Should the Federal Government Legalize the Recreational Use of Cannabis?

Over the past decade, multiple states and localities have enacted laws with some variation toward legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. However, it still remains illegal to use on the federal level. Some lawmakers are currently pressing to change this, sparking debates over the dangers and benefits that legalization of the recreational use of marijuana would cause.

Those who support the legalization of using recreational cannabis argue that current laws have led to large numbers of Americans acquiring criminal records and potentially spending time in jail. They argue this is unwarranted because this side considers recreational use of cannabis to be a very minor offense. Additionally, those who support legalization argue that our current laws disproportionately target black and brown Americans, and perpetuate racism in our criminal justice system. Finally, this side may argue that there are no significant health issues surrounding the use of recreational cannabis, and that legalizing it will raise tax revenue.

Those who oppose the legalization of recreational cannabis use argue that the substance is more dangerous than supporters of it make it appear. Therefore, they argue, it is important to keep it criminalized in order to discourage its use. This side may argue that even if there are some racial disparities in the enforcement of cannabis laws, they argue that the law shouldn’t be thrown out just because it is being misapplied. Finally, this side argues that cannabis use can cause paranoia, schizophrenia, and be a gateway drug, and that any tax revenue raised from its sale will be offset when the government needs to spend large amounts of money on healthcare for people who develop issues from marijuana use.

So, what do you think? Should the Federal Government Legalize the Recreational Use of Cannabis? Students can answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 73%
No: 27%
  • ashton from Ohio

    if it is legalized then fewer people would get in trouble for drug par Fidelia because people get charged with it over weed most of the time

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  • Joao from California

    The biggest problem with recreational cannabis is contraband itself, if not legalized, people will just go crazy and find ways around it, but then the biggest question at hand comes, if it is legalized, will people lose control of it? The answer is yes, and that’s why if legalized, a lot of restrictions need to be placed.

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    The biggest problem with recreational cannabis is contraband itself, if not legalized, people will just go crazy and find ways around it, but then the…

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  • Alena from California

    I believe that the legalization of marijuana would benefit our country, specifically the economy. Legalizing marijuana will create more jobs and a new and large tax revenue that can be put to good use. On top of that studies have showed that by legalizing drugs we actually help our overall drug problem by reducing our crime rate. People will continue to do marijuana no matter what, by it being illegal, this pushed people to get theirs off of sketchy dealers and put themselves at risk.

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    I believe that the legalization of marijuana would benefit our country, specifically the economy. Legalizing marijuana will create more jobs and a new…

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  • victor from California

    I strongly believe that marijuana should be legal and not considered as a drug but as a medicine for those in need. It is scientifically proven to help with anxiety and many different pains. And is a lot safer than any other drugs that are used to help with those issues. It is also used all around the country already as a medicine.

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    I strongly believe that marijuana should be legal and not considered as a drug but as a medicine for those in need. It is scientifically proven to hel…

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  • Maya from California

    I believe that Marijuana should be legalized in our country. Mainly because a significant amount of marijuana laws are racist. An article on the Washington Post cites that Black people were 4 times as likely to be arrested for simple possession than White people; 4 times! On top of this, marijuana was decriminalized, yet there are countless People of Color in prisons for marijuana possession. Now I don’t know about you, but I would much rather leave space in an already crowded prison system for more serious offenders.
    Young people are also being affected negatively in areas where marijuana is illegal. If a minor is caught with marijuana in their possession, even if was a one time “high school experience”, that minor could be criminalized and denied opportunities for scholarships, education, and jobs, for their entire life. Of course, marijuana would not be legalized for people under the age of 18, but legalizing it as a whole would create learning opportunities and resources for these young people, instead of prison sentences.
    18 states in the U.S have already legalized marijuana within their borders. Would so many state governments allow something as dangerous as some claim to be legal?

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    I believe that Marijuana should be legalized in our country. Mainly because a significant amount of marijuana laws are racist. An article on the Washi…

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  • Mason from South Dakota

    Cannabis is a drug that is used widely in the US, whether illegally or legally. It has recreational use and medical use as well. The US government has labelled it Illegal to use the drug on a federal level, yet by state law in certain places it is ok to use whether it be medically or recreationally. Cannabis has caused many supportive things in communities, including the taxes that are put on it to support the state in need, which has made millions of dollars in taxes to states that have legalized it. But there is also something else… In the United States, there are over 1.8 million people incarcerated in the prison system, and over roughly 20% of those people are incarcerated due to an affiliation with drug offences. These offences are putting so many people in prison with sentences that are sometimes more severe than violent crime. Then as these convicts are let go, they are given no support to help them out of that situation. Legalizing Cannabis federally will give more support to people who need it and not incarcerate them for unreasonable amounts of time.

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    Cannabis is a drug that is used widely in the US, whether illegally or legally. It has recreational use and medical use as well. The US government has…

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  • Blaise from South Dakota

    I believe that Cannabis should be legalized because 17 states support this idea according to Fivethirtyeight. While in 1969 only 12 percent agreed to this, it has now sky rocketed to a 68 percent more than a majority vote.Also it is said that the major parties the Democrats and the republican support this greatly with 72 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Republicans supported marijuana legalization for medical and recreational use. Which is why Cannabis should be legalized for now there is support and for it has medical and recreational uses which might better critical patients in the future.

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    I believe that Cannabis should be legalized because 17 states support this idea according to Fivethirtyeight. While in 1969 only 12 percent agreed to …

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  • Benjamin from South Dakota

    There is almost nothing to lose by keeping marijuana illegal. If people want to smoke marijuana, they will do so and already do so. Keeping marijuana illegal is overcrowding our prisons and tearing families apart. The government can legalize marijuana, regulate it, tax it, and use that money to better our infrastructure and other issues at hand. A report done by the Harvard Department of Economics in 2010 estimates that after legalizing and taxing drugs at a similar rate to cigarettes and alcohol, the government could raise roughly $48.7 billion just by longer enforcing these laws, and an additional $33.1 billion in taxes would go to state governments. What are we waiting for?

