2018 Theses Doctoral

Essays on Cannabis Legalization

Thomas, Danna Kang

Though the drug remains illegal at the federal level, in recent years states and localities have increasingly liberalized their marijuana laws in order to generate tax revenue and save resources on marijuana law enforcement. Many states have adopted some form of medical marijuana and/or marijuana decriminalization laws, and as of 2017, Washington, Colorado, Maine, California, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, and the District of Columbia have all legalized marijuana for recreational use. In 2016 recreational marijuana generated over $1.8 billion in sales. Hence, studying marijuana reforms and the policies and outcomes of early recreational marijuana adopters is an important area of research. However, perhaps due to the fact that legalized recreational cannabis is a recent phenomenon, a scarcity of research exists on the impacts of recreational cannabis legalization and the efficacy and efficiency of cannabis regulation. This dissertation aims to fill this gap, using the Washington recreational marijuana market as the primary setting to study cannabis legalization in the United States. Of first order importance in the regulation of sin goods such as cannabis is quantifying the value of the marginal damages of negative externalities. Hence, Chapter 1 (co-authored with Lin Tian) explores the impact of marijuana dispensary location on neighborhood property values, exploiting plausibly exogenous variation in marijuana retailer location. Policymakers and advocates have long expressed concerns that the positive effects of the legalization--e.g., increases in tax revenue--are well spread spatially, but the negative effects are highly localized through channels such as crime. Hence, we use changes in property values to measure individuals' willingness to pay to avoid localized externalities caused by the arrival of marijuana dispensaries. Our key identification strategy is to compare changes in housing sales around winners and losers in a lottery for recreational marijuana retail licenses. (Due to location restrictions, license applicants were required to provide an address of where they would like to locate.) Hence, we have the locations of both actual entrants and potential entrants, which provides a natural difference-in-differences set-up. Using data from King County, Washington, we find an almost 2.4% decrease in the value of properties within a 0.5 mile radius of an entrant, a $9,400 decline in median property values. The aforementioned retail license lottery was used to distribute licenses due to a license quota. Retail license quotas are often used by states to regulate entry into sin goods markets as quotas can restrict consumption by decreasing access and by reducing competition (and, therefore, increasing markups). However, license quotas also create allocative inefficiency. For example, license quotas are often based on the population of a city or county. Hence, licenses are not necessarily allocated to the areas where they offer the highest marginal benefit. Moreover, as seen in the case of the Washington recreational marijuana market, licenses are often distributed via lottery, meaning that in the absence of an efficiency secondary market for licenses, the license recipients are not necessarily the most efficient potential entrants. This allocative inefficiency is generated by heterogeneity in firms and consumers. Therefore, in Chapter 2, I develop a model of demand and firm pricing in order to investigate firm-level heterogeneity and inefficiency. Demand is differentiated by geography and incorporates consumer demographics. I estimate this demand model using data on firm sales from Washington. Utilizing the estimates and firm pricing model, I back out a non-parametric distribution of firm variable costs. These variable costs differ by product and firm and provide a measure of firm inefficiency. I find that variable costs have lower inventory turnover; hence, randomly choosing entrants in a lottery could be a large contributor to allocative inefficiency. Chapter 3 explores the sources of allocative inefficiency in license distribution in the Washington recreational marijuana market. A difficulty in studying the welfare effects of license quotas is finding credible counterfactuals of unrestricted entry. Therefore, I take a structural approach: I first develop a three stage model that endogenizes firm entry and incorporates the spatial demand and pricing model discussed in Chapter 2. Using the estimates of the demand and pricing model, I estimate firms' fixed costs and use data on locations of those potential entrants that did not win Washington's retail license lottery to simulate counterfactual entry patterns. I find that allowing firms to enter freely at Washington's current marijuana tax rate increases total surplus by 21.5% relative to a baseline simulation of Washington's license quota regime. Geographic misallocation and random allocation of licenses account for 6.6\% and 65.9\% of this difference, respectively. Moreover, as the primary objective of these quotas is to mitigate the negative externalities of marijuana consumption, I study alternative state tax policies that directly control for the marginal damages of marijuana consumption. Free entry with tax rates that keep the quantity of marijuana or THC consumed equal to baseline consumption increases welfare by 6.9% and 11.7%, respectively. I also explore the possibility of heterogeneous marginal damages of consumption across geography, backing out the non-uniform sales tax across geography that is consistent with Washington's license quota policy. Free entry with a non-uniform sales tax increases efficiency by over 7% relative to the baseline simulation of license quotas due to improvements in license allocation.

  • Cannabis--Law and legislation
  • Marijuana industry
  • Drug legalization
  • Drugs--Economic aspects

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The Evidence—and Lack Thereof—About Cannabis

Research is still needed on cannabis’s risks and benefits. 

Lindsay Smith Rogers

Although the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law, medicinal and recreational cannabis use has become increasingly widespread.

Thirty-eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical cannabis, while 23 states and D.C. have legalized recreational use. Cannabis legalization has benefits, such as removing the product from the illegal market so it can be taxed and regulated, but science is still trying to catch up as social norms evolve and different products become available. 

In this Q&A, adapted from the August 25 episode of Public Health On Call , Lindsay Smith Rogers talks with Johannes Thrul, PhD, MS , associate professor of Mental Health , about cannabis as medicine, potential risks involved with its use, and what research is showing about its safety and efficacy. 

Do you think medicinal cannabis paved the way for legalization of recreational use?

The momentum has been clear for a few years now. California was the first to legalize it for medical reasons [in 1996]. Washington and Colorado were the first states to legalize recreational use back in 2012. You see one state after another changing their laws, and over time, you see a change in social norms. It's clear from the national surveys that people are becoming more and more in favor of cannabis legalization. That started with medical use, and has now continued into recreational use.

But there is a murky differentiation between medical and recreational cannabis. I think a lot of people are using cannabis to self-medicate. It's not like a medication you get prescribed for a very narrow symptom or a specific disease. Anyone with a medical cannabis prescription, or who meets the age limit for recreational cannabis, can purchase it. Then what they use it for is really all over the place—maybe because it makes them feel good, or because it helps them deal with certain symptoms, diseases, and disorders.

Does cannabis have viable medicinal uses?

The evidence is mixed at this point. There hasn’t been a lot of funding going into testing cannabis in a rigorous way. There is more evidence for certain indications than for others, like CBD for seizures—one of the first indications that cannabis was approved for. And THC has been used effectively for things like nausea and appetite for people with cancer.

There are other indications where the evidence is a lot more mixed. For example, pain—one of the main reasons that people report for using cannabis. When we talk to patients, they say cannabis improved their quality of life. In the big studies that have been done so far, there are some indications from animal models that cannabis might help [with pain]. When we look at human studies, it's very much a mixed bag. 

And, when we say cannabis, in a way it's a misnomer because cannabis is so many things. We have different cannabinoids and different concentrations of different cannabinoids. The main cannabinoids that are being studied are THC and CBD, but there are dozens of other minor cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis products, all of varying concentrations. And then you also have a lot of different routes of administration available. You can smoke, vape, take edibles, use tinctures and topicals. When you think about the explosion of all of the different combinations of different products and different routes of administration, it tells you how complicated it gets to study this in a rigorous way. You almost need a randomized trial for every single one of those and then for every single indication.

What do we know about the risks of marijuana use?  

Cannabis use disorder is a legitimate disorder in the DSM. There are, unfortunately, a lot of people who develop a problematic use of cannabis. We know there are risks for mental health consequences. The evidence is probably the strongest that if you have a family history of psychosis or schizophrenia, using cannabis early in adolescence is not the best idea. We know cannabis can trigger psychotic symptoms and potentially longer lasting problems with psychosis and schizophrenia. 

It is hard to study, because you also don't know if people are medicating early negative symptoms of schizophrenia. They wouldn't necessarily have a diagnosis yet, but maybe cannabis helps them to deal with negative symptoms, and then they develop psychosis. There is also some evidence that there could be something going on with the impact of cannabis on the developing brain that could prime you to be at greater risk of using other substances later down the road, or finding the use of other substances more reinforcing. 

What benefits do you see to legalization?

When we look at the public health landscape and the effect of legislation, in this case legalization, one of the big benefits is taking cannabis out of the underground illegal market. Taking cannabis out of that particular space is a great idea. You're taking it out of the illegal market and giving it to legitimate businesses where there is going to be oversight and testing of products, so you know what you're getting. And these products undergo quality control and are labeled. Those labels so far are a bit variable, but at least we're getting there. If you're picking up cannabis at the street corner, you have no idea what's in it. 

And we know that drug laws in general have been used to criminalize communities of color and minorities. Legalizing cannabis [can help] reduce the overpolicing of these populations.

What big questions about cannabis would you most like to see answered?

We know there are certain, most-often-mentioned conditions that people are already using medical cannabis for: pain, insomnia, anxiety, and PTSD. We really need to improve the evidence base for those. I think clinical trials for different cannabis products for those conditions are warranted.

Another question is, now that the states are getting more tax revenue from cannabis sales, what are they doing with that money? If you look at tobacco legislation, for example, certain states have required that those funds get used for research on those particular issues. To me, that would be a very good use of the tax revenue that is now coming in. We know, for example, that there’s a lot more tax revenue now that Maryland has legalized recreational use. Maryland could really step up here and help provide some of that evidence.

Are there studies looking into the risks you mentioned?

Large national studies are done every year or every other year to collect data, so we already have a pretty good sense of the prevalence of cannabis use disorder. Obviously, we'll keep tracking that to see if those numbers increase, for example, in states that are legalizing. But, you wouldn't necessarily expect to see an uptick in cannabis use disorder a month after legalization. The evidence from states that have legalized it has not demonstrated that we might all of a sudden see an increase in psychosis or in cannabis use disorder. This happens slowly over time with a change in social norms and availability, and potentially also with a change in marketing. And, with increasing use of an addictive substance, you will see over time a potential increase in problematic use and then also an increase in use disorder.

If you're interested in seeing if cannabis is right for you, is this something you can talk to your doctor about?

I think your mileage may vary there with how much your doctor is comfortable and knows about it. It's still relatively fringe. That will very much depend on who you talk to. But I think as providers and professionals, everybody needs to learn more about this, because patients are going to ask no matter what.

Lindsay Smith Rogers, MA, is the producer of the Public Health On Call podcast , an editor for Expert Insights , and the director of content strategy for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

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How To Write an Essay About Marijuana Legalization

Introduction to marijuana legalization.

When embarking on an essay about marijuana legalization, it's crucial to begin with a comprehensive overview of the topic. Marijuana legalization is a multifaceted issue that encompasses legal, medical, social, and economic dimensions. Your introduction should briefly touch upon the history of marijuana use and its legal status over time, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of the arguments for and against legalization. Establish your thesis statement, outlining the specific aspect of marijuana legalization you will focus on, whether it's the potential medical benefits, the social implications, or the economic impact of legalizing marijuana.

Examining the Arguments for Legalization

In this section, delve into the arguments commonly made in favor of legalizing marijuana. These arguments often include the potential medical benefits of marijuana, such as its use in pain management and treatment of certain medical conditions. Discuss the viewpoint that legalization could lead to better regulation and quality control of the substance, as well as potentially reduce crime rates related to illegal drug trade. It's also important to consider the economic aspect, such as the revenue generated from taxing legal marijuana sales. Provide well-researched evidence and examples to support these arguments, ensuring that your essay presents a balanced and informed perspective.

Exploring the Counterarguments

Next, address the arguments against marijuana legalization. These may include concerns about the health risks associated with marijuana use, such as potential impacts on mental health and cognitive function, especially among young people. Discuss the fears that legalization might lead to increased usage rates, particularly in adolescents, and the potential for marijuana to act as a gateway drug. There's also the argument regarding the challenges of enforcing regulations and controlling the quality and distribution of legal marijuana. Like the previous section, ensure that you present these counterarguments with supporting evidence and a fair analysis, demonstrating an understanding of the complexities of the issue.

