Op-ed: Should Marijuana be legalized in the United States?

by Trent Dunn

The legalization of marijuana in the United States needs to get more attention. We are throwing people who smoke marijuana in jail like a bunch of common criminals, instead of giving them help and leaving them be.

New Hampshire decriminalized marijuana this past September. If you are caught carrying three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana or less, the penalty has been reduced from a misdemeanor to a penalty resulting in a fine.

Since we were little, we were taught to never do drugs. However, I’m here to bring a different opinion to you, maybe legalizing drugs is not such a bad move after all.

Let’s be honest, how much harm are people smoking marijuana causing? Should we really treat them like a common criminal?

I have friends who use marijuana. These are not bad people, they’re some of my closest friends and I know they would do anything for me, but still, we have pushback on the legalization of marijuana in the United States, and I’m trying to figure out as to why.

Economically, this would help society. Since legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Colorado has brought in almost a half of a billion dollars in taxes and fees since their legalization, according to a CNN article.

(Photo: Google)

Imagine the tax dollars the government can charge if we do legalize marijuana in this country. We could help pay off our national debt as well as bring in profits.

It would help personally, too. Portugal, has completely legalized drugs. They have decided you don’t deserve to be thrown into a prison if you cannot help yourself with a drug problem. The funny thing is, drug use has gone down in Portugal. How can that be? They have treatment centers, along with a universal healthcare system so people can afford those treatment centers when they need help.

On the other hand,, alcohol is legal in the United States. Alcohol is an enhancer, it makes people more likely to become more aggressive while marijuana almost soothes you, making you more relaxed and calm. Alcohol is involved in about 40 percent of all violent crimes and about two-thirds of victims of domestic violence report their spouse or former spouse had been drinking, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Cigarettes are also legal and a recognized health risk. If one person smoked one joint of marijuana everyday for 20 years, there would be no parallels to lung cancer, according to a study done by the US National Library of Medicine.

Yet, marijuana is still not legal in the United States. In fact, every state that has legalized marijuana is breaking federal law.

My solution is simple, legalize marijuana, move toward a universal healthcare system, open treatment centers for people with drug problems can get the help they need, and start treating them like human beings with a problem, and not just the problem. We can rip the rug out from under the drug dealers, make money as a nation to pay back some of our national debt, stop treating people who struggle with a drug problem like they are animals, and treat them like they are human beings.

One Response to Op-ed: Should Marijuana be legalized in the United States?

  1. Great job Trent. I agree with all you have said if only our government will take your advice

    Carol Gaudino October 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm Reply

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