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    There is almost nothing to lose by keeping marijuana illegal. If people want to smoke marijuana, they will do so and already do so. Keeping marijuana …

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  • Kendall from California

    I believe that if weed is going to be considered illegal, then so should alcohol. Alcohol causes around 95,000 deaths per year, while it is nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana. The illegality of marijuana also has a horribly racist past. The government considered cannabis to be a drug for “blacks” and people from the inner-city and lied about it, causing different things, such as insanity, murder, and rape. The illegality of cannabis was because the government wanted to be able to arrest communities and people of color. Some states have legalized marijuana in an effort to lessen the prison population because the legalization of cannabis very much contributes to the prison industrial complex. People of color are the people that are predominantly affected by these laws because the government planned it that way. The reason communities of color are over-policed so that more people, mostly black people are arrested and put in prison for minor infractions. If weed is legalized, I believe the people that are serving these sentences should be released from prison. It is disgusting that the government refuses to acknowledge that alcohol is much more dangerous than marijuana when the statistics show overwhelmingly that alcohol use has caused many more accidents than cannabis use. People do not belong in prison for cannabis use and especially if the government is using the illegality of cannabis to arrest black and brown communities at alarming rates, and give them longer sentences for the same amount of weed as white people use, then there is no question about whether marijuana should be legalized or not. If you are supportive of black and brown communities, then I hope that you decide to make the right decision.

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    I believe that if weed is going to be considered illegal, then so should alcohol. Alcohol causes around 95,000 deaths per year, while it is nearly imp…

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  • Carly from South Dakota

    I believe that the legalization of marijuana will benefit our country and keep the prisons for people who belong in there. According to New Frontier Data. “Cannabis Taxes Could Generate $106 Billion, Create 1 Million Jobs by 2025.” (Accessed April 2, 2021. California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.) It would boost our economy and we could get rid of the more harmful drugs like Adderall and other dangerous prescription drugs. The benefits outweigh the risk greatly. You would need to ingest at least fifteen hundred pounds in 15 minutes for it to become lethal enough to kill you. The number of OD’s in the US due to Opioids in the year 2019, increased to 49,860. So not only would it decrease the amount of jail time spent and boost our economy. But we can start straying away from the more addictive drugs that they prescribe to us.

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    I believe that the legalization of marijuana will benefit our country and keep the prisons for people who belong in there. According to New Frontier D…

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  • Andrew from California

    Similar to alcohol, cannabis is a drug that affects the persons mind and conscious. Cannabis can relax those who use it, and bring near harmless effects to the person. Considering the legalization of alcohol, a depressant that causes a drunk driving death every 52 minutes on average, cannabis does not seem to be any more harmful than alcohol. There are seemingly no negatives to cannabis, and it is already a drug that many people in the United States. Not legalizing it would be no different than when alcohol was illegal in the 20s– only more people were encouraged to do it–and no matter what people still had alcohol. Because of these reasons, on top of the many medical benefits that cannabis can be used for in regards to mental health, I believe we should federally legalize recreational cannabis.

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    Similar to alcohol, cannabis is a drug that affects the persons mind and conscious. Cannabis can relax those who use it, and bring near harmless effec…

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  • Ayana from South Dakota

    Cannabis should be legal for some reasons. For example, cannabis should be legal for medical reasons because it could help out a lot more people that want to use it in the healthcare field or in general for people that are patients but are using it for medical reasons. States that have legalized cannabis are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. U.S. adults who oppose legalization have fallen from 52% in 2010 to 32% today. 91% of U.S. adults say that marijuana should be legal either for medical and recreational use 59% or that it should be legal just for medical use 32%. Also, fewer than one-in-ten 8% prefer to keep marijuana illegal in all circumstances. Democrats and democrats-leaning independents 78% say that marijuana should be legal, and Republicans and Republicans-leaning are less supportive 55% in favor of legalization and 44% oppose. Lastly, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby boomers say that marijuana should be legal. So it looks like there are a lot more people that are supporting legalizing marijuana, so I think that it should be legal for good reasons like for medical use and not for abusing reasons like there should be some restrictions on marijuana use instead of just making it legal and not have restrictions on them.

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    Cannabis should be legal for some reasons. For example, cannabis should be legal for medical reasons because it could help out a lot more people that …

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  • Alyndria from California

    Recreational marijuana use should be allowed. Most crimes committed due to drug use are not related to marijuana even though it is considered a gateway drug. If most people are concerned about the effects of marijuana and its reputation to lead to other drugs they should consider what turns people to drugs rather than trying to completely prevent the use of drugs such as marijuana altogether. The earth is also overpopulated so if marijuana has a slight chance of killing off some of the people that are only going to turn to drugs not seek help or in general Be the terrible people that they are considered then why are people so concerned with keeping them alive? I personally believe in freedom of autonomy and people should be allowed to deal with whatever they want to their bodies, just as long as they are not hurting or affecting others negatively. There are negative short and long-term effects to marijuana, but there are also positive affects and personally if you choose to smoke or use marijuana in anyway knowing the consequences of the substance that is completely on you and the government should not regulate that at all.