Concluding the Essay

Conclude your essay by summarizing the main points from both sides of the argument. This is your opportunity to reinforce your thesis and provide a final analysis of the issue based on the evidence presented. Reflect on the potential future of marijuana legalization, considering the current trends and policy changes. A well-crafted conclusion should provide closure to your essay and encourage the reader to continue contemplating the nuanced aspects of marijuana legalization. Your concluding remarks might also suggest areas for further research or consideration, underscoring the ongoing nature of the debate surrounding marijuana legalization.

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The legalization of marijuana has emerged as a critical public policy issue, with far-reaching implications for health, education, and government programs at both the state and federal levels. The three essays of this dissertation show that medical marijuana legalization (MML) has a negative effect in each of these areas. The first essay shows, that the enactment of MMLs can exacerbate the crisis of overdose deaths in the United States. The study analyzes three key areas: the rate of overdose deaths caused by both legal and illegal drugs, the impact of MML on social norms regarding the perceived harm of marijuana, and an investigation into the gateway theory by examining the use of other addictive drugs. I find that MMLs increase deaths attributed to overdose by 21.5% population. MMLs s also indicate increase the number of deaths due to prescribed opioids by 44.6%, and deaths from all opioids (heroin and cocaine in addition to prescribed opioids) by 37.2 % Results suggest an overall increase in the use of marijuana, primarily due to lower perceived risk among adolescents. Additionally, results show an increase in hospital admissions due to substance abuse. The analysis suggests that legalizing medical marijuana may exaggerate the current problem of drug overdose in the United States. The second essay examines the impact of improved access to medical marijuana, measured by the proximity of schools to the nearest dispensary, on the academic performance of high school students in California. Students in schools farther from a marijuana dispensary have higher academic performance as measured through AP, ACT, SAT scores, and average GPA, and lower number of suspensions due to violence and illicit drug use. To show this, I construct the first geocoded dataset on marijuana dispensary and high school locations, use newly developed difference-in-differences estimators that rule out any bias due to heterogeneous treatment effects over time, and explore dynamic responses. This essay reveals the importance of ensuring a largest possible distance between schools and dispensaries to protect adolescents from the potential harm caused by medical marijuana. Finally, the third essay shows that in the long term, MMLs increase the number of disabled workers who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) because of mental health issues. SSDI is a major social insurance program that provides benefits to workers who become disabled, and understanding how policy changes in other areas may impact this program is important. In this study, there were important differences between the results of a two-way fixed effects model and a new model by Callaway and Santa’Anna. MMLs, in theory, could either increase or decrease the number of SSDI recipients, and traditional fixed effects models suggest both could be at play; however, only the negative effect is robust to correction for heterogeneous effects. This highlights the need for future research to understand the true impact of medical marijuana legalization


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Legalization of Marijuana: Arguments For and Against Essay

1. introduction.

Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has become a popular debate in the United States as well as many other countries. The term "legalization" refers to the removal of all penalties associated with the use of marijuana and the drug's sale, possession, or cultivation. Though marijuana is illegal to distribute and possess, it has been around for thousands of years. Marijuana was first banned in 1937 in the United States after the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act. The act restricted the possession, use, sales, and distribution of marijuana to doctors and pharmacies. Later, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana along with heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This classification has since been questioned since the idea of medical marijuana has been on the rise for the past two decades. In 1988, Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young stated that "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man... It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance" (Young). Fast forward to present day and 26 states have since legalized marijuana for medicinal use, some of those including California, Alaska, Arizona, and Maine.

1.1 Background

This section provides an overview of marijuana use and attitudes toward that use prior to the discussion of whether the drug should be legalized for medical and/or recreational uses. Over the past several decades, marijuana use has been a topic of continuous political and social debate. After decades of marijuana being labeled as a "Schedule I" drug, a drug that has no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently decided on keeping marijuana as a "Schedule I" drug. Schedule I drugs are supposedly the most dangerous drugs and are the most tightly restricted. "Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence" (DEA). In order to keep marijuana classified as a "Schedule I" drug, this decision will have to be reviewed according to the DEA. This step toward the review of marijuana's classification comes at a time when twenty-three of the fifty states and DC have laws legalizing marijuana in some form and is in marked contrast to the way in which the federal government was treating the issue less than a decade ago. A recent amendment blocked the Justice Department from spending money to prevent states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.

1.2 Purpose

To inform people about what marijuana is, how it affects people, and why it should not be legalized, the reason I wrote this essay is to arm people with more knowledge about marijuana and show them why the effects of legalization would be bad and how it would be bad in the long run. This may be unrealistic in showing that, and many people may feel that bud is not as bad as I make it seem to be, but this comes from a lot of research and this is what I have taken from my learning. People need to know that bud is not just all fun and games like many people may think it is. It can actually have some bad effects on certain people, and the way we use it today with prohibition could well be changed in the future with higher implications on the cannabis issue. With the knowledge that people gain from my essay, I hope that they seriously consider this when voting in the future to legalize marijuana.

2. Arguments For Legalization

Many citizens argue that prohibition should be considered because it utilizes taxpayer money excessively, wasting resources. In addition, it has been suggested that the United States has made a hostile environment for new physicians, noting the low amount of medical students who study medical marijuana. Legally grown marijuana would be a valuable resource to these physicians and to the patients whom they serve. Using today's prices, this would bring in about $400 per kilogram tax. This adds up to $16 billion for 40 million kilograms (Miron and HAKI). That is a large source of revenue that could be integrated into the system, providing many useful services. Knowing the natural progression of life with social programs, it is quite likely that a large portion of the surplus revenue would go towards funding social programs to prevent drug abuse and to protect at-risk youth from becoming involved with drugs and crime. Although some marijuana will always be consumed, it is important to understand that if users are not hurting anyone else, the benefits of taking the user out of the criminal justice system and saving taxpayer money would be reason enough to legalize the drug. This would prevent the marijuana user from gaining a "criminal" status, which has a lasting effect on a person's life in the areas of education, employment, and travel. Replacement of criminal justice resources with these new tax revenues would also have an immense effect on the criminal justice system. This would both decrease crime and violence, and the criminal justice resources could be focused on more serious crimes.

2.1 Economic Benefits

The economic benefits of legalizing marijuana can be crystallized into two simple words: tax revenue. In the immediate sense, there is both political and economic relevance in changing the legal status of marijuana. From an economic standpoint, official taxation of marijuana can equate to substantial monetary gains. The profits from taxing alcohol and tobacco, two substances that are currently legal but still regulated due to their potential dangers, are indicative of the revenue that can be reaped from the taxation of marijuana. The Cato Working Paper on the Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition claims that the legalization of drugs would save the U.S. an estimated $41.3 billion annually, with $8.7 billion being attributed to the savings from the legal regulation of marijuana. This is unquestionably a substantial amount, but the real present day example lies in the state of California's recent initiative to try and legalize and tax marijuana use. This past March, the California State Board of Equalization released a projection stating that the state could collect more than $1.3 billion per year in tax revenue if the drug were to be legalized.

2.2 Medicinal Uses

However, some groups are concerned with other medical conditions. They argue that there is inadequate scientific research to support marijuana's medical benefits. They point to the fact that smoking marijuana, even infrequently, can cause burning and stinging of the mouth and throat, and cause heavy coughing. They also note that it can impair mental functioning. Also, these groups believe that the medical risks associated with marijuana are not worth the use, which has proven to have less severe long-term side effects than its allopathic medicine counterpart. The latter is a strong point considering other medicinal alternatives have severe long-term consequences. For example, chemotherapy for cancer causes suppression of the bone marrow, decreasing the white blood cell count, epilepsy, damage to the neurons, and multiple sclerosis. Immunosuppressive drugs for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases have a significant increase in the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers (Marijuana as Medicine). This is where marijuana stands out as it is shown to relieve symptoms without causing further harm to the patient. People that oppose this view and believe that marijuana should not be used as medicine would argue that with modern medical technology, the adverse effects of these harmful treatments can be reduced or avoided. Nevertheless, modern medical technology is an expensive and sometimes ineffective alternative. For example, chemotherapy costs several thousands of dollars and is not completely effective. A less harmful and inexpensive alternative would be favorable to patients of the aforementioned medical conditions. This differing view on the severity of the side effects of marijuana is a major factor in why there is no legal medical use of marijuana in the United States today. The federal government's official position is that marijuana has no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which means that the drug is determined to have a high abuse potential, no medical use, and not safe to use without medical supervision. This, of course, is contradictory to the fourteen states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington) that have passed laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, with more states possibly on the way. With a divergence in opinions and continued modern research, it is difficult to say what the future holds for the medical use of marijuana.

2.3 Criminal Justice Reform

Arguing about the criminal justice system's reform and whether it would help combat crime and serve justice is a very difficult question, for this is an area of the criminal justice process that has been marred with racial and disability bias. Currently, in the United States, there are more people in prison for drug offenses than there were in 1980 for all offenses. Of those, half a million (504,800) are incarcerated for a marijuana offense - a number equal to those incarcerated for all violent crimes. It is widely known and accepted that many people are incarcerated for drug offenses; medical marijuana users are not excluded. It is estimated that there are over 30,000 medical marijuana patients in California alone, and that the majority are consuming marijuana as a treatment for a serious illness. Many of these people have been arrested for marijuana possession, although often it is a qualified patient or primary caregiver charged with possession for sale, cultivation, or distribution of a large quantity in the eyes of the law. Assuming legalization, it would provide a release for many incarcerated marijuana offenders and prevent others from entering the criminal justice system.

3. Arguments Against Legalization

Thus far, our examination of the advantages of and motivations for considering legalization of marijuana has been compelling in a number of ways. Notwithstanding, we can't disregard the counter-arguments to vote "no" on Prop 19 from law enforcement and other leading figures. Their argument is that it carries risks to general health, leads new generations into harder drugs, and surrenders too much to an immeasurable and untried social experiment. Any objective understanding of why some policy makers oppose legalization should be based on solid arguments and not just incitement from special interest groups. Without a doubt one of the weightiest arguments against legalization is that it would lead to a significant increase in cannabis consumption. Currently, legalization is expected to increase the cost of marijuana and provide revenue to the state. This deceives the understanding that many of the people who use marijuana, especially teenagers and young adults, do so because it is illegal. Expensive citation and adherence to acquire is difficult for sellers and underage users. As a result, they find other substances easier to acquire and many of those substances have a far greater chance of being detected by law enforcement in circulation. With greater availability, marijuana may become the primary choice, taking larger steps up the ladder to harder drugs. A 1993 study showed that 60% of admissions to drug treatment began with marijuana. This proportion has been gradually increasing and the earlier the age of exposure to marijuana, the more likely they are to try something else. 3.5% of 12-17 year olds who try pot will try cocaine compared to 0.6% of those who don't use pot. In relative terms, this is a 500% increase. A significant contribution to the theory that marijuana is a gateway drug comes from anecdotal data and statistical information. Although it has been proven impossible for an acceptable risk to general health, a systematic propaganda campaign has been attempted throughout the last 20 years. This has resulted in a decrease in both the perception of risk associated with marijuana use and the disapproval of said use. It is expected that legalization may reverse public health trends and act as an enticing factor to younger generations. The historical background of tobacco sales offers a disruptive pattern in perceptions and attitudes and ultimately a greater tolerance of use by minors. This has undoubtedly created a public health issue of epic proportions. You will be unable to find someone to argue that the banning of cigarettes to those under 18 has increased the health of children. Similarly, easy access may lead marijuana to no longer be an adults only drug. The dismantling of today's generation of law enforcement is another potential outcome of legalization, paving the way for future generations' efforts in dealing with other drugs. Any of these scenarios are not desirable, and they are reasons enough to avoid further changes in state law or public perception regarding the acceptability of marijuana use. It is felt on various levels that today's generation should leave a suitable answer for its success. An unstable and divided future on pot simply leaves too much to chance.

