Throughout the duration of our group blogging assignment, we have found numerous supporting arguments for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. Our blog was intended to highlight the different ways in which the decriminalization, and eventual legalization of marijuana will reap massive economic and social benefits. In our first affirmation post, we discussed the numerous health benefits of marijuana, including a slew of general health benefits and stress relieving qualities; as well as the potential for generating new medical alternatives. Marijuana was even described as being the “safest therapeutically active substance known to man” by Francis Young, a judge for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
We also evaluated the varying agricultural and economic advantages legalizing marijuana in the U.S. would create. Aside from hemp having the potential to be manufactured into more than 25,00 environmentally friendly products, marijuana crop components have been found to maintain especially high nutritional values. Additionally, our group discovered that the United States essentially gives away billions of dollars to foreign nations via the importation of hemp products despite the fact that the plant grows wildly across much of our nation. Similarly, official reports to local and state politicians revealed that the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in both state and federal expenditures currently used on prohibition enforcement; and produce billions of dollars in tax revenues.
Moreover, our group’s research also found significant evidence which supported the notion that attitudes concerning the legalization of marijuana in the US have begun to radically shift. A stud conducted by Pew Research Polling revealed that an unprecedented %52 of Americans currently want marijuana to be legalized. At first we found this study’s findings surprising, considering that most media coverage of marijuana is inherently negative — however there are many other indications of a widespread attitudinal shift in American culture.
As our DMAD blogging assignment comes to a close, our group decided to focus the bulk of this last affirmative post on reviewing the tangible progress our nation has seen in terms of the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. While currently only two states have legalized marijuana entirely (Washington and Colorado), a host of other states have voted to decriminalize the substance, including: Oregon, Nevada, California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alaska. Furthermore, there are currently nearly twenty states which have enacted some form of medical marijuana legislation which either allows for the regulated distribution of medical marijuana in dispensaries or medical center locations.
We see that decriminalization and legalization is coming closer as our own state has begun to implement medical marijuana legislation. On Monday, the Maryland General Assembly approved a measure allowing “medical marijuana programs at research centres that choose to participate”. Although state analysts have projected that the programs would not be up and running until 2016 at the earliest, more academic medical research centres will have the opportunity to review possible treatment aspects.
Although cannabis is currently still illegal in many states, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, and West Virginia all have pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana in their state legislatures. As negative attitudes concerning the legal status of marijuana continue to shift, it is expected that more and more states will adopt similar legal status’ to Washington and Colorado.
Through the introduction of Medical marijuana, decriminalization, and eventual legalization the United States will hopefully be a the first nation to completely legalize cannabis! Our findings concerning the legal status of marijuana across the U.S. indicates a very positive outlook for the legalization of marijuana in the near future.