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    Recreational marijuana use should be allowed. Most crimes committed due to drug use are not related to marijuana even though it is considered a gatewa…

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  • Gabrielle from California

    Marijuana should be legalized on the federal level. Firstly, there are no proven lethal effects of cannabis and studies have shown that it is nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana. The danger of marijuana comes when it is made illegal, and many people resort to obtaining it illegally. There are many cases of dealers selling marijuana laced with extremely dangerous substances, and without access to legal means of obtaining safe cannabis, the illegal drug industry is fueled.
    There are also inconsistencies within the justice system ass

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    Marijuana should be legalized on the federal level. Firstly, there are no proven lethal effects of cannabis and studies have shown that it is nearly i…

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  • Anthony from California

    I am taking the stance that this is almost parallel to the situation with prohibition. With prohibition, as many would know, it did not work. The same would be true for cannabis. Although I believe the inevitable rising “crime rate” due to it being made illegal would be irrelevant, I strongly believe the other consequences of prohibiting cannabis would be far too dire. It is also, I believe a right of the people to do as they will with themselves. Starting with prohibition, delegalizing weed, I believe would lead to a rise in black market usage that could easily spiral down into a greater spread of this form of illegal action which would not only be harder to track for crime fighters, but also more work for them. This also would lead to a likely rise in underground groups dedicated to continuing the distribution of cannabis which occurred with mafias during prohibition. I would suggest we understand the lesson prohibition taught us in that delegalizing this would lead only to social and economic crises. Furthermore I believe that this is similar in the sense that people have the right to free will and do as they please with their own self. However, one suggestion I would have in counter to those who would point out that people shouldn’t be exposing their bodies to such drugs, would be that there should be a higher emphasis in schooling to outline the affects and consequences of cannabis. This drug is no different than smoking, really. Smoking isn’t fully prohibited even though it has a lot of negative consequences on the self. All in all, cannabis should be legalized because the consequences of its prohibition would likely be similar to that of alcohol during prohibition which was not favorable, and it is the right of free will to do as you wish with your own self.

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    I am taking the stance that this is almost parallel to the situation with prohibition. With prohibition, as many would know, it did not work. The same…

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  • Kimbi from California

    In my personal and humble opinion, I believe the federal government should legalize marijuana because it has been shown that criminalizing drugs just makes the demand for it even more.

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    In my personal and humble opinion, I believe the federal government should legalize marijuana because it has been shown that criminalizing drugs just …

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  • Darren from California

    in my opinion marijuana is scientifically proven to be a medical drug. for example my cousin uses edibles and other forms of marijuana such as CBD which is non psychoactive to the brain that are medicinal to patients with seizures, pains and sores, kids with ADHD, eating disorders and etc. not to mention that there are more deaths and criminal cases tied to alcohol than anything else on this planet and yet it is still legal when it is proven to cause nothing but chaos when marijuana is the exact opposite. I’ve never heard of someone abusing another person while being high on marijuana because it is proven to mellow people out instead of them causing harm like alcohol

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    in my opinion marijuana is scientifically proven to be a medical drug. for example my cousin uses edibles and other forms of marijuana such as CBD whi…

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    • Taylin from Texas

      There are many different arguments for why we should or should not legalize cannabis and most are based in misinformation proporgated by years and years of race based propaganda against its use. Under the current definition cannabis is a scheduled 1 drug, meaning it is highly addictive and federally can not be used as medical treatment. Right under that is a scheduled drugs which are classified as highly addictive but can be used for medical treatment. Cocaine is considered a scheduled 2 drug. You can see that already the class system we use for drugs is flawed. Most would say cocaine is more addictive and dangerous then cannabis yet its ranked lower on in the class system. Why is this?Historically cocaine has been seen as a white collar drug, something mostly rich white men would us, while cannabis was seen as a drug that Hispanic and African Americans used. In the early 1900s Mexicans immigrated here after the Mexican revolution and they brought over the their costumes and culture. Both Mexicans and Americans had been using cannabis in medicines, but Mexicans called it “marihuana” and Media used this language barrier to promote the idea that Mexicans are dangerous bring over this dangerous drug “marihuana.” We used cannabis to single out Mexican immigrants and deport them. In the 1930s they said it caused men of color to act violent and rape white women and by the 1970s, when the class system of drugs was created, it was classified in the most restrictive class, a scheduled 1 drug. As you can see, cannabis was used for years in medicines, but it wasn’t until Mexicans immigrated to America that we start seeing cannabis in a new more dangerous light. It was never about the science, but about the years of propaganda against black and brown Americans. We can even see that echo today. Black and Hispanic America are 4 to 5 times more likely to he arrested for Marijuana possession than their white counterparts, even though all use the drug at almost equal proportions. 87% of people who are arrest for Marijuana are Black or Hispanic. A majority of these arrest are non-violent offenders. We need to do something about this. Legalizing cannabis has so many other benefits, like regulations and medical studies, but none of that matters. We need to legalize it because it disproportionately targets Black and Brown Americans for no reason other than fear.

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      There are many different arguments for why we should or should not legalize cannabis and most are based in misinformation proporgated by years and yea…

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  • Kaitlin from Colorado

    The federal government should legalize recreational use of marijuana because the ban of a non-lethal substance is outside the scope of proper government action. Government exists to protect the natural rights of its citizens, including life, liberty, and property. Action outside this framework is sometimes necessary for a functioning society (it is not proper at this point to decide to simply end programs like Social Security, and some regulation such as that of guns is sometimes needed) needs to be judged agains the benefits vs costs it imposes. The criminalization of marijuana has led to massive costs: higher police costs in stopping people merely possessing the substance, continuation of systemic racism in the amount of predominantly African American people who have been imprisoned for such low level crimes as marijuana possession or distribution, and thriving underground markets. On the other hand, the benefits of such a ban appear small. People still find a way to consume the substance or find other substances that have the same effect. There is absolutely a case to be made that its ban has led to less drug use among teens who find it harder to access, but the costs of such a law are higher than the tax a ban might impose on the drug. A society where the government admitted that the costs of its actions outweigh the benefits and who have the humility to allow the personal morality, prudence, and judgement of its citizens to care for themselves is a better and more just society.