3.1 Public Health Concerns

Public health is a broad term in which to define a large amount of effects cannabis could have on the public health system. This could be anything from recreational use to how it affects different people. Firstly, we should look at exactly how cannabis is used. Cannabis can be taken in many ways, the most common being smoking (in the form of a joint or using a pipe). This in itself can cause a number of health problems, the most notable being lung cancer. Some studies suggest that smoking one joint is the equivalent of smoking 5 cigarettes, although this may be untrue, it does suggest the harm smoking cannabis can cause. Other methods include using a vaporizer, where the cannabis is heated to a temperature between 180 – 200 degrees. Because the cannabis is not combusted, there is no release of noxious gases as with smoking. There is also the method of eating cannabis. This reduces the amount of chemicals in which the body absorbs and does not attack the respiratory system, but it does still have the mental effects of using cannabis. A big risk of cannabis users can be seen with motor vehicle accidents. People using cannabis are 4 times more likely to crash a vehicle. While this still may be less than the chances of crashing a vehicle after using alcohol, public health-wise, it can have very large effects.

3.2 Gateway Drug Theory

The "Gateway Drug Theory" is an unsubstantiated theory that speculates that marijuana use will lead to the use of harder "gateway" drugs such as opiates or methamphetamines. The fear is that once marijuana use has become common and more acceptable, users will be pressured by dealers to try out other drugs which will be easier to get and at the same time drug users will start using marijuana as a cheaper alternative to Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, or alcohol. This will in turn create a larger demand for the harder drugs. An implication of this theory is that by allowing access of a "soft" drug to become widespread, there will be an increase in a sociological number of "hard" drug users. This theory implies that marijuana prohibition has effectively limited the use of opiates and other "hard" drugs. This has been shown to be false as in states with medical marijuana and on a national level the use of prescription opiates has actually decreased. This suggests that medical marijuana has not caused an increase in opiate use and the implications of the theory are unfounded. Studies have shown that the availability of marijuana has an effect on the use of alcohol. It has been stated that "both ecological and individual level studies lead to the conclusion that the use of alcohol and the use of cannabis are inversely related" (Kandel et al., 21) and that "because approval of cannabis use was also associated with lower perceived risk of LSD, it seems that cannabis may be a substitute for other, more dangerous drugs rather than a complement to them" (Kandel et al., 942). By making marijuana use in a controlled safe environment, there will be less of a chance for users to obtain and use alcohol and will be less likely to progress to "hard" drugs. This has the effect of reducing the societal use of legal drugs as a supplement to marijuana. Finally, the theory suggests that marijuana use will lead to an increase in deviant behavior and juvenile delinquency. It has been demonstrated that marijuana use is generally functional for "stabilizing strained or tense situations, and reversible or avoidable decisions, and for soothing irritable or uncomfortable moods and for slowing down or stopping activity associated with high stress" (Agar, 25). This has the effect of deterring more serious troublesome behavior by doing things such as preventing violence that is a result of increased stress or associative behavior with criminals. It has shown that a large population of deviant and delinquent youth use marijuana as it is an easy to obtain escape from their current lifestyle. Changes in marijuana laws will actually have an effect on decreasing the participation of these individuals in the use of more dangerous drugs and will have them more likely to transition out of delinquency.

3.3 Societal Impact

With marijuana blockers to further delay progression or even apply restrictions, this process could take years. There have been delays with drug education prevention policies set out in 1998, which outlines that the government would spend 9.3 million dollars over three years to prevent cannabis consumption and harm related to cannabis use. If it takes this long to reallocate resources for a prevention program, much less it would take longer to make major decisions about introducing a new program. This is essential because if the government does decide to introduce a new harm-reduction program or marijuana-specific prevention education program, it would have to be carefully evaluated to ensure that it is cost-effective, and evaluation and policy improvement is possible in a reasonable amount of time. With regard to what has been learned from substance use and policy over the past thirty years, it is unlikely that a prevention program today would effectively steer at-risk youth away from cannabis when compared to the direct influence of marijuana prevention resources into the early 1980s.

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Argumentative Essay On Marijuana Legalization

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Why Marijuana Should be Legalized Argumentative Essay Outline


Thesis: Marijuana should be legalized as it is more beneficial that it may be detrimental to society.

Paragraph 1:

Marijuana has not caused turmoil in some of the countries where it has been legalized.

  • Marijuana does not increase violent, and property crimes as many suggest.
  • Studies reveal that in Colorado, violent crimes have declined following the legalization of marijuana.

Paragraph 2:

Prohibiting use of marijuana does not limit its consumption.

  • In spite of the many laws prohibiting the use of marijuana, it is one of the most highly abused drugs.
  • 58% of young people from all over the world use marijuana.
  • It has not been attributed to any health complications.

Paragraph 3:

Legalization of marijuana would help state governments save taxpayers money.

  • Governments spend lots of funds on law enforcement agencies that uphold laws restricting the use of marijuana.
  • They also spend vast sums of money on sustaining arrested dealers and consumers in prison.
  • Legalizing marijuana would result in saving vast sums of money.

Paragraph 4:

Marijuana is less noxious than other legal substances.

  • Marijuana has less health side effects than other legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
  • Alcohol is 114 times more destructive than marijuana.

Paragraph 5:

Marijuana has been proven to have medical benefits.

  • Marijuana helps stop seizures in epileptic patients.
  • It helps stop nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy .

Paragraph 6:

Marijuana has been proven to be a stress reliever.

  • Marijuana relieves stress and depression in their users by causing excitement.
  • Its use reduces violence and deaths related to stress and depression.


There are many misconceptions about marijuana existent in the modern world. People have continued to ignore health benefits linked to this substance citing their unproven beliefs. Owing to its ability to stop seizures, nausea, and stress in individuals governments should highly consider marijuana legalization. Its legalization will also help state governments reduce expenses that result from maintaining suspects convicted of marijuana possession and consumption.

Why Marijuana Should be Legalized Argumentative Essay

The argument that marijuana use should be made legal has gained momentum both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world in recent years. This has seen the drug being legalized in some states in the U.S. such that by 2013, twenty states had legalized medical marijuana. As of the same year, Colorado and Washington had legalized recreational marijuana. The arguments behind the push for legalization majorly revolve around the idea that the drug has medicinal effects. However, there are also arguments that there are serious health effects associated with the drug and this has only further fueled the already raging debate. This paper argues that marijuana should be legalized as it is more beneficial that it may be detrimental to society.

Marijuana has not caused any notable negative effects in countries where it has been legalized. There is a general belief that marijuana consumers are violent. However, no authentic research can prove these assertions. As already seen, some states in the United States have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. In spite of this, no cases of marijuana-related violence have been recorded so far in such states (Markol, 2018). Reports reveal that the rate of violence and property crimes have decreased in Colorado following the legalization of the drug. If marijuana does not increase violent crimes, there is no reason as to why it should not be legalized.

It is also noteworthy that prohibiting marijuana use does not limit its consumption. Less than 10% of countries in the world prevent the use of marijuana, but according to research, 58% of young people in most of these countries are marijuana users (Head, 2016). General reports reveal that marijuana is one of most commonly abused drug in the world. It is also readily available in most states as it is a naturally growing plant (Head, 2016). In spite of its continued use, there are few cases, if any, of marijuana-related health complications that have been reported in any of these countries (Head, 2016). Therefore, if the illegality of marijuana does not limit its consumption, then state governments should consider its legalization.

Legalization of marijuana would further help state governments save taxpayers’ money. It is widely known that in countries where marijuana is illegal, authorities are stringent and will arrest any individual found in possession of the drug (Sanger, 2017). However, as earlier mentioned, laws prohibiting the use of the drug do not prevent its consumption, and this means that many people are arrested and prosecuted for possessing it (Sanger, 2017). State governments therefore use a lot of funds to support law enforcement agencies that seek to uphold laws prohibiting the use of marijuana (Sanger, 2017). Many people have been arrested and incarcerated for either possessing or consuming the drug, and the government has to use taxpayers’ money to sustain such people in prison. Since these actions do not limit consumption of marijuana, state governments should legalize the drug so as to save taxpayers money.

Another advantage of marijuana is that it is less noxious than other legal substances. According to research, marijuana is the least harmful drug among the many legal drugs existent in the world today (Owen, 2014). There are millions of campaigns every year cautioning people against smoking cigarettes, but there has been none seeking to warn people about marijuana consumption (Owen, 2014). Lobby groups have even been making efforts to push for legalization of marijuana. If marijuana had severe health effects as many purport, state governments would be investing heavily in campaigns aimed at discouraging its consumption (Owen, 2014). According to studies, alcohol, which is legal in many countries, is 114 times more harmful than marijuana (Owen, 2014). Therefore, if such harmful substances can be legalized, then there are no justifications as to why marijuana should not be legalized.

Further, marijuana has been proven to have medicinal benefits. Several countries, particularly in Europe, and the United States have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. Their move to legalize marijuana was based on medical reports that showed a variety of health benefits linked to the drug (Noonan, 2017). Research shows that marijuana can reduce seizures in epileptic persons. Several studies have also proven that the drug indeed has a variety of health benefits. For instance, Charlotte Figi, who is now aged 10, used to have more than 100 seizures every month at age three, but since Colorado legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana, her parents started treating her with the substance, and today her seizures have significantly reduced (Noonan, 2017). Marijuana has as well been proven to reduce nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Owing to this medicinal value, state governments should consider legalizing the drug.

Additionally, marijuana has been proven to be a stress reliever. Consumption of the drug causes excitement among its users enabling them to forget about troubling situations. Unlike alcohol which is likely to aggravate stress and depression, marijuana works wonders in alleviating anxiety and depression (Sanger, 2017). There are many health and social effects associated with stress, including mental disorders and violence against others (Sanger, 2017). To avoid cases of stress-related violence and mental disorders, state governments should make marijuana consumption legal.

There are many misconceptions about marijuana in the world today. People have continued to ignore the health benefits linked with this substance and have instead focused on citing yet-to-be proven misconceptions. Owing to the ability of the drug to stop seizures, nausea, and stress in individuals, governments should seriously consider its legalization. The legalization will also help state governments reduce expenses that result from sustaining suspects convicted of marijuana possession and consumption. So far, there is more than enough evidence proving that marijuana has lots of benefits to individuals, the society, and the government, and therefore should be legalized.

Head, T. (2016). “8 reasons why marijuana should be legalized”. ThoughtCo . Retrieved June 27, 2020 from https://www.thoughtco.com/reasons-why-marijuana-should-be-legalized-721154

Markol, T. (2018). “5 reasons why marijuana should be legalized”. Marijuana Reform . Retrieved June 27, 2020 from http://marijuanareform.org/5-reasons-marijuana-legalized/

Noonan, D. (2017). “Marijuana treatment reduces severe epileptic seizures”. Scientific American . Retrieved June 27, 2020 from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/marijuana-treatment-reduces-severe-epileptic-seizures/

Owen, P. (2014). “6 powerful reasons to legalize marijuana”. New York Times . Retrieved June 27, 2020 from https://www.alternet.org/drugs/6-powerful-reasons-new-york-times-says-end-marijuana-prohibition

Sanger, B. (2017). “10 legit reasons why weed should be legalized right now”. Herb . Retrieved June 27, 2020 from https://herb.co/marijuana/news/reasons-weed-legalized

Why Marijuana Should be Legal Essay Outline

Thesis:  Marijuana has health benefits and should thus be legal.

Benefits of Marijuana

Marijuana slows and stops the spread of cancer cells.

  • Cannabidiol can turn off a gene called Id-1 and can therefore stop cancer.
  • In an experiment, researchers were able to treat breast cancer cells with Cannabidiol.

Marijuana helps with pain and nausea reduction for people going through chemotherapy.

  • Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer from severe pains and nausea.
  • This can further complicate their health.
  • Marijuana can stir up their appetite, decrease nausea, and reduce pain.

Paragraph  3:

Marijuana can control epileptic seizure.

  • Marijuana extract stopped seizures in epileptic rats in ten hours.
  • The seizures were controlled by the THC.

Disadvantages of Marijuana

Marijuana is addictive.

  • One in ten marijuana users become addicted over time.
  • If one stops using the drug abruptly, they may suffer from such withdrawal symptoms.

Marijuana use decreases mental health.

  • Users suffer from memory loss and restricted blood flow to the brain.
  • Users have higher chances of developing depression and schizophrenia.

Marijuana use damages the lungs more than cigarette smoking .

  • Marijuana smokers inhale the smoke more deeply into their lungs and let it stay there for longer.
  • The likelihood of lung cancer can be increased by this deeper, longer exposure to carcinogens.

