well as to work in dispensaries. With such a dismal economy and high unemployment rate, the possible economic stimulation of marijuana makes its legalization almost a no-brainer.
Those against the recreational legalization of marijuana argue that marijuana abuse would become even more prevalent, and the legalization of the drug would encourage more users. But, in fact, marijuana use and abuse is exactly like that of alcohol, which is legal for those 21 and older in every U.S. state. Although we have seen definite consequences of the abuse of alcohol, the majority of adults can control their use, and the remaining minority can seek drug treatment in the form of rehab centers, a trend that has grown in the past years.
While recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Washington and Colorado, it will be a while before we see civilians in public smoking weed. This is because the federal government has declared marijuana an illegal drug. So, until the government declares marijuana legal, Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper urges citizens not to “break out the Cheetos just yet.” But with all aspects considered, what do you say, New York? Let’s legalize weed!