The use of marijuana in today’s society is much greater than what it was 50 years ago. It’s schedule one drug classification is being questioned more than ever and with good reason. The current drug schedule classifies marijuana alongside commonly known hard drugs such as heroin, meth, and LSD. Not all may know first hand but it is pretty safe to assume that this classification is at least slightly out of sort. Of course there are still affects taken on by a drug like marijuana but by definition of classification these drugs must possess relatively all the same qualities and if you ask any drug user who can speak for the drugs in the schedule 1 classification, marijuana does not quite or at all for that matter, share the qualities of its schedule 1 occupants. Drowsiness and irritated, red eyes don’t exactly compare to hallucination and full body numbness. I think it is reasonable to say that we need to take action as a nation, and not simply legalize the use of marijuana without restrictions, but modify its classification within the drug schedule, to better fit its characteristics.
I think in context, it's important to step back and compare the effects of marijuana versus the effects of a non classified drug, alcohol. Alcohol is just as commonly used in modern day society as toothpaste, or mouthwash. People beg for an excuse to drink alcohol, whether it be their third cousin’s best friend’s wedding or a toast to their dog dying. Any excuse people have to drink they take full advantage of it. What’s ironic about this is that if you educate yourself on the effects of alcohol, a completely legal substance, has on your mind and body, you’re findings will be quite disturbing. Little do people know, alcohol is actually 114 times more risky than marijuana(Legalizing Marijuana, Gerber 41). It's crazy that the effects of alcohol, even under the law, are so widely accepted, while we criminalize “stoners”. More often we see individuals act unintelligently and irresponsibly under the influence of alcohol, than we do cannabis users. I’m not saying that people under the influence of cannabis behave like saints, but the statistics seem to suggest they are more well behaved. According to the “National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Incorporated” 2/3 percent of rape victims claim that there was alcohol use at the scene of the crime, while they don’t mention any percentage of rape under the influence of marijuana. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of ALL CRIMES, not just solely alcohol based crimes either. This would include murder, rape, robberies, etc.. Comparing this to drug based crimes, almost 100% of drug users commit no other type of crime besides drug related ones, most falling under the System Related Crimes; growing, dealing, and transporting. After taking a look at crimes as it relates to alcohol and marijuana, one can’t help but accept that the truth is the tendency to commit a crime, or make any unitelligent decision, aside from the substance itself, is much greater when under the influence of alcohol versus marijuana. With that being said how can one agree with alcohol being outright legal, and pot being outright illegal? Time to face the facts.
Rebuilding the crumbling economy seems to have been a struggle for our nation for the past several years, and even currently. Modifying the classification of marijuana could and would be beneficial to the nation’s economic. For years our nation’s national debt has continued to rise, and at this point in time totals at around twenty trillion dollars. If you couldn’t figure it out on your own twenty trillion dollars is one hefty amount of money and simple changes in taxes and spending cuts isn’t going to raise the money alone. A new market is necessary to at a minimum stimulate the economic growth necessary to push us in the right direction. To put things in perspective, in its first year of legalization, the state of Colorado was able to bring in sixty three million dollars in cannabis sales alone from the taxes, with an additional thirteen million in license and fees on top of that(Gerber 47). In one year, with no time for the market to mature, and in one state alone, the federal government was able to obtain .0003% of the debt it has. Seems like nothing, but multiply that by fifty and you now have nearly .02% of the debt. It is now often said that this .02% is no justification for reclassifying marijuana. Can’t say I disagree with that, however let’s slow down and reconsider how our economy works. Give that market five to ten years to mature, and each individual state could very well be doubling its sales, more or less. With that we are looking at a substantial increase in the government's net tax . Although this does not completely solve the nation’s issue of debt, imagine the number of jobs that would be created to run the thousands, possibly even millions of dispensaries throughout the country. Not only that, but the product must be grown and for every few dispensary there is one grower, so with thousands or millions of dispensaries comes hundreds or thousands of growers, each with multiple employees per farm, that is millions if not billions of new jobs created. In every aspect of our economy the market that will emerge from a simple re positioning of marijuana’s legal status is immense. Such a simple task could have so much dividends, and with facts supporting its misplacement, ignorance of it’s almost certain benefits would be naive to say the least.
In another aspect of cannabis benefits, health and medical treatment is a no brainer. For years marijuana has been an under the radar medication. Its most well known medical use is for that of cancer patients. For them it can offer wide range of reliefs and assistance ranging from mood stabilization to the actual fighting of cancer cells themselves("10 Ways Marijuana Can Help Cancer Patients." Leaf Science. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.). Cancer being a top three leading cause of death in America makes it hard to straight up say weed is a creation of no good. In addition to cancer however, cannabis has been know to help individuals cope with a broader range of medical deficiencies. For instance, many American suffer from a variety of sleep disorder. A commonly known side effect of marijuana is drowsiness, and “recent studies suggest THC may also improve nighttime breathing and reduce sleep interruptions in those who suffer from a common disorder known as sleep apnea”( "7 Proven Medical Benefits of THC." Leaf Science. N.p., 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.). Sleep apnea is a major issues for those who have it, and although other methods are out there to minimize its effects, none are as easy to obtain financially, and as subtle as marijuana. Marijuana in its medical form has many uses, a lot more than just discussed. With such positives and many still unknown, the current drug classification of cannabis not only makes it frowned upon, but also often out of reach. Why deprive those in need of such a resource? Again referring to its almost appalling misplacement, a decision as minor as reclassifying it under looser regulations would bring great benefits to the overall well being of many of our nation’s citizens. If those who are in need seek the assistance of such a substance, denial without a real reason is nothing short of immoral. It is time to really put the wants and needs of America first, and not the government's historical reputation.
A lot of information was just presented, and yes it may be daunting. Ultimately what is at stake here is the current classification is not only very harsh and ill supported, but also a hindrance to the well being of the United States of America. Our nation has always taken pride in learning from its mistakes, and this mistake is certainly one that can easily be fixed. It just takes the willingness to accept, and from their reform. The President of the United States need to bring about the issue of marijuana’s classification within the drug schedule, and moreover press to have something done about it. The President for obvious is reasons is an influential figure in our government's decision making. His support and acceptance can and will be very persuasive and greatly increase the likeliness of an action being taken.