Why Marijuana Should Be Legal

Paragraph 7:

Improved quality and safety control.

  • Legalization would lead to the creation of a set of standards for safety and quality control.
  • Users would know what they exactly get in exchange for the money they offer.
  • There would be no risks of users taking in unknown substances mixed in marijuana.

Paragraph 8:

Marijuana has a medicinal value.

  • Medical marijuana treats a wide assortment of “untreatable” diseases and conditions.
  • Public health would be improved and the healthcare system would experience less of a drain.  

Paragraph 9: 

Among the major arguments against marijuana legalization is often that legalization would yield an increase in drug-impaired driving.

  • This argument holds that even now when the drug is yet to be fully legalized in the country, it is a major causal factor in highway deaths, injuries, and crushes.
  • It however beats logic why marijuana is illegalized on the ground that it would increase drug-impaired driving while alcohol is legal but also significantly contributes to the same problem.

Legalization of marijuana would have many benefits. The drug is associated with the treatment of many serious illnesses including the dreaded cancer. Legalization would also save users from consuming unsafe marijuana sold by unscrupulous people.

Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Essay

There is an ongoing tension between the belief that marijuana effectively treats a wide range of ailments and the argument that it has far-reaching negative health effects. There has nevertheless been a drive towards legalization of the drug in the United States with twenty nine states and the District of Columbia having legalized it for medical and recreational purposes. It was also found by a study that there is a sharp increase in the use of marijuana across the country (Kerr, Lui & Ye, 2017). Major public health concerns are being prompted by this rise. This should however not be the case because marijuana has health benefits and should thus be legal.

Marijuana slows and stops the spread of cancer cells. A study found that Cannabidiol can turn off a gene called Id-1 and can therefore stop cancer. A 2007 report by researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco also indicated that the spread of cancer may be prevented by Cannabidiol. In their lab experiment, the researchers were able to treat breast cancer cells with this component (Nawaz, 2017). The positive outcome of the experiment showed that Id-1 expression had been significantly decreased.

Marijuana also helps with pain and nausea reduction for people going through chemotherapy. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy suffer from severe pains, appetite loss, vomiting, and painful nausea. This can further complicate their already deteriorating health. Marijuana can be of help here by stirring up the appetite, decreasing nausea, and reducing pain (Nawaz, 2017). There are also other cannabinoid drugs used for the same purposes as approved by the FDA.

It was additionally shown by a 2003 study that the use of marijuana can control epileptic seizure. Synthetic marijuana and marijuana extracts were given to epileptic rats by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robert J. DeLorenzo. In about ten hours, the seizures had been stopped by the drugs (Nawaz, 2017). It was found that the seizures were controlled by the THC which bound the brain cells responsible for regulating relaxation and controlling excitability.

Some scientists claim that marijuana is addictive. According to them, one in ten marijuana users become addicted over time. They argue that if one stops using the drug abruptly, they may suffer from such withdrawal symptoms as anxiety and irritability (Barcott, 2015). However, the same argument could be applied to cigarette smoking, which is notably legal. There is need for more studies to be conducted into this claim being spread by opponents of marijuana legalization.

It is also argued that marijuana use decreases mental health. Those opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana like to cite studies that show that users of the drug suffer from memory loss and restricted blood flow to the brain. They also argue that users have higher chances of developing depression and schizophrenia. However, these assertions have not yet been completely ascertained by science (Barcott, 2015). The claim about depression and schizophrenia is particularly not clear because researchers are not sure whether the drug triggers the conditions or it is used by smokers to alleviate the symptoms.

It is further claimed that marijuana use damages the lungs more than cigarette smoking. It is presumed that marijuana smokers inhale the smoke more deeply into their lungs and let it stay there for longer. The likelihood of lung cancer, according to this argument, can be increased by this deeper, longer exposure to carcinogens. However, the argument touches not on the frequency of use between marijuana and cigarette smokers (Barcott, 2015). It neither takes into account such alternative administration methods as edibles, tinctures, and vaporizing.

Legalization of marijuana would lead to improved quality and safety control. Purchasing the drug off the street provides end users with no means of knowing what they are exactly getting. On the other hand, legalizing it would immediately lead to the creation of a set of standards for safety and quality control (Caulkins, Kilmer & Kleiman, 2016). This would certainly work in the marijuana industry just as it is working in the tobacco and alcohol industries. Users would be able to know what they exactly get in exchange for the money they offer. Additionally, there would be no risks of users taking in unknown substances mixed in marijuana sold on the streets.

Marijuana should also be legal because it has a medicinal value. It has been proven that medical marijuana treats a wide assortment of “untreatable” diseases and conditions. These include problems due to chemotherapy, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Crohn’s disease (Caulkins, Kilmer & Kleiman, 2016). Public health would be improved and the healthcare system would experience less of a drain if medical cannabis products were made available to those suffering from the mentioned conditions. Consequently, more public funds would be available for such other public service initiatives as schools and roads.

Among the major arguments against marijuana legalization is often that legalization would yield an increase in drug-impaired driving. This argument holds that even now when the drug is yet to be fully legalized in the country, it has already been cited to be a major causal factor in highway deaths, injuries, and crushes. Among the surveys those arguing along this line might cite is one that was conducted back in 2010, revealing that of the participating weekend night-time drivers, “8.6 percent tested positive for marijuana or its metabolites” (“Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana,” 2010). It was found in yet another study that 26.9% of drivers who were being attended to at a trauma center after sustaining serious injuries tested positive for the drug (“Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana,” 2010). It however beats logic why marijuana is illegalized on the ground that it would increase drug-impaired driving while alcohol is legal but also significantly contributes to the same problem.

As the discussion reveals, legalization of marijuana would have many benefits. The drug is associated with the treatment of many serious illnesses including the dreaded cancer. Legalization would also save users from consuming unsafe marijuana sold by unscrupulous people. There are also other health conditions that can be controlled through the drug. Arguments against its legalization based on its effects on human health also lack sufficient scientific support. It is thus only safe that the drug is legalized in all states.

Barcott, B. (2015).  Weed the people: the future of legal marijuana in America . New York, NY: Time Home Entertainment.

Caulkins, J. P., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. (2016).  Marijuana legalization: what everyone needs to know . New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Kerr, W., Lui, C., & Ye, Y. (2017). Trends and age, period and cohort effects for marijuana use prevalence in the 1984-2015 US National Alcohol Surveys.  Addiction ,  113 (3), 473-481.

Nawaz, H. (2017).  The debate between legalizing marijuana and its benefits for medical purposes: a pros and cons analysis . Munich, Germany: GRIN Verlag.

Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana. (2010). In  CNBC . Retrieved June 25, 2020 from  https://www.cnbc.com/id/36267223 .

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Justice Dept. Recommends Easing Restrictions on Marijuana

The move kicks off a lengthy rule-making process and could amount to a major change in federal policy.

A green marijuana plant.

By Eileen Sullivan ,  Glenn Thrush and Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Reporting from Washington

The Justice Department said on Tuesday that it had recommended easing restrictions on marijuana in what could amount to a major change in federal policy.

Even though the move, which kicks off a lengthy rule-making process, does not end the criminalization of the drug, it is a significant shift in how the government views the safety and use of marijuana for medical purposes. It also reflects the Biden administration’s effort to liberalize marijuana policy in a way that puts it more in line with the public as increasingly more Americans favor legalizing the drug.

The decision comes at an opportune time for President Biden, who is trailing the presumptive Republican nominee, former President Donald J. Trump, as they approach the November election, according to a recent CNN poll .

It could also lead to the softening of other laws and regulations that account for the use or possession of cannabis, including sentencing guidelines, banking and access to public housing.

People familiar with the recommendation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland planned to tell the White House Office of Management and Budget that the government should change the drug’s categorization. After the office assesses the recommendation, it will still face a long road before taking effect, including being subject to public comment.

The Associated Press earlier reported the Justice Department decision.

For more than half a century, marijuana has been considered a Schedule I drug , classified on the same level as highly addictive substances like heroin that the Drug Enforcement Administration describes as having no currently accepted medical use. Moving marijuana to Schedule III, as the Department of Health and Human Services recommended in August, would put it alongside less addictive substances like Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and testosterone, meaning that it would be subject to fewer restrictions on production and research, and that eventually it could be prescribed by a doctor.

The recommendation came despite concerns from Anne Milgram, the administrator of the D.E.A., which has long relied on federal research and data to support these decisions, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the matter.

Administration officials have privately acknowledged the political benefit of easing marijuana restrictions: It could energize younger voters dissatisfied with the White House and please criminal justice advocates who have pressed Mr. Biden to overhaul the nation’s drug policy.

While Mr. Biden has been slow to embrace such a change, he has for years said that designating marijuana on the same level as heroin or LSD made little sense. He hinted during his State of the Union address in March that change could soon be coming; about a week later, Vice President Kamala Harris said that the D.E.A. must reassess marijuana “as quickly as possible.”

Support for easing marijuana restrictions has grown over the years, shifting from a point of focus among the left flank of the Democratic Party to becoming a more bipartisan issue. A Gallup poll from November found that 70 percent of Americans believed marijuana use should be legal, an increase from 50 percent in 2013.

Still, the decision will do little to alter the current landscape, with the most immediate impact on the cannabis industry itself.

“A lot of people are going to be disappointed and probably a bit surprised about how very little changes,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the advocacy group NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Already, 38 states, the District of Columbia and three territories have approved its use for medical reasons. Many of those places have also approved it for recreational use.

But the D.E.A.’s move does not make state laws on using medical marijuana compliant with the federal law .

And for states that have not approved the use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, downgrading the drug would not automatically change state and local criminal statutes.

The bigger shift, many say, is cultural.

“It is a strong signal that the war on drugs and the crimes that are associated with the war on drugs should continue to be re-evaluated and should continue to be reformed and change,” said Ed Chung, the vice president of initiatives at the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, which focuses on criminal justice reform. “There is a huge messaging aspect to that.”

The cannabis industry stands to benefit the most from the recommended change, which would ensure that state-licensed businesses are eligible for a steep tax cut, possibly leading to lower prices for consumers.

This tax relief is estimated to free up millions of dollars for companies to put toward things like hiring, expansion and product development, all of which could be a boon to local economies.

Under tax law, businesses related to controlled substances that are classified in the top two tiers are deemed ineligible for most credits or reductions.

Categorizing marijuana as a Schedule III drug removes such restrictions, allowing plant-touching businesses like cultivators, processors and retailers to claim common deductions for expenses like rent, payroll and marketing.

It is not yet clear how rescheduling would affect businesses’ access to financial services, or the lack thereof. Currently, many cannabis businesses are forced to operate in cash only, because most banks do not want to risk handling cash made from selling an illegal substance under federal law. Doing so is considered money laundering.

Kevin Sabet, who served as a drug policy adviser during the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations, said the data did not exist to support rescheduling marijuana.

“Politics and industry influence have loomed over this decision from the very beginning,” said Mr. Sabet, now the president of the group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which focuses on aligning marijuana policy with scientific research.

The federal government last considered rescheduling marijuana at the end of the Obama administration. Ultimately, the D.E.A. declined to do so , based on a recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services. At the time, officials cited federal health experts’ assessments that “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”

But in the past decade, more states have moved to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and make it available for medical use, and the industry has pressured the federal government to revisit that 2016 decision.

During his 2020 campaign, Mr. Biden vowed to decriminalize cannabis and erase convictions over its use, and as president he has moved toward that, issuing pardons and commutations over nonviolent drug offenses. It is a shift for a president who has not supported legalizing marijuana and who as a senator championed aggressive drug laws, including the 1994 crime bill that led to mass incarceration.

In October 2022, Mr. Biden pressed his administration to quickly review the classification of the drug. Less than a year later, the Department of Health and Human Services recommended that marijuana be reclassified from Schedule I to Schedule III.

The decision was leaked, giving the public an unusual look into the agency’s findings. Health officials found that while regular use of marijuana did create a dependence on the drug, “the likelihood of serious outcomes is low.”

Ashley Southall and Andrew Jacobs contributed reporting.