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    The federal government should legalize recreational use of marijuana because the ban of a non-lethal substance is outside the scope of proper governme…

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  • Alan from California

    The federal government most definitely should legalize the recreational use of cannabis. I believe that most people that oppose the legalization of cannabis are just worried about the negative consequences this could lead to. We need to focus on what is doing more harm. Illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine are still going to be produced no matter if they are legal or not. The problem with this is that the producers of these drugs are going to put a lot of people in danger and cause a lot of harm. Cartels that produce and distribute drugs are willing to kill and put a lot of people in danger. If we legalize cannabis there is no longer a need for cartels to put other people in danger. The thing a lot of people are worried about are the effects it would do if we do legalize it. People are worried that the easy access to cannabis would encourage more people to use it and or get addicted. One solution to this would be to educate people on the effects and consequences the use of cannabis can lead to. If we use tobacco as an example, you can see that after people saw the dark and deadly consequences tobacco can lead to people began to quit smoking. Tobacco use is immensely lower now than before. This is not a complete solution but we cant control what people do. If someone wants to smoke they will find a way. If we look at another problem like easy access of cannabis for young adults we can also do our best to solve it. We can implement new harsh laws that require schools to be a lot more attempt with drug use and their drug policy’s. We can also invest in education for cannabis use. If we look and compare at the problems caused be each side we can see that some problems are worse than others. We have tried for many decades to abolish cannabis in the U.S. and have not been very successful. I say we legalize cannabis and see if there is a better outcome. The federal government can also benefit from millions of dollars the cannabis industry can bring.

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    The federal government most definitely should legalize the recreational use of cannabis. I believe that most people that oppose the legalization of ca…

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    • Jonathan from New York

      I believe that most people that oppose the legalization of cannabis are just worried about the negative consequences this could lead to. We need to focus on what is doing more harm. Illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine are still going to be produced no matter if they are legal or not. The problem with this is that the producers of these drugs are going to put a lot of people in danger and cause a lot of harm. Cartels that produce and distribute drugs are willing to kill and put a lot of people in danger. If we legalize cannabis there is no longer a need for cartels to put other people in danger. The thing a lot of people are worried about are the effects it would do if we do legalize it. People are worried that the easy access to cannabis would encourage more people to use it and or get addicted.

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      I believe that most people that oppose the legalization of cannabis are just worried about the negative consequences this could lead to. We need to fo…

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  • Marcella from Wisconsin

    Marijuana is a stress and physical pain reliever. I don’t think everyone is aware how many people are incarcerated for petty drug crimes. These drugs aren’t killing anyone, if anything they are helping more than hurting.

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    Marijuana is a stress and physical pain reliever. I don’t think everyone is aware how many people are incarcerated for petty drug crimes. These drugs …

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    • Clarisa from California

      I agree that marijuana is used to relieve stress and a lot of medical issues. Most people don’t use it as a drug they use it as pain relief for their back,joints,ADHD,etc. Many of those fighting cancer and depression also use it. Although marijuana is addictive and a drug, there are more hard core drugs out there that should be illegal. Now a days marijuana is very normalized. In my perspective I feel like if it’s legal or not, society will still use it. Therefore, the justice system should focus on more serious issues rather than incarcerating people over marijuana use. There are a lot of crimes that haven’t been resolved,the justice system needs to focus on those cases. Marijuana use is not a crime and it should be legalized to help benefit those who need it.

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      I agree that marijuana is used to relieve stress and a lot of medical issues. Most people don’t use it as a drug they use it as pain relief for their …

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  • Wyatt from South Dakota

    I do think the government should legalize it. The enforcement of it is expensive and a lost cause. Legalizing it would take the trade out of the streets and generate tax revenue. However, I feel that regulations are important. I hate the smell of it, so just like there are limitations in where you can puff a cigarette, there should be restrictions for marijuana use too.

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    I do think the government should legalize it. The enforcement of it is expensive and a lost cause. Legalizing it would take the trade out of the stree…

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  • Christopher from Florida

    Recreational cannabis should be described as a self-aware term. The role of cannabis in society has shifted and although many may criticize the use as a “crutch” or dependency substance we must become more aware. Our bodies were crafted by complex genealogy and evolution through natural selection, it has been engineered to receive cannabinoids through biological receptors. Why? The body has been conditioned to select its primary nutrients, THC and natural CBD that can be received through inhalation, consumption, and natural oils. When exposed to CBD and THC the body receives a natural response to heal from the CBD and a euphoric sensation from THC, ideally people should be educated on the practice of restraint and abstaining from use other than in small dosages but the use is at the choice of the individual to experience their body’s natural sensations. Please understand that people can feel healed from the use of this and we need to be allowed to understand each person can make that choice but should be allowed to grow for themselves to know what they are taking in, rather than high-demand producers shoving toxic herbicide and toxic chemicals to make thr plant more efficient at the costs of potential reproductive, health, and cancer development through synthetic fertilizer and sprays. Education is a first, especially for the opposing party they need to be educated on present epidemic of toxic cigarettes and alcoholism which many of these users are forced into using these PROVEN addictive PROVEN to cause significant reproductive harm PROVEN to directly cause death yet are available at EVERY store on the corner. Why? Because big corporation runs the nation to oppress the poor, remove their rights, and kill them because they have no leverage to modify their lives. Stuck in low income housing which all the stores are advertising cigarettes and liquor, stuck not being able to grow and supply themselves with a natural product that has been used in health and spiritual practice for generations, and not being able to educate themselves on important topics. We must come together to spread love, peace, and prosperity for all and Grant the spiritual awakening of using natural herbs and tonics to improve thr mind and body. Come together to grow and show true self-healing through the physical and internal experience

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    Recreational cannabis should be described as a self-aware term. The role of cannabis in society has shifted and although many may criticize the use as…

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  • evan from California

    i agree i dont think anyone should be in jail over a plant. i believe they could be using their resources to stop much more serious crimes. there does need to be rules on when u can use it and where you can use. for example you obviously cant drive after smoking or you will be sent to jail.

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    i agree i dont think anyone should be in jail over a plant. i believe they could be using their resources to stop much more serious crimes. there does…

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  • Rilee from Utah

    I agree with all of these comments. I believe that if marijuana was legalized that it wouldn’t be as big as a problem as we think it it. It will also help keep more people out of jail and help with a lot of medical issues that people have a hard time finding solutions to.

