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Budding potential: Recreational marijuana necessary for economic blossoming

Esteban Alarcon, Opinions editor

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A familiar blindfold of federal ignorance shields Americans from appreciating the vast spectrum of benefits that marijuana offers. At first glance, cannabis serves as no more than a depressant that offers a good time and some notable medicinal qualities. Fortunately, this little green plant retains the ability to redefine our economy, medical field, and society. Though, for marijuana to reach its full potential in America, overdue federal action must take place to legalize this drug in the same manner that alcohol has been legalized.

According to Governing.com, seven states and the District of Columbia have fully legalized marijuana, and 21 states broadly legalized the use of medicinal marijuana. Exposing the majority of America to the medicinal benefits of cannabis raises a common question: why stop there?

The word marijuana startles many politicians, as they ironically sip their whiskey on the rocks. Alcohol took 88,000 lives in one year. The legalization of marijuana, particularly recreational, challenges the ethics of politicians due to its generalization as just another hardcore, unhealthy, immoral drug. Although marijuana receives a negative label, a chunk of America’s economy relies on a similar recreational drug: alcohol.  

Naturally, America overlooks the negativity lying within alcohol simply because the industry itself generates $475 billion yearly and 4.6 million U.S. jobs. After observing the lucrative results of an industry that solely relies on a product that offers one, single effect (drunkenness), apply this potential economic growth to marijuana, a product which offers not only recreational intoxication, but also medicinal, cosmetic, and technological opportunities.

In the event of federal legalization of recreational marijuana, immediate benefits shall begin to impact the