Eileen Sullivan  covers breaking news, the Justice Department, the trials against Donald J. Trump and the Biden administration. More about Eileen Sullivan

Glenn Thrush covers the Department of Justice. He joined The Times in 2017 after working for Politico, Newsday, Bloomberg News, The New York Daily News, The Birmingham Post-Herald and City Limits. More about Glenn Thrush

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent, covering President Biden and his administration. More about Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Attorney general moves to reclassify marijuana as lower-risk drug

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Tuesday recommended loosening restrictions on marijuana, a historic shift in federal drug policy that could broaden access to the drug for medicinal use and boost cannabis industries in states where it is legal.

The measure, if enacted, would not legalize marijuana at the federal level but still represents a milestone that could prove to be a political win for President Biden , who is campaigning for reelection and has sought to ameliorate racial and criminal justice inequities wrought by the nation’s long war on drugs.

The Justice Department submitted the formal recommendation to the White House on Tuesday, an agency spokeswoman said in a statement. It follows the Drug Enforcement Administration’s approval of a federal health agency recommendation that marijuana be reclassified.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget must review the measure, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal administrative matters. The proposal, if accepted, would be formally published and would not go into effect for months until the public has a chance to comment.

The DEA’s approval was first reported Tuesday by the Associated Press. The DEA, the Justice Department and the White House declined to comment.

For more than five decades, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, in the same tier as heroin. Under the Justice Department’s proposed change, marijuana would go to the less risky Schedule III — in the same category as prescription drugs such as ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.

The historic policy shift comes as marijuana is easier than ever to obtain and has become an industry worth billions of dollars in the United States. The majority of Americans now live in states where they can legally buy weed. Thirty-eight states and D.C. have legalized medical marijuana programs, and 24 have approved recreational marijuana.

In October 2022, Biden directed health officials to expedite a review of whether marijuana should remain a Schedule I substance. In August, the Department of Health and Human Services notified DEA that it was recommending marijuana be reclassified. The agency relied on a Food and Drug Administration scientific analysis that found marijuana has an accepted medical use and evidence it can treat certain conditions, including nausea and vomiting. It also cited studies showing “moderate benefit” of smoking marijuana for pain.

The reclassification may have only a limited impact on criminal justice cases involving marijuana. Biden has granted pardons for federal marijuana possession cases, and federal prosecutors generally prioritize drug dealers involved with deadly substances such as fentanyl.

Cannabis advocates Tuesday hailed the potential change as a milestone that will transform how the federal government treats marijuana, signaling that the dangers have been overblown and that criminal cases should assume a lower priority.

“This is going to help to normalize cannabis more than anything that’s ever occurred in the U.S. since they started the war on drugs,” said David Culver, senior vice president of public affairs at the U.S. Cannabis Council, an industry advocacy group. “This is the most significant federal cannabis reform in modern history, and I think sets us on a path for the ultimate goal of federal legalization.”

Still, cannabis advocates — who want to see marijuana regulated like tobacco and alcohol — point out that even if the drug is reclassified, it remains a federally controlled substance subject to prosecution.

“Those involved in the state legal marijuana industry and the tens of millions of Americans who patronize that industry are all acting in a manner that is inconsistent with federal law,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an advocacy group. “Theoretically, if the federal government wished to do so, all of these players could be prosecuted for being in violation of the federal law.”

At the state level, the rapid legalization of marijuana has facilitated the rise of a booming industry of growers, processors, dispensaries and other cannabis companies. But the industry has struggled in recent years as it faced continued competition from the illicit market along with a glut of supply in some states that drove down prices. States collected $3.77 billion in cannabis taxes in 2022, down from $3.86 billion in 2021 in the first-ever decline in revenue, according to a report from the Marijuana Policy Project.

Under IRS code 280E, businesses that sell Schedule I substances cannot deduct business expenses, resulting in a substantially higher tax rate for companies that grow and sell marijuana. But with marijuana reclassified, they will be eligible for the tax breaks.

Kaliko Castille, former board president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association, said many cannabis companies have struggled to become profitable in part because of high taxes.

“This will potentially help small businesses who are struggling around the country get into the black,” Castille said. “My concern is although this will provide some relief for small businesses, it may actually lead to more consolidation and smoking out smaller players.”

The long-expected recommendation could have political implications for the Biden campaign.

Democratic senators have pushed Biden to go further and completely decriminalize marijuana.

“Congress must do everything we can to end the federal prohibition on cannabis and address longstanding harms caused by the War on Drugs,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Tuesday.

Biden’s top advisers have long viewed marijuana rescheduling as a potential political win, particularly among younger voters not yet engaged in the election at levels that Democrats want. While the policy shift wouldn’t make recreational use legal under federal law, it has the potential to signal to users of the drug and those who seek decriminalization that he is on their side.

Vice President Harris has been holding events recently to emphasize the need for “marijuana reform” — including a March event at the White House with the musician Fat Joe and a January event in the swing state of Nevada, where recreational marijuana is legal, to announce a policy change that will make it easier for people with criminal convictions to get federal business loans.

“Trump and his administration took marijuana reform backwards,” the Biden campaign announced last week, citing a 2018 decision by Trump’s Justice Department to empower prosecutors to more aggressively prosecute marijuana in states where the drug is legal.

Former president Donald Trump , who is expected to be the Republican nominee for president again, has campaigned in the past on allowing states to set their own policies for marijuana, saying he supports the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. He has not weighed in on whether he supports a reclassification of marijuana under federal law.

The potential reclassification has drawn criticism from some former federal law enforcement officials, and conservative members of Congress have said stripping marijuana’s Schedule I status would hinder attempts to prosecute drug traffickers and harm public health. While marijuana has been shown to have medicinal benefits, some studies have found the drug has downsides, including addiction and negative effects on the developing brain.

“If the Biden Administration follows through with rescheduling, this decision will be anti-science and harmful to public health and safety,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), among the most vocal cannabis critics in Congress, posted on X.

One of the nation’s most prominent marijuana critics, Kevin Sabet, blasted the move, saying that “politics and industry influence have loomed over this decision from the very beginning.”

In a statement, Sabet blasted the FDA’s scientific analysis and noted that marijuana has never passed federal safety and efficacy protocols. “A drug isn’t medicine because it’s popular,” said Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that advocates decreasing marijuana use.

It remains unclear what the FDA’s role will be in regulating marijuana as a Schedule III substance.

The move could facilitate much-needed research into the health benefits — and harms — of marijuana, scientific study that has been historically stifled by the drug’s status as the riskiest of controlled substances.

Reclassification could persuade more doctors to recommend marijuana, despite the lack of FDA approval for marijuana plant products as prescription medications. The agency has approved only one cannabis-related drug, Epidiolex, made from CBD, a cannabis extract that does not induce a high; it is used to treat rare forms of severe epilepsy. The agency has approved three other drug products made from synthetic versions of THC to treat nausea.

Some legal experts say that under federal law, if marijuana is moved to Schedule III, doctors or state-authorized dispensaries can distribute medical marijuana — without FDA drug approval — directly to patients without a prescription, as long as the system does not involve interstate commerce.

essays about legalization of marijuana

Is pot legal now? Despite big marijuana news, it's still in legal limbo.

Tuesday brought big marijuana news: The Biden Administration is expected to soon reclassify marijuana for the first time in decades , putting it in a less restrictive drug category that would allow it to be studied and prescribed more easily.

But that news comes in a nation where many states have already crafted their own marijuana policy: Some states allow for it to be prescribed already; others allow people to use it recreationally. Few states ban it outright.

For years, a confusing patchwork of marijuana laws have blanketed the nation. And Tuesday's news will only make things more confusing for the moment. Here's what to know.

What happened with pot on Tuesday?

On Tuesday, a source familiar with the process confirmed that they plan to reclassify marijuana for the first time since the Controlled Substances Act was signed in 1970.

Since that time, it's been considered a Schedule I drug – believed highly dangerous, addictive and without medical use.

Soon it should be considered a Schedule III drug that can be lawfully prescribed as medication regulated by the FDA.

Does that mean marijuana will be legal in the US?

Even with these new rules, marijuana will still be considered a controlled substance. That means there are federal laws governing how it can be used — and those rules would be for prescribed medical purposes.

It would be considered similar to Tylenol with codeine or anabolic steroids — legal when taken for prescribed medical uses.

Supreme Court: Trucker failed drug test after taking CBD supplement. Supreme Court to decide if he can sue

However, because marijuana has been considered highly dangerous, addictive and without medical use for so long, there will be a process for determining what prescribed medical purposes the federal government will allow.

Is recreational marijuana legal in the US?

According to the federal government — no. That doesn't change with this planned classification shift.

Some states, however, disagree with the federal government and have created their own rules: Much of the country allows recreational use.

Explained: Why marijuana is both legal and illegal in US, despite Biden pardons.

In those cases, a strange and awkward legal arrangement unfolds where states disregard the federal government's stricter laws and the federal government generally doesn't enforce its own rules.

The end result: Recreational marijuana feels legal in much of the U.S., even if it technically isn't.

Is medical marijuana legal in the US?

This is where things get even more muddled.

Tuesday's announcement paves the way for the federal government to allow for marijuana prescriptions.

The catch: The FDA hasn’t approved the cannabis plant for any medical use (yet).

That said, federal regulators have approved several drugs  containing cannabinoids, or substances such as THC or CBD found in the cannabis plant, according to the  National Institutes of Health .

And, just as with recreational marijuana, states have widely disregarded the federal government's historically strict stance on medical marijuana and made their own patchwork of rules. Only a handful of states have a complete prohibition on marijuana, including South Carolina, Idaho, Kansas and Nebraska.

The end result: Medical marijuana feels legal in much of the U.S., even if it technically isn't (yet).

What else is confusing about marijuana's legal status in the US?

Just for starters, the Biden administration has been outspoken in its opposition to the federal government's stance on marijuana. But actually changing the position is a bureaucratic nightmare, only slightly improved by moving pot from a Schedule I to a Schedule III drug.

So in the meantime, they've announced legal workarounds with limited scope — things like pardoning certain federal marijuana-related crimes (although most convictions actually happen at the state level).

And for years, the federal government has had various rules about not challenging state's more permissive laws.

Plus, state laws often involve decriminalization — not legalization — of marijuana. That means the drug is still considered illegal, but punishments are reduced from prison time to paying a civil fine or attending treatment.

To eliminate the stark conflict between state and federal laws, marijuana would need to be removed from the Controlled Substances Act list altogether, experts and advocates previously told USA TODAY .

Experts say there's a chance that could happen eventually, but it's still a long way off.

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The u.s. government plans to reclassify marijuana from a schedule i to schedule iii drug. here are the concerns.

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Marijuana plants at the mausoleum for reggae musician Peter Tosh (1944 - 1987) in the grounds of his ... [+] former house in Belmont, Jamaica, 3rd June 2011. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

The DEA is planning to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance. The shift, which would still require ultimate approval from the White House, could broaden access to use marijuana in the United States and may ease restrictions to conduct research on the drug.

Marijuana would still be federally illegal even if reclassified as a Schedule III drug, but a change in classification would put it in the same category as prescription drugs like ketamine and anabolic steroids. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use, while Schedule III drugs have a lower potential for abuse and have accepted medical applications.

There is a growing body of evidence that supports marijuana having therapeutic benefits , including but not limited to treating chronic pain, nausea and vomiting in cancer patients as well as certain neurological conditions such as seizures.

Reclassifying marijuana as a lower-risk drug will have public health consequences. Although its potential for abuse is less than alcohol and tobacco, it is not insignificant. Three in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder, according to the CDC . This means that 30% of those that use marijuana use it despite it causing problems at school, home and work or use it in high-risk situations such as driving a car. Since more than 48 million Americans use marijuana, that means 14.4 million Americans will have marijuana use disorder. Is that a number we should accept?

As marijuana becomes more readily available to Americans, more Americans will ultimately suffer from the detrimental health effects of the drug. Although much more research is needed to fully understand how marijuana affects health, smoking it can cause scarring and damage to small blood vessels in the lungs. The smoke from marijuana has many of the same toxins and carcinogens as tobacco smoke and puts smokers at increased risk of developing bronchitis and obstructive lung disease, according to the CDC .