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    I agree with all of these comments. I believe that if marijuana was legalized that it wouldn’t be as big as a problem as we think it it. It will als…

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  • Anna from Texas

    I do think the government should legalize it. The enforcement of it is expensive and a lost cause. Legalizing it would take the trade out of the streets and generate tax revenue. However, I feel that regulations are important. I hate the smell of it, so just like there are limitations in where you can puff a cigarette, there should be restrictions for marijuana use too.

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    I do think the government should legalize it. The enforcement of it is expensive and a lost cause. Legalizing it would take the trade out of the stree…

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    • Alena from California

      I agree with the legalization of marijuana and additionally it has been found that by legalizing it, it will also benefit our economy by creating a large tax revenue and more jobs. On top of that it will also help with overcrowding in prisons and lower our crime rate.

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      I agree with the legalization of marijuana and additionally it has been found that by legalizing it, it will also benefit our economy by creating a la…

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  • Braden from Kentucky

    The legalization of marijuana has become a hot topic of debate in the 21st century. With the recent legalization in states like California and Colorado more people are asking the question, “Why is weed illegal?” The answer is more nuanced than many are led to believe. While marijuana may be fully legal in certain states, those in possession may still run the risk of being arrested by the federal government, all because of the supremacy clause of the constitution which states that federal law is supreme over state law. Currently, marijuana is fully legal in 16 states (including Washington D.C.) and is still wholly illegal in 14, however; just because the drug is legal in a state does not prevent a resident from being punished severely. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug alongside the likes of heroin, meth, and LSD. For a drug to be classified as Schedule I, it must have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use. Possession of a Schedule I drug is a federal crime, and offenders could see potential consequences like fines, jail time, or even loss of custody over their children. This has become a major issue in states where weed is fully legal for those who both consume and produce it, and it is not uncommon, look at the case of Steve and Maria Green. Although they both had a medical marijuana card because they suffered from crippling diseases (Steve from epilepsy and Maria from multiple sclerosis,) child protective services took their 6-month old daughter into protective custody after a judge ordered her removal. Their reasoning? The presence of marijuana makes their home the target for a break-in, which makes the home unsafe for the child to stay in (Neavling, Steve). A citizen should not be arrested and charged with a crime because they were following their state legislature, especially if they are being arrested for medicine that aids them with a debilitating disease. It is paradoxical to illegalize a drug because there are “no medical properties” and ignore the countless research studies that have been conducted that prove the effectiveness of marijuana with pain relief and relaxation. It is clear that legal marijuana would be very beneficial to the United States government as well as its citizens. Weed has been proven useful as a medicine in order to treat a wide variety of diseases from Parkinson’s to PTSD, and it has been shown to be less harmful than other legal substances like alcohol, tobacco, and some major prescription drugs.

    Neavling, Steve. “Steve Neavling.” Independent Journalism Dedicated to Improving Life in Detroit, Motor City Muckraker, 27 Feb. 2014, motorcitymuckraker.com/2014/02/27/medical-marijuana-mom-faces-another-custody-battle-for-supporting-pot/.
    Rich, Alex K., and Alexander Stingl. “Legalization of Marijuana: An Overview.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2018. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89158240&site=eds-live.

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    The legalization of marijuana has become a hot topic of debate in the 21st century. With the recent legalization in states like California and Colorad…

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  • Mike from Kentucky

    Legalizing recreational cannabis would benefit the United States in several ways. First, the amount of people in jails would decrease and create more room in overcrowded prisons. The legalization of alcohol should be used as a precedent for the treatment of marajuana in the United States. Like alcohol, cannabis is not good for your body, but in the correct moderation, the negative side effects are relatively nonexistent. The United States should use the same procedure as alcohol by legalizing marajuana, but charging for DUI’s. This would allow for the legalization of marajuana while keeping citizens safe from dangerous drivers under the influence of drugs. If marajuana was legalized, the CDC would be able to regulate it. This would heavily eliminate unsafe substances that consumers of marajuana are not aware of in their cannabis. The CDC could make sure the ingredients of cannabis are labeled so consumers know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. This would keep more Americans safe. The legalization of marajuana would boost the economy and create more products that America can export. Businesses would open, jobs would be created, and money would be entering the economy.

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    Legalizing recreational cannabis would benefit the United States in several ways. First, the amount of people in jails would decrease and create more …

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  • Katie from Kentucky

    The federal government should legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Cannabis has few risks when used appropriately, and the risks it possesses are comparative to those of alcohol. Marijuana’s risks include addiction, worsened mental illness, and cognitive issues if used by young people. However, alcohol runs the same dangers. Alcohol is addictive, and it can harm mental health. In addition, alcohol damages the brain if used by young people. Like alcohol, marijuana could be legalized for people of a certain age to ensure proper cognitive development. Overall, there is no reason to criminalize marijuana when alcohol is legal.
    Harvard’s Medical School professor Kevin Hill states that marijuana’s negative impacts are mainly seen in those who use the drug everyday. (https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/02/professor-explores-marijuanas-safe-use-and-addiction/). However, this should not be utilized as an argument against the legalization of cannabis because there are many activities that are fully legal in the U.S. that are also harmful if done on a daily basis. For instance, it is perfectly legal to eat a Big Mac for every meal everyday. It is also legal to drink large amounts of energy drinks everyday. Although legal, both Big Macs and energy drinks cause health issues when consumed frequently in large volumes. All in all, it is up to the American consumer to decide whether or not to respect their health while engaging in their constitutional right to pursue happiness, and this pursuit of happiness may present itself in the form of marijuana or the Big Mac.
    The federal government should also legalize the recreational use of cannabis in order to do its part in dismantling racism. Laws banning cannabis disproportionately affect people of color. Although people in the United States sell and use marijuana at similar rates regardless of race, black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white people. (https://www.aclu.org/blog/criminal-law-reform/drug-law-reform/marijuana-legalization-racial-justice-issue). The application of these cannabis laws is blatantly racist, and there is truly no need for these laws to exist since marijuana and alcohol are so similar in risks.
    Some people may argue that marijuana is not super harmful by itself, but it leads to other worse drugs that can seriously harm users. However, a study done in Japan proved that marijuana is not a gateway drug. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3600369/). In the study, marijuana was as accessible as harder drugs, and consequently, drug users who planned on doing harder drugs immediately used those harder drugs. In the U.S., marijuana is just more accessible so people who plan on doing harder drugs will start with marijuana before moving on to those other substances. Essentially, people who do not plan on doing harder drugs will not be “led” by marijuana to engage in more harmful substances.
    In conclusion, the U.S. should legalize cannabis because cannabis presents itself as relatively equal to alcohol in risks. Furthermore, these unnecessary cannabis laws contribute to racism. Additionally, the myth that marijuana is a gateway drug has been proven false.

