Should marijuana be legalized: some new data for the debate

While the legalization of marijuana spreads from state to state, on the national level the movement looks bleak under the Trump administration.

President Obama had previously discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana law in states that had legalized the drug, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions has gone after the industry, making it easier for U.S. Attorneys to enforce federal law.

Let’s take a data-driven look at the debate.

It’s time to legalize marijuana for all uses.

tax revenue

We have a huge federal deficit and a ready market that could help to balance the books.

Legalizing marijuana on the federal level would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue and more than a million new jobs across the United States in the next decade.

The study was done by New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm that reports on the cannabis industry.

racial inequality

A 2013 study by the ACLU found that while whites and blacks used marijuana at about the same rate, blacks were four times more likely to be arrested for it.

In urban areas it’s worse: New York City’s blacks and Latinos are arrested 10 times the rate of white people for about the same marijuana usage.

Several hundred thousand arrests for marijuana possession occur each year, of mostly of people of color.

black market

A study by the RAND Corporation shows that marijuana makes up about 20-30 percent of drug cartel revenue. If marijuana is legalized, drug cartels lose the money that funds violence worldwide, including places like Honduras.

JUST SAY NO to legalizing marijuana.

car accidents

Marijuana legalization has been linked to an increase in car accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that crashes increased after legalization by 6% in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The report also stated that while driving under the influence is illegal in all states, determining impairment from marijuana is challenging because unlike alcohol, the amount of marijuana present in a person’s body doesn’t relate to how impaired they are.

long term health risks

A study out of the University of Montreal looked at the relationship between alcohol, cannabis use and cognitive development among adolescents at all levels of consumption (abstinent, occasional consumer or high consumer). 3,826 Canadian adolescents over a period of four years were monitored, year-to-year, for cognitive development like recall memory, perceptual reasoning, inhibition and working memory. Cannabis usage was associated with generally lower performance on all cognitive domains.

More studies need to be run to definitively determine if there are risks and for whom they are the greatest.

commercialization of pot

If for-profit businesses were allowed to market pot could those messages cause misuse or abuse of a drug that has not been studied enough?

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