Marijuana can also have important health effects outside the lungs. The drug can have an immediate effect on thinking, attention, memory and coordination. In addition, in the long-run, marijuana can permanently affect the way a brain makes connections to support learning, attention and memory.

In addition to the deleterious cognitive effects; marijuana can also adversely affect one’s mental health. Heavy marijuana users are more likely to report suicidal ideations than non-users; and regular use of the drug increases one’s risk of developing social anxiety disorder according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine .

As marijuana becomes more normalized in American culture, its effects on impaired driving and public safety will also be amplified. Marijuana is known to impair balance, coordination and judgement; all of which are needed to drive safely. Unlike alcohol, which has well-established legal limits for driving under the influence, determining impairment due to marijuana has not been developed or standardized legally across America. These legal limits will need to be established in order to protect the safety of Americans on the road in the future to prevent potential accidents and injuries.

The potential reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I to III will hold dire public health implications for all Americans. Although increased availability could help treat chronic pain as well as some symptoms for cancer patients, its detrimental effects on public health and American safety should never be ignored.

Omer Awan

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History and Effects of Legalization of Marijuana Essay

The origin and history of marijuana, the effects of marijuana, legalization of marijuana, works cited.

Cannabis is considered to be one of the most widely consumed prohibited drugs in the U.S.A, especially among young people. Every year the quantity of middle and high school undergraduates using marijuana increases while the awareness about the health damage of cannabis deteriorates promptly at the same time.

In this essay, we will establish the nature of this illicit drug, the history of its usage in the United States and list the harm that marijuana causes. After observing all mentioned above, we can conclude whether marijuana should not be legalized.

Marijuana is the term used to represent the dehydrated flowers of the Indian hemp plant mostly. It is essentially used in medicine for its recreational purposes; however, it could be put to use in some spiritual rituals or for the achievement of psychoactive effect. Cannabis has been used as a substitute for obtaining psychotic effects for centuries now; it was defined in Chinese medical research, which is dated from 2737 BC.

After being born in China, this herb went to India, fled to Northern Africa and finally came to Europe almost 3000 years later. The chemical in cannabis responsible for its euphoria effect is called THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol.

This can be called the main feature of marijuana, and it is only one of the 483 known cannabis components. Aside from few doubtful positive reactions (relaxation, good mood and heighten appetite), THC has some major side effects: red eyes, anxiety, dry mouth, a decrease of short-term memory, and more.

According to surveys, marijuana is one of the most used illegal drugs throughout the USA and is mostly consumed by young people from 15 to 35 years old. Also, a quantity of youngsters thinking that marijuana is risky decreases every year.

However, due to its medicinal purposes or adult recreational use cannabis becomes legal in a growing number of countries. As predicted, the legalization of marijuana in several states has led to an increase of marijuana abuse among youngsters

Studies have shown a pattern of the use of cannabis and risky behavior of the individuals. It is essential to mention short- and long-term affections on a human body is speaking about the adverse effects of marijuana. Abusive use of marijuana can cause immune system suppression, mood and personality changes, a decrease in libido and even study difficulties (Lane 803).

For instance, research has demonstrated that undergraduate students who started consuming cannabis heavily in their teenage years and had a continuous marijuana use disorder lost a moderate of eight IQ points between ages 13 and 38 (Meier 2658). As a result, the vanished mental capabilities were not able to fully recover even if a person stopped using marijuana in adulthood.

On the contrary, the IQ of the individuals who began the use of cannabis in adulthood has not declined significantly. Short-term effects are anxiety, increased heartbeat, poor coordination and reaction (Gebler 16). These results are achieved during minutes after smoking cannabis. The chemical THC spreads from lungs directly into the blood, where it is carried to the brain and other substantial organs.

The negative effect can be slowed down by using the drug in food or beverages; however, the impact is still inevitable. Tetrahydrocannabinol alters the work of particular brain cell receptors, as they respond to essential chemicals that have almost the same consistency as THC. As these chemicals influence the common brain advancement and operation, cannabis smoking slows down these processes.

Despite some common assumptions, cannabis can be habit-forming. Studies show that 6 out of 11 users of marijuana become addicted and, therefore, have difficulties refusing this drug (Lopez-Quintero, Pérez de los Cobos, and Hasin 122). Going to a group therapy can be helpful for those who are struggling with addiction.

The medicinal purpose of marijuana is disputed because of its primary side effects that have a negative impact on the organism. Nevertheless, one of the few uses of cannabis is a treatment of chemotherapy side effects, such as nausea and vomiting. Also, it appears to increase appetite in HIV/AIDS patients, treat muscle spasms and chronic pain.

Several states try to legalize marijuana; however, many proceed without any success. “In 2012, proponents of marijuana legalization gathered enough signatures to place an amendment to the Colorado Constitution on the statewide ballot” (Blake and Finlaw 1).

The proposed project was widely known as Amendment 64; nevertheless, the name of the project that was given to it initially was ‘The Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act of 2012’. The initiated measure, nevertheless, didn’t receive the support of the opposition. The medicinal utilization of cannabis requires the existence of certain laws, which vary broadly in different states.

“Marijuana is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat any medical condition” (Thompson 2508). There are almost close to none studies that prove cannabis to be a harmless and efficient drug. However, medical programs that allow small amounts of marijuana become more and more popular not only in the USA but throughout the world. Although many do not believe in the positive effects of this drug, self-treatment and, therefore, common legalization is unacceptable.

Blake, David and Jack Finlaw. “Marijuana Legalization in Colorado: Learned Lessons.” Harvard Law & Policy Review 8.2 (2014): 1. Print.

Gebler, Samantha. “Health Effects of Marijuana.” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services 53.2 (2015): 16-17. Print.

Lane, Scott. “Acute Marijuana Effects on Human Risk Taking.” Neuropsychopharmacology 30.4 (2005): 800-809. Print.

Lopez-Quintero, Catalina, Jose Pérez de los Cobos, and Deborah Hasin. “Probability and Predictors of Transition from First Use to Dependence on Nicotine, Alcohol, Cannabis, and Cocaine: Results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC).” Drug Alcohol Depend 115.1 (2011): 120-130. Print.

Meier, Madeline. “Persistent Cannabis Users Show Neuropsychological Decline from Childhood to Midlife.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.40 (2012): 2657–2664. Web.

Thompson, Amy. “Medical Marijuana.” Journal of the American Medical Association 313.24 (2015): 2508-2509. Print.

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1. IvyPanda . "History and Effects of Legalization of Marijuana." June 24, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-legalization-of-marijuana/.


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Fact Check: Is Marijuana Legalization Hurting Teen Mental Health?

This article was originally published on Leafly.com and appears here with permission.

If you read this January 10  Wall Street Journal  piece , you might conclude that a wave of cannabis-induced psychosis among teenagers is sweeping the country. The story highlights research on the correlation between cannabis use and conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It suggests access to higher-potency cannabis is leading to ever-increasing rates of psychosis in teens. 

But the actual data paints a different picture. Population studies of  over 63 million people  show that rates of psychosis do not go up amid legalization.  Teen use rates of marijuana are actually going down . And our best science suggests that genetic factors—rather than cannabis use—are to blame for the correlation between cannabis and psychosis. 

Can cannabis really induce life-long psychotic conditions—or is this yet another example of confusing correlation with causation, a common source of “reefer madness?”

Exploring Cannabis-Psychosis Links

The research on cannabis and psychosis is nuanced, but it definitely shows a strong correlation—as opposed to a  causation —between the two. For instance, the data is clear that acute cannabis exposure  can cause you to see vivid colors, or mis-hear sounds, or get anxious . These experiences have been described as transitory “psychosis-like” episodes—particularly for  occasional users . 

Confusing Correlation With Causation

With that in mind, it might not be surprising that when teens who use cannabis develop permanent psychosis-related conditions, their doctors and loved ones jump to the conclusion that cannabis caused the shift. There are numerous stories of teens who used cannabis and were subsequently diagnosed with these challenging, life-long conditions. Statistically, individuals who use cannabis  are more likely to have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia than the general population . 

But scientists have long struggled with the question of whether cannabis use actually causes these conditions—or if a third factor drives both. Based on cases where these conditions emerge  after  cannabis use, researchers  estimate that cannabis-induced psychosis occurs in .0027% of consumers . But even at this exceptionally rare rate, correlative studies can’t prove whether cannabis is the cause of psychosis or not. 

There are many ways to interpret the data that associate cannabis with psychosis. For example, individuals with psychosis conditions could be more likely to use cannabis in the first place, as a form of self-medication. If this were true, it would result in the same strong correlation.

Other Correlates: Alcohol, Tobacco

Cannabis certainly isn’t the only factor linked with psychosis, even though it receives more publicity. Studies have found many things correlate with higher risk of psychosis,  including the use of any recreational substance , like  alcohol  and  tobacco . These substances are used  at similar rates  by schizophrenics as cannabis, and show similar statistical increases in psychosis risk. No one is debating, however, whether we should prohibit these substances. 

Life Stressors

Stress  also frequently correlates to psychosis. The stress associated with an event like a teenager leaving home to begin college can trigger an initial psychotic episode.

One  review study  found that the strongest factors correlated with developing lasting psychosis include a) living in an urban area and b) being an ethnic minority. Since cannabis is often used to combat stress, it’s possible that people who are stressed out enough to develop psychosis are more likely to seek out cannabis.

Spice, K-2, And Designer Drugs 

And lastly, studies that associate cannabis with psychosis don’t specify which specific cannabinoids are at play. For example, businesses like head shops and truck stops sell unlicensed, unregulated—and often illegal—synthetic cannabinoids ( THC-O ,  THC-P ,  HHC , etc.) that can be hundreds of times more powerful than THC alone. 

The use of dangerous synthetics like  Spice  prevails in states that lack access to legal botanical THC. Athletic and military THC testing regimes also induce players and servicemembers to seek out novel, dangerous synthetics that won’t show up in a drug test.

Data suggests that using synthetic cannabinoids  can induce more symptoms of psychosis  than natural cannabis.

Legalization Isn’t Increasing Teen Use

Some research also suggests that cannabis use among teenagers in particular  has a strong correlation with a subsequent diagnosis of a psychosis-related condition . This could mean that teens are particularly vulnerable to cannabis’ effects. But it could also point towards the fact that conditions like  bipolar disorder  and  schizophrenia  are most commonly identified and diagnosed while patients are in their twenties, while  cannabis use usually begins during teenage years . It is possible that individuals with these conditions would be more likely to self-medicate with cannabis; since this typically occurs before their diagnosis, doctors and scientists would assume that cannabis  caused  the psychosis-like condition.

While many prohibitionists would use any potential for teen psychosis as a reason to limit cannabis legalization, it’s important to note that  rates of teen cannabis use are going down,  not up, as states legalize cannabis. Street dealers do not check ID, but legitimate dispensaries do. This means that legalization tends to limit teen access, rather than increasing it. 

Psychosis Rates *Do Not* Increase With Cannabis Legalization 

Fortunately, scientists dig deeper than simple correlative studies. For instance, they look at the rates of psychosis in places where cannabis is more available. If cannabis’ prevalence causes psychosis, it would follow that as cannabis access increases, we would see rising rates of psychosis. 

While legalization  does  increase rates of other conditions that are directly triggered by cannabis use, such as  cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome , the studies that examine psychosis rates have had very mixed results. 

The  WSJ  article mentioned earlier in this article cites a  small Danish study  that examined data collected from 6,788 people in 11 locations throughout Europe and Brazil. None had access to tested, legal cannabis.

While it did find a link between access to high-potency cannabis and psychosis, a  much larger US study  involving over 63 million people found that access to medical or recreational cannabis had no impact on psychosis rates at all. If we were seeing a dramatic wave of teen psychosis in the US, as suggested in the recent  WSJ  piece, that shift should be reflected in this large-scale population study. 

Genetics May Drive Cannabis Use As Well As mental Health Outcomes 

Psychosis rates haven’t skyrocketed with the recent increase in legal cannabis access, so why do we see any correlation between the two? 