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    The federal government should legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Cannabis has few risks when used appropriately, and the risks it possesses ar…

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  • James from Kentucky

    Marijuana legalization should be sought after as the response to stop it and the effects its criminalization have caused drastically outweigh any potential danger it might cause. To begin with, Marijuana, when compared to other drugs, is much less harmless. Even compared to legalized drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is far less addictive and destructive. First off, marijuana is less addictive than most other drugs, as marijuana has no actively addictive chemical to it, meaning that marijuana addiction works the same way as a gambling or video game addiction. Secondly, even though marijuana can be addictive to some people, the rate of addiction is far lower than other drugs. Whereas 30% who try tobacco and 12% of people who try alcohol will become addicted, only 10% of marijuana smokers become addicted. The health damage caused my marijuana is also less than both of these drugs, as while alcohol is linked to increased risk of cancer and liver disease, and cigarettes are linked to lung disease and cancer, marijuana is only really linked to gum disease. Furthermore, unlike what some people claim, marijuana is not a gateway drug. While studies have found that many teenagers (who would not have access to marijuana if it were legalized) who smoke marijuana also do other drugs, many experts agree that it may not be caused by marijuana, but instead from underage drinking and tobacco use. Marijuana is just one of the drugs already addicted teenagers get attracted to.
    Another good reason to legalize marijuana is to look back in history to prohibition. Although modern society now looks down on the flaws of prohibition, proponents of prohibition made many of the same arguments that are being made today against marijuana. Arguments that it was a gateway drug, that it caused violence and was destroying the country were the reasons why the 18th amendment was passed. However, the destructive result of this was far greater than the risk alcohol posed. Despite the enormous amount of money invested in stopping the sale and manufacturing of alcohol, the government was practically ineffective at stopping alcohol from getting to those who wanted it. Additionally, violent crime exploded as gangs profited off of the substance, leading to tons of deaths across the country. By the time the 21st amendment ended prohibition, the nation had come to realize that the criminalization of substances has to be proportional to the damage the substances cause to society. Marijuana, like alcohol, does not cause nearly enough damage as opposed to the damage caused by trying to control it. Legalizing marijuana would decrease needless spending, as well as help decrease gang violence, needless arrests, and will help bring about a more equitable society.

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    Marijuana legalization should be sought after as the response to stop it and the effects its criminalization have caused drastically outweigh any pote…

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  • Tyesha from Louisiana

    Yes , because crime rate will go down , marijuana use is a big cause of arrest around Louisiana especially the Baton Rouge area. Revenue will definitely go up take a look at Colorado numbers ,

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    Yes , because crime rate will go down , marijuana use is a big cause of arrest around Louisiana especially the Baton Rouge area. Revenue will definite…

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  • Stephen from Virginia

    We can all agree that reducing marijuana usage is an admirable goal. To achieve this goal, I propose the following plan:
    Step one: legalize marijuana. Right now, there is an illegal market for marijuana, and legalizing it, would create a taxable market. The current untaxable market would be destroyed as drug dealers put their product into the taxable market, understanding they can reach more potential customers.
    Step two, once the under-the-table marijuana market is destroyed, slowly increase taxes on marijuana until it becomes too expensive. The goal is not to eliminate marijuana usage, but to reduce it. By making the marijuana market taxable, the government has power in the market. Through taxes, they can reduce marijuana usage below the current level.
    However, before we make National legislation, there are two problems that must be addressed. First, is the possibility of under-the-table markets springing back up to avoid the heavy taxes. Second is the possibility of societies being negatively affected during the short period when marijuana hits the market before it is taxed extensively. I have no statistical evidence to prove that these are not significant problems since this plan has not yet been tried. However, I propose the following solution: have state legislature implement this plan before the National government attempts it. If it works, we can create National legislation. If it does not work, we should pursue a different path.
    The final factor we should take into consideration is COVID-19. We should not implement this plan before the pandemic is over and everyone is still stuck at home. As the saying goes “idle hands are a devil’s workshop.” Logically, if we legalized marijuana now, there would be a greater increase in marijuana usage than if we waited a few more months for people to get back to work. When people are just sitting around the house, they are more likely to indulge is self-pleasure.
    In conclusion, marijuana usage must be curbed. One possible solution that should be pursued is allowing it into the main market so that it can be taxed extensively and create a net reduction in usage. However, before we try this plan, we must wait for this coronavirus pandemic to end.

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    We can all agree that reducing marijuana usage is an admirable goal. To achieve this goal, I propose the following plan:
    Step one: legaliz…

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  • Meagan from Kentucky

    Yes but also all petty cannabis related charges need to be dropped

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  • Ethan from Kansas

    I think recreational use of cannabis should absolutely be allowed. It has multiple proven uses and can help with multiple disorders such as anxiety, depression, chemo patients, etc. I personally think its not fair for people to have such negative opinions such a harmless thing that they themselves have never tried.

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    I think recreational use of cannabis should absolutely be allowed. It has multiple proven uses and can help with multiple disorders such as anxiety, d…

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  • Vincent from South Dakota

    I feel it should be legalized because it really brings no harm to people. Innocent people are punished so often for using recreational marijuana, and yet, people who consume alcohol aren’t. Alcohol causes more damage to people than marijuana, and marijuana can be consumed in forms that don’t cause harm to the lungs, such as edibles like gummies or brownies. If people can get blackout drunk without consequence, why must getting high be forbidden? I don’t think it brings any massive harm to society.

