Marijuana legalization reaches several states

Des Cutter, Opinion Editor

   The United States of America is stuck in an ongoing battle of differences regarding the legalization of weed. The recent legalization of marijuana in Michigan was due to its possible benefits of reducing harm, creating jobs, saving money, and promoting consumer safety. 

   It can reduce harm by lowering imprisonment rates of minorities, which can be seen by looking at statistics regarding the criminalization of young adults and people of color on marijuana related charges. They get arrested just for smoking marijuana. With the decriminalization of smoking becoming a reality, fewer people will be overall arrested. 

   Legalizing and regulating marijuana could bring about one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This could possibly create millions of  jobs and economic opportunities for Americans, which would also be in the formal economy rather than the illicit (illegal/black market). 

   Law enforcement will have more than ample time to better focus their resources on more important matters, such as aggravated assault and theft crimes, which are currently on the rise, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This time will be better used to ensure public safety while simultaneously reducing the frequent and unnecessary corrections and court costs. State and local government could save and make money by regulating marijuana sales and reducing legal fees due to marijuana charges.

   The legalization of marijuana could also promote consumer safety. Instead of people buying from dealers or unreliable sources who could provide tampered or impure products, people would be able to buy from dispensaries and permitted/licensed stores. These proactive measures could prevent deaths and injuries related to unsafe consumption of an otherwise helpful substance.

   Twelve states have fully legalized marijuana; Colorado, Michigan, Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Nevada, California, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Illinois. The District of Columbia (Washington DC) also fully legalized it. 

   Many states have weed legalized only for medical purposes, such as quitting smoking and drug withdrawals, epilepsy, neurological symptoms/disorders, fighting cancer, anxiety disorders, type 1 diabetes, and acne. CBD also has natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.

  Though the debate surrounding the legalization of marijuana has been a lengthy one, this is a progressive step for the state of Michigan.