Beyond the possibilities suggested above, genetics may play a key role. Scientists have found data that points to  underlying genes that predispose someone to both psychosis and cannabis-use disorder . (Doctors  diagnose cannabis-use disorder  when someone experiences negative effects from cannabis use, wants to stop using it, but cannot bring themselves to quit despite repeated efforts.)

Research reviews have found that an individual who has genetics correlated with cannabis-use disorder may be more likely to develop schizophrenia,  whether or not they actually ever used cannabis.  This suggests that genetics, rather than cannabis, is to blame. 

One the best-designed studies just came out. In January, researchers published a  rare study of more than 4,000 identical twins  over time. One twin used weed while the other didn’t, and researchers tracked them for 27 years. Weed use did not predict mental health outcomes.

“Cannabis consumption did not predict within-pair differences in psychoticism,” the researchers concluded.

There’s a big takeaway here: If you have a family history of mental illness, and are increasing your cannabis use, you might want to re-evaluate your habits.

The data also supports maintaining 21 as the legal appropriate age for cannabis consumption; that’s typically towards the back end of when congenital mental illness may crop up in an individual. 

While more research may shift our understanding of these issues, the current data does not suggest that cannabis use is a strong causal factor for chronic mental illness. Still, given cannabis’ ability to cause visual effects or strange thoughts, THC may be best avoided by at-risk patients. At the same time, doctors are actively evaluating whether the cannabinoid CBD can treat mental illnesses. 

As always, consult with a cannabis-specializing doctor before beginning medical use of cannabis to treat your symptoms.  

This article is from an external unpaid contributor. It does not represent Benzinga's reporting and has not been edited for content or accuracy.

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Ohio adult-use marijuana sales approved as part of 2023 ballot measure could begin by mid-June

FILE - Nikko Griffin, left, and Tyra Patterson, call out to arriving voters for several issues, including Issue 2, legalizing recreational marijuana, at a parking lot during early in-person voting in Cincinnati, Nov. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

FILE - Nikko Griffin, left, and Tyra Patterson, call out to arriving voters for several issues, including Issue 2, legalizing recreational marijuana, at a parking lot during early in-person voting in Cincinnati, Nov. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

essays about legalization of marijuana

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Recreational marijuana could be available for sale in Ohio by mid-June, after new licensing rules for dispensaries cleared a key legislative hurdle Monday.

Adult-use sales have been in limbo in the state since December , when an initiated statute approved by voters went into effect. Ohioans over 21 were immediately able to legally grow and possess cannabis at home, but they had nowhere to legally buy it — prompting concern by Gov. Mike DeWine and some fellow Republicans in the Legislature that openings would be created for a black market.

On Monday, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review allowed rules to proceed without objection that clear the way for a dual licensing program that will allow existing medical marijuana dispensaries to also sell non-medical pot products. Jim Canepa, superintendent of the Division of Cannabis Control, said applications will be available by no later than June 7, as the new law requires.

“I don’t want to give anyone false hopes,” he told reporters, when asked whether applications might even be available before then. “We’re following the timeline in the initiated statute. We have a small but mighty staff, but there’s (a) bandwidth (issue) there.”

FILE - Cannabis flowers are displayed for sale, Jan. 24, 2023, in New York. New York’s legal cannabis market has been hampered by inexperienced leaders who treated the agency like a “mission-driven” startup rather than a government office, according to an internal review released Friday., May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Canepa didn’t want to speculate on how long approval of each application might take, saying it will depend on the circumstances.

But Tom Haren, spokesperson for Ohio Cannabis Coaltion and a key backer of last fall’s ballot effort, said dispensary operators will be ready right away. He said the Division of Cannabis Control has been ”working tirelessly” over the last several months to meet the deadlines laid out in the law for getting the program up and running, and his members have been trying to match their speed.

“Our members have obviously been anticipating the rollout of adult-use sales,” he said. “They’ve been working on getting processes in place, making whatever changes they need to to procedures. We’re really excited.”

Haren said he anticipates most of Ohio’s existing dispensaries will apply to be dual licensees, allowing them to sell both medical and recreational products.

Canepa said this is one of several rules packages that must be created to fully implement the program by the final deadline, which is Sept. 7. The new law allows adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow up to six plants per individual or 12 plants per household at home. It gave the state nine months to set up a system for legal marijuana purchases, subject to a 10% tax. Sales revenue is to be divided between administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries, paying for social equity and jobs programs supporting the cannabis industry itself.

Republican state Rep. Jamie Callendar, a long-time supporter of legalizing adult-use cannabis, said the speed with which Cannabis Control, a division of the Ohio Department of Commerce, is gearing up the program validates his contention last year that working through the rules process was better than passing a swiftly negotiated legislative package.

DeWine and the Republican-led Ohio Senate struck a deal at the 11th hour on a sweeping rewrite of what voters had approved, angering the issue’s backers and alarming both parties in the House.

The bill the Senate passed would have outlawed growing at home, cut the allowable amount of pot that can be possessed to 1 ounce and raised taxes on purchases to 15%. It would also have eliminated tax revenue funding for social equity programs supporting the marijuana industry and direct most of the tax money raised to a general state government fund. But the House adjourned without taking a vote.

Callender said legislation will still no doubt be needed to address several issues “not inconsistent with what voters voted on,” such as child safety packaging, prohibiting marketing cannabis to kids, and assuring business owners are protected.

“I think at this point we’ve gotten past a lot of the fears that many of the senators and the Governor’s Office had originally, and we’ve gotten to the point where they’re saying, ‘Oh, this is going to work,’” he said.


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Hawaii Has Been Debating Marijuana Legalization For Half A Century

Lawmakers have been vacillating over how to handle weed consumption in the islands since the late 1960s.

State Rep. John Carroll was fed up with Hawaii’s outdated marijuana laws. 

The Republican lawmaker had recently been at a rock concert where much of the audience had lit up — some right in front of police officers. Thousands of Hawaii’s citizens smoked pot, Carroll told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper, but nothing had been done to update the legal code to “better fit the state’s changing morals.”

“We have to face the situation realistically,” he said, a few months before introducing a bill to decriminalize the drug.

It was 1973. 

essays about legalization of marijuana

Five years later, after several attempts at legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana had died in the Legislature, Rep. Lisa Naito chastised her colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee for voting to defer yet another bill on the matter. How could they let another session go by without addressing an issue that was relevant to so many people in the state? 

“This is the fourth year in a row that we have closed our eyes to this problem,” Naito said. “The only way we are going to get some of our Neanderthal thinking changed is when we get some new legislators in here.”

When debates over marijuana legalization began in earnest in the late 1960s, some observers predicted that Hawaii would be one of the first states to legalize the drug. Instead, the political fight over how to best regulate weed has been perennial and slow-moving. 

essays about legalization of marijuana

Special Series

Some things never change. This series looks back at issues and events that seem to keep going decade after decade. What can we learn from how we’ve handled things in the past?

Hawaii’s newspaper archives show not only how long the state has been debating marijuana legalization, but also how little the arguments for and against such a move have changed over the last half a century.

“One of the greatest dangers from the use of pot is that our ridiculous laws result in useful citizens being branded for life with a criminal conviction,” an Advertiser columnist wrote in 1970.

But the critical point in dealing with marijuana is not public opinion or even how many people use the drug, then-Lt. Gov. George Ariyoshi told the Star-Bulletin in 1973.

“Until we have concrete evidence that marijuana is not harmful to one’s health, I’m against its legalization,” he said.

Changing Views On Marijuana

Coverage of marijuana in Hawaii newspapers follows a similar trajectory as the rest of the nation. In the 1800s, most references to cannabis in the islands’ English language papers were about its medicinal uses, followed by concern about the utter lack of regulation over said medicine.

An 1886 issue of the Evening Bulletin contained instructions for treating corns with a concoction of cannabis indica dissolved in salicylic acid and alcohol.

Ten years later, the Hawaiian Star newspaper tried to raise awareness about the secrecy of ingredients in cigarette brands sold by various companies, many of which contained valerian root or cannabis, the article said. Food and medicinal products marketed to children contained untold amounts of drugs — including not just cannabis but also morphine and heroin — the Commercial Pacific Advertiser warned in 1910.

In 1914, Hawaii created a “poison list” of substances that could only be sold in the islands by pharmacists and medical practitioners. In the previous four years, 59 people had died as a result of ingesting drugs, the article said . Though no one had died from cannabis consumption, it was included on the poison list.

By the late 1920s, as the issue of recreational marijuana use became a greater topic of public conversation, news coverage began to focus on the drug as a growing social menace.

essays about legalization of marijuana

Marijuana “portends greater evil for the nation than opium” the Honolulu Star-Bulletin declared in 1937. The price of a marijuana cigarette in Honolulu was 75 cents at the time, the captain of Honolulu’s vice squad said, adding that the department was not aware of any weed being grown in the islands. Rather, it was being smuggled in by ship.

Suppose you smoked a reefer, muggle, moota, grifo or loco weed? The article asked.

“You would become nauseated. Gradually your irritation would merge into exhilaration as the narcotic affected your higher nerve centers. You have increased strength, in other words, are ‘hopped up'” the article declared. “Your courage is boundless. If you want something, you take it. This is the state in which murder, robbery and other crimes are committed. Time seems prolonged. Walking from one chair to another takes hours. You laugh if someone tells you something which otherwise would sadden you.”

essays about legalization of marijuana

Throughout the 1930s and ’40s, vice squads routinely busted residents of the islands for possessing small amounts of weed, but people were often fined rather than incarcerated. Then in the 1950s, as hysteria over drug-induced violence ramped up, groups like the Citizens Council on Narcotics Control r ecommended stiffer penalties . Federal mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession were put into place in the early 1950s.

By the 1960s, the penalty for someone caught with marijuana for the first time — for their own use, not for sale — was a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine of $1,000 for a first offense. The penalty doubled for subsequent offenses. Federal law was even harsher: a penalty of not less than five years imprisonment for a first offense,

A second offense could result in a sentence of up to 40 years.

“In Hawaii, even first-degree murderers are not punished so severely,” the paper wrote.

At the same time, an increase in the popularity of pot on college campuses started sparking new conversations about whether any of the widely varying state or federal punishments across the country were appropriate.

Hawaii lawmakers took up the issue in 1969, giving state judges the discretion to downgrade charges in marijuana cases.

essays about legalization of marijuana

Failed Legislative Efforts

By the early 1970s, marijuana use had become much more mainstream — and so had the idea that the current penalties no longer fit the crime.

essays about legalization of marijuana

Lawmakers taking up the issue of decriminalizing marijuana in 1971 had a problem, though. Without any personal experience smoking pot, they didn’t know what they were talking about.

“It’s going to be hell for us, because many of us don’t know what the heck marijuana is,” Kauai Rep. Tony Kunimura said to the head of the Honolulu Police Department’s narcotics squad during a legislative hearing. “Lieutenant, can you give us a controlled experiment?”

If lawmakers were going to make intelligent decisions on the matter, they needed to be better informed.

“I’m serious,” he said to the cop. “Can you make some available?”

The exchange became the inspiration for a satirical column in the Honolulu Advertiser the following week , which tapped into a real fear of the day: That if Hawaii were to legalize the drug, the state would be overrun with pot-smoking hippies from the mainland. That could be addressed, an imaginary lawmaker in the column suggested, by legalizing weed only for Hawaii residents.

“The cop at the International Marketplace, when he spots someone smoking marijuana, merely has to ask for his Pot Card. If the smoker proves he’s been here three years, the cop says, ‘Aloha, kamaaina. Enjoy,'” the satirical lawmaker suggested.

essays about legalization of marijuana

The same year, the state’s deputy public defender came out in support of “legal, over-the-counter sales of marijuana.”

Defending people busted for marijuana took up about a quarter of public defenders’ time, he said, calling marijuana “perhaps the most controversial problem facing Hawaii now.”

Honolulu’s city prosecutor Barry Chung was directly opposed. Chung called state lawmakers irresponsible for seeking a study on legalizing marijuana.

“I find it hard, Mr. Chairman, to believe that life today is so poor, so barren, so utterly without meaning and challenge, that the government must now consider giving to its people another pleasure, another means of escape,” he said in a prepared statement.

In 1972, lawmakers successfully changed the state penal code to make possession of marijuana for personal use a petty misdemeanor rather than a felony.

essays about legalization of marijuana

But the next year, in introducing a bill to legalize marijuana, the Republican Senator representing Waikiki said that any jail time for pot possession was too punitive.

“Just to go to jail for even one day is not right,” he said.

A majority of his colleagues disagreed.

Hawaii lawmakers introduced bills to legalize or decriminalize the drug in 1970. And 1971. And 1972, ‘73, ‘74, ‘78 and ‘79 and ’81. Year after year, they failed to pass.

 In 1979, then-state Rep. Neil Abercrombie tried a different tactic , introducing a bill to effectively legalize marijuana by removing all mentions of it from the state criminal code.

Abercrombie “claimed a moral victory,” the Star-Bulletin wrote, “saying that ‘it was a triumph of sorts just to get the bill out of any committee.’”

Abercrombie said he would try again the next year to get enough votes to pass the bill. But by 1980, momentum to legalize the drug dissipated as attitudes in government took a turn to the right on the issue of drug control.

“I don’t believe that it’s going to be legalized in our state, and I don’t believe one state should legalize it without it being done on a national basis,” then-Gov. George Ariyoshi told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald in 1981, adding that he was personally opposed to legalization.

The impact that making the drug available would have on teenagers and ongoing concerns about a lack of sufficient health studies were cited frequently in debates on the issue from 1970 to 2024.

By the 1990s, much of the discussion had shifted to the use of medical marijuana.

In 1999, a year after a House Health Committee deferred action on a bill to legalize medical weed, Jerry Hunt, a World War II veteran with an artificial leg, joined dozens of people with severe illnesses in pleading for lawmakers to make marijuana a prescribable medication.  

“I am a Marine Veteran from World War II. Why should I have to stumble around the streets trying to buy some marijuana?” Hunt said.

In 2000 the Legislature passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. It would be another 16 years before the state would pass a law creating a mechanism for patients to legally purchase the drug. In the meantime, a wave of states moved forward with legalizing recreational marijuana.

Growing Popularity

While a majority of lawmakers have consistently opposed legalizing weed throughout the last 50 years, news coverage has shown public opinion in the islands to be generally more relaxed on the matter.

essays about legalization of marijuana

“People here seem pretty liberal about it,” a Marine told the Honolulu Advertiser in 1971 in a story about weed and the military. “We believe Hawaii will be the first state to legalize marijuana.”

Around the same time, Hawaii started becoming synonymous with high-quality marijuana strains like Maui Wowee and Kona Gold.

In 1980, two years after the state began large-scale efforts to destroy pot-growing operations, marijuana was one of the state’s top agricultural moneymakers, the United Press International wrote. The street value of pot crops seized in 1979 alone was triple that of the papaya industry.

While concerns in the early 1970s focused on Hawaii attracting too many pot users by becoming the first state to legalize the drug, today’s arguments run the opposite.

Hawaii is the only Pacific state without legal marijuana, but making the drug available would scare away Japanese tourists, opponents argued earlier this year in a successful effort to kill yet another round of bills to legalize or decriminalize weed.

If there’s one thing that lawmakers appear to have conceded over the years, it’s that regardless of regulations, the drug isn’t going away.

“Public opinion surveys report that a steadily increasing number of Americans have smoked pot — or are willing to admit that they have,” the Honolulu Advertiser wrote in a 1973 editorial that could well have been written today. “Legal or not, harmful or harmless, marijuana seems here to stay.”

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Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Marijuana — Marijuana Argumentative Outline


Marijuana Argumentative Outline

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    essays about legalization of marijuana


  1. Essays on Cannabis Legalization

    Essays on Cannabis Legalization. Thomas, Danna Kang. Though the drug remains illegal at the federal level, in recent years states and localities have increasingly liberalized their marijuana laws in order to generate tax revenue and save resources on marijuana law enforcement. Many states have adopted some form of medical marijuana and/or ...

  2. 103 Marijuana Legalization Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    This is an important consideration since data on the prevalence of Marijuana indicates that the US is still the world's largest single market for the drug. The focus of this paper will be on the impact of the legalization of the U.S.economy with possible positive and negative sides of the matter.

  3. Risks and Benefits of Legalized Cannabis

    Cannabis legalization has benefits, such as removing the product from the illegal market so it can be taxed and regulated, but science is still trying to catch up as social norms evolve and different products become available. In this Q&A, adapted from the August 25 episode of Public Health On Call, Lindsay Smith Rogers talks with Johannes ...

  4. Marijuana Legalization

    Marijuana legalization is a contentious issue with implications for health, economy, and society. Essays might explore the arguments for and against legalization, the experiences of regions where marijuana has been legalized, and the legal, economic, and social ramifications of legalization. Additionally, discussions might extend to the medical ...

  5. Three Essays on The Effect of Legalizing Marijuana on Health, Education

    The legalization of marijuana has emerged as a critical public policy issue, with far-reaching implications for health, education, and government programs at both the state and federal levels. The three essays of this dissertation show that medical marijuana legalization (MML) has a negative effect in each of these areas. The first essay shows, that the enactment of MMLs can exacerbate the ...

  6. Essays on Marijuana Legalization

    The argument about whether marijuana should be legalized in all parts of the US is still ongoing. Students usually get a lot of essays on marijuana legalization as it is a pressing issue for many countries. Using sample papers to outline the introduction, and a conclusion can help with writing the marijuana legalization essays.

  7. Legalization of Marijuana: Arguments For and Against Essay

    The fear of being caught and imprisoned has reduced the quantity of marijuana that is distributed in the community. Legalizing marijuana will increase its availability leading to increased number of users both legal and illegal. Given the side effects marijuana has, this will spell doom to the society as a whole.

  8. Minor and Major Arguments on Legalization of Marijuana Essay

    Minor argument. Conlusion: Marijuana should not be legalised. Premises 1: If marijuana were to be legalized it would be impossible to regulate its' sell to, and use by the minors. It would set free, the bounds that exist on the transit of the drug, making it reach the intended and unintended places including possession by children.

  9. Cannabis Legalization In The US: Population Health Impacts

    Rebecca L. Haffajee. Amanda Mauri. Evidence regarding the effects of recreational cannabis legalization on public health is inconsistent. Future research should assess heterogeneous policy design ...

  10. PDF The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana National ...

    effect and 12 state recreational marijuana laws (RMLs) went into effect . According to recent public-opinion polls, two out of three Americans favor the legalization of marijuana (Gurley 2019; Lopez 2019). 2 Given this level of support, it seems likely that more states will legalize marijuana in upcoming years.

  11. Debating the legalisation of recreational cannabis

    Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug globally, particularly in North America and high-income countries in Europe and Oceania. Although the use of medicinal cannabis is legal in many countries, for example to treat chronic pain, poor appetite, or nausea due to chemotherapy, legalisation of non-medicinal or recreational cannabis is a topic of growing public discussion and debate globally.

  12. Legalization of Marijuana Essays: Example, Tips, and References

    Marijuana has been shown to have mild side effects when used in controlled doses. The legalization of marijuana is expected to improve the country's economic development. If state officials vote to legalize marijuana, they will save a lot of money for taxpayers. State officials spend a lot of money on the branches of law enforcement that are in ...

  13. Legalization Of Marijuana: [Essay Example], 698 words

    In the end, the legalization of marijuana is a nuanced and complex issue that requires careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation. Only by approaching this debate with an open mind and a willingness to listen to all viewpoints can we hope to reach a consensus that serves the best interests of society as a whole. This essay was reviewed by.

  14. Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized and Its Benefits

    This essay will argue that marijuana should be legalized for several reasons, including its potential medical benefits, the reduction of criminal activity, and the economic advantages it offers. In the realm of medical marijuana, there is a wealth of evidence supporting its potential therapeutic properties.

  15. Legalization of Marijuana: Arguments For and Against Essay

    The term "legalization" refers to the removal of all penalties associated with the use of marijuana and the drug's sale, possession, or cultivation. Though marijuana is illegal to distribute and possess, it has been around for thousands of years. Marijuana was first banned in 1937 in the United States after the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act.

  16. Argumentative Essay On Marijuana Legalization

    Why Marijuana Should Be Legal Essay Introduction. There is an ongoing tension between the belief that marijuana effectively treats a wide range of ailments and the argument that it has far-reaching negative health effects. There has nevertheless been a drive towards legalization of the drug in the United States with twenty nine states and the ...

  17. As the US reclassifies marijuana, could more states legalize it?

    North Dakota voters rejected legalization measures in 2018 and 2022 but approved medical marijuana in 2016. "The bottom line is the move is going to allow intelligent, informed discussion about cannabis legislation instead of succumbing to the historical objection that marijuana is a dangerous drug like LSD or black tar heroin," Friese said.

  18. 211 Marijuana Essay Topics & Examples

    Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a psychoactive drug made from a plant and used for recreational and medical purposes. Being fully prohibited in some countries, it is fully legalized in others. In your essay about marijuana, you might want to focus on the pros and cons of its legalization. Another option is to discuss marijuana dependence.

  19. Legalizing Marijuana Is a Big Mistake

    Legalizing Marijuana Is a Big Mistake. May 17, 2023. Evelyn Freja for The New York Times. Share full article. 2652. By Ross Douthat. Opinion Columnist. Of all the ways to win a culture war, the ...

  20. Justice Dept. Recommends Easing Restrictions on Marijuana

    Support for easing marijuana restrictions has grown over the years, shifting from a point of focus among the left flank of the Democratic Party to becoming a more bipartisan issue. A Gallup poll ...

  21. DEA plans to reclassify marijuana as a lower-risk drug, officials say

    At the state level, the rapid legalization of marijuana has facilitated the rise of a booming industry of growers, processors, dispensaries and other cannabis companies. But the industry has ...

  22. Biden administration plans big change to marijuana rules

    Overall, the number of Americans who think marijuana should be legal reached a record high at 70%, according to a Gallup poll in the fall. For decades, marijuana has been listed under the ...

  23. Is marijuana legal in the US? A shift in marijuana rules is coming

    Plus, state laws often involve decriminalization — not legalization — of marijuana. That means the drug is still considered illegal, but punishments are reduced from prison time to paying a ...

  24. The Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization: [Essay Example], 1060

    Pros and cons of marijuana legalization (essay) Upon closer examination, we can discover there are societal costs of marijuana legalization. First off, marijuana causes ill lasting effects on the human body. Marijuana can cause anxiety, distorted judgment, inferior educational scores, respirational problems, and slower reaction times.

  25. The U.S. Government Plans To Reclassify Marijuana From A ...

    Three in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder, according to the CDC. This means that 30% of those that use marijuana use it despite it causing problems at school, home and work ...

  26. The Legalization of Marijuana

    Cannabis is considered to be one of the most widely consumed prohibited drugs in the U.S.A, especially among young people. Every year the quantity of middle and high school undergraduates using marijuana increases while the awareness about the health damage of cannabis deteriorates promptly at the same time. In this essay, we will establish the ...

  27. Fact Check: Is Marijuana Legalization Hurting Teen Mental Health?

    It suggests access to higher-potency cannabis is leading to ever-increasing rates of psychosis in teens. But the actual data paints a different picture. Population studies of over 63 million ...

  28. Ohio adult-use marijuana sales approved as part of 2023 ballot measure

    The new law allows adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow up to six plants per individual or 12 plants per household at home. It gave the state nine months to set up a system for legal marijuana purchases, subject to a 10% tax.

  29. Hawaii Has Been Debating Marijuana Legalization For Half A Century

    Hawaii is the only Pacific state without legal marijuana, but making the drug available would scare away Japanese tourists, opponents argued earlier this year in a successful effort to kill yet ...

  30. Marijuana Argumentative Outline: [Essay Example], 487 words

    Thesis Statement: This essay will argue that marijuana should be legalized for medical and recreational use due to its potential benefits, including its ability to relieve chronic pain, stimulate economic growth, and reduce crime rates. Body. Paragraph 1: Medical Benefits of Marijuana. Topic Sentence: Marijuana has been proven to have numerous ...