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    I feel it should be legalized because it really brings no harm to people. Innocent people are punished so often for using recreational marijuana, and …

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  • Guadalupe from California

    doing this will lead to people over using marijuana and abusing it and basically it will be an excuse for having it in your hands

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  • jesus from California

    they should not legalise the marijuana because taxes will go up. people will still find a way to get there hands on marijuana. Doctors will prescribe it to people who need for health issues

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    they should not legalise the marijuana because taxes will go up. people will still find a way to get there hands on marijuana. Doctors will prescribe …

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  • alysa from California

    I do not think marijuana should be legal for recreational uses. People need to remember marijuana is still a harmful drug and if its gets into the wrong body, it can kill someone. Marijuana needs to be used responsibly or else it can lead to many deaths

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    I do not think marijuana should be legal for recreational uses. People need to remember marijuana is still a harmful drug and if its gets into the wro…

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  • Lacey from California

    The federal government should not legalize the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. The main psychoactive chemical that is responsible for its intoxicating effects is THC. The plant contains more than 500 other chemicals. If legalized, it will encourage teen use and will lead to an increase in car accident related deaths from driving under the influence. Marijuana is addictive, just as much as any other drug and can produce harmful long lasting effects. Smoking marijuana has also been shown to be a risk factor for lung cancer, just like cigarettes. There is also a huge withdrawal syndrome associated with the use of the drug, which affects 44% of its users. Marijuana is still not fully understood and therefore should not be legalized. It poses risks just like any other drug and creates a false sense of relief and relaxation. This leads to users becoming addicted, just like how a heroine user gets their daily fix to feel the euphoria when taken. The federal government should take its citizens safety and health into full consideration and legalizing this drug will set them back in doing just that.

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    The federal government should not legalize the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the Cannabis plant. The main psychoactive chemi…

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  • Dominic from California

    The use of cannabis is quite common in California whether it was legal or not. People will keep using it even if it is discouraged. Trying to punish something like that is very time-consuming and wasteful of resources. If it is to be illegal there should be a less severe punishment for having it. Another way of solving the issue of cannabis is to do a similar thing to what happened during the prohibition. You can just go to your doctor and get some and use it and it would be perfectly legal. It gets around any law that would say it is illegal to have. All that would need to happen is that doctors would be allowed to give it to patients. If people argue that it is a gateway drug that will lead them down the wrong path then that is their problem. If they decide to throw away their life by using worse drugs that is their problem that they will have to figure out.

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    The use of cannabis is quite common in California whether it was legal or not. People will keep using it even if it is discouraged. Trying to punish s…

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  • Alma from California

    The federal government should not legalize the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a hallucinogen. Hallucinogens are drugs that produce false perceptions without obvious feelings. When smoking marijuana, marijuana can bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain. As a result, cannabis may have many adverse effects on its users. In the short term, marijuana will increase sensation, weaken motor coordination, cause a lack of ability to feel full, weaken perception, suppress impulses, and slow reaction time. In the long term, marijuana can cause motivation, smoke inhalation, physical dependence, and shrinkage of areas of the brain related to memory and emotions. Although this problem is related to recreational marijuana more than regular use, these problems can still occur. For example, recreational marijuana use can act as a “gateway” drug. After these people have taken the medication, they may want to continue smoking marijuana. As a result, the short-term and long-term negative effects listed above may occur. These problems may be exacerbated in people who use recreational marijuana for a long time become physically dependent. After treatment is over, they may face problems related to withdrawal and re-use the medication. Once their tolerance to cannabis increases, they can re-use other drugs, such as anti-cracking agents, acids, and methamphetamine. The use of these drugs may cause heart attacks, mood distortions, and even death.

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    The federal government should not legalize the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a hallucinogen. Hallucinogens are drugs that produce false perceptions w…

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  • Bryan from New York

    No place in our society for any type of drug. This is just an additional way for government to make money off of the LEGAL citizens of this country. Non-users will be affected as well.

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    No place in our society for any type of drug. This is just an additional way for government to make money off of the LEGAL citizens of this country. …

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  • Griffin from Kentucky

    No, the federal government should not legalize the use of cannabis. Marijuana (also known as THC) is a hallucinogen. A hallucinogen is a drug that creates fake perceptions without any tangible sensations. Marijuana, when smoked, can bind to the cannabinoid receptors inside of the brain. As a result, marijuana can have many adverse effects for its users. In the short term, marijuana can amplify sensations, impair motor coordination, create a lack in the ability to sense satiety, impair perceptual ability, disinhibit impulses, and slow reaction time. In the long term, marijuana can lead to amotivation, smoke inhalation damage, create physiological dependence, and shrink the areas in the brain related to memory and emotion. While this question is in regards to recreational marijuana and not referring to regular use, these issues still may occur. For example, recreational marijuana use may act as a “gateway” drug. These individuals, once finished with their dosage, may desire to continue smoking marijuana. As a result, the negative effects for short term and long term listed above may occur. These issues may be heightened if the individual using recreational marijuana for an extended period of time becomes physiologically dependent. Once their treatment is over, they may face issues related to withdrawal and revert to drug use. Once their tolerance for marijuana increases, they may revert to using other drugs such as crack, acid, and meth. The use of these drugs may result in heart attacks, distorted emotions, or even death.

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    No, the federal government should not legalize the use of cannabis. Marijuana (also known as THC) is a hallucinogen. A hallucinogen is a drug that cre…

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  • Sydney from Kentucky

    The federal government should not legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Cannabis is first and foremost a harmful drug. The government is supposed to serve the good of the people and that means making harmful substances, like cannabis, illegal. While the laws surrounding cannabis are misapplied, that does not give a good enough reason to make it legal. The drug’s effects on the human body do not change whether the drug is legal or illegal. Cannabis can still cause paranoia, schizophrenia, and can be used as a gateway drug for more powerful drugs. It is dangerous and harmful to the human body. For that reason, cannabis should remain illegal.

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    The federal government should not legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Cannabis is first and foremost a harmful drug. The government is supposed…

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  • Artem from Illinois

    Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/). Yet, the overwhelming majority of medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, oppose it. Such a significant divide can be explained by the relative lack of knowledge an average American has about the effects of marijuana. A whopping 18% think it is completely harmless, in contrast to 1% and 5% who said the same about cigarettes and e-cigarettes respectively (https://www.usnews.com/news/health-care-news/articles/2018-07-25/poll-americans-think-smoking-pot-is-less-harmful-than-cigarettes). Many Americans fail to realize that marijuana is a dangerous drug and as such support its legalization. However, these campaigns are misleading. First of all, cannabis is extremely addictive. As many as 4 million Americans suffer from marijuana use disorder, meaning that they are dependent on the substance (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive). This number would climb after legalization. In Colorado, for instance, past month marijuana use for ages 12 and older increased 58 percent (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913861/). Legalization in many states also increased daily use. In 2005, about three million Americans used cannabis every day. Today, the figure is eight million. Put another way, about one cannabis user in five uses it daily. By contrast, only one in every 15 drinkers consumes alcohol every day (https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf). Such frequent use has been shown to be associated with psychosis, panic attacks, anxiety, schizophrenia, and depression (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders). Since research on the narcotic has so far been limited, many long-term health effects are relatively unknown, though research shows that smoking one marijuana joint is as damaging to the lungs as five tobacco cigarettes (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cancer-cannabis/cannabis-bigger-cancer-risk-than-cigarettes-study-idUSHKG10478820080129). While there is no consensus on the exact health risks of the drug, one thing is clear – it is much more harmful than many legalization proponents suggest. In addition to the numerous health effects, marijuana legalization would likely be devastating to the economy. It is true that legal marijuana would bring in some tax revenue. However, these profits pale in comparison to indirect costs of legalization. The resources needed to pay for increased emergency care visits, addiction treatment, drugged driving accidents, crime, and especially lost productivity outweigh the economic benefits of legalizing cannabis. Annual societal costs from alcohol ($223.5 billion) and tobacco ($193 billion) far exceed the $24 billion in tax revenues they raise (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22011424/). Given that marijuana tax revenues account for less than 1% of the expenditures of states that have legalized it, the situation with cannabis is unlikely to be different than that with tobacco and alcohol (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/13/heres-how-legal-pot-changed-colorado-and-washington/). Legalizing marijuana would put another harmful substance in our society that costs more than the revenue it generates. Non-financial societal costs would rise as well: after legalization, fatal crashes involving marijuana doubled in Washington and rose by 62% in Colorado (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6913861/, https://newsroom.aaa.com/2020/01/fatal-crashes-involving-drivers-who-test-positive-for-marijuana-increase-after-state-legalizes-drug/). The black markets, too, have thrived in states where the drug has been legalized (https://alcoholstudies.rutgers.edu/cannabis-black-market-thrives-despite-legalization/). Due to the regulations and taxes on legal cannabis, many users still prefer to buy the product from trusted dealers, who are now less likely to be persecuted by the police. As a result, illicit trade has remained the same or even gone up in these states. Overall crime has not decreased in legal marijuana jurisdictions, and has either increased or remained the same (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047235220302361, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07418825.2019.1666903?journalCode=rjqy20). Thus, any effort and time law enforcement may save due to legalization will be offset by the new effort and time they have to put into battling traffic accidents, black markets, and crime. One thing is certain, however: despite the numerous negative impacts of the plant, it is overcriminalized in the US. There were 663,367 marijuana arrests in the country in 2018, and 40,000 Americans were incarcerated for charges related to cannabis (https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2019/10/01/marijuana-arrests-increased-again-last-year-despite-more-states-legalizing-fbi-data-shows/, https://www.forbes.com/sites/joanoleck/2020/06/26/with-40000-americans-incarcerated-for-marijuana-offenses-the-cannabis-industry-needs-to-step-up-activists-said-this-week/?sh=14b7ebd8c16f). While marijuana is far from benign, it is certainly not dangerous enough to result in that many arrests and imprisonments. That is why the federal government should decriminalize possession of smaller amounts of the drug, and turn it into a civil infraction or at most a misdemeanor. Afterwards, every state should decide for itself whether or not to legalize it, and the federal government may follow in the future. For now, however, a full federal legalization of a not-well-understood substance would endanger public safety and the economy. Overcriminalization needs to stop, but no further actions from the federal government should be made until more research is available.

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    Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/). Y…

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  • Sarah from Illinois

    I think that the federal government should not legalize the recreational use of cannabis and here’s why. One of the many arguments in favor of the legalization of marijuana is that it isn’t a danger to the user. This is just not the case. “According to the federal agency for healthcare research and quality, in 2006, emergency rooms saw 30,000 cases of people with diagnosis of psychosis and marijuana use disorder… bye 2014, that number had tripled 90,000.” Stated in the New York Times article, what advocates of legalizing pot don’t want you to know. This along with other studies and articles so they cannabis isn’t as safe as we once thought or what we were told. Advocates preach the use of pot doesn’t affect your mental health but that was proven false time and time again. Another argument that is in favor of legalization is the decrease of violent crimes. “ Before legalization began in 2014, advocates promised that it would reduce violent crime. But the first four states to legalize have some sharp increase in murders and aggravated assaults since 2014.” Stated in the New York Times article. The advocates say one and preach one thing but the truth is really the opposite” this is why I think that it would be a bad idea for the federal government to legalize the use of cannabis.

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    I think that the federal government should not legalize the recreational use of cannabis and here’s why. One of the many arguments in favor of the l…

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  • Amber from Ohio

    I don’t want high people anywhere. They have no idea what they are doing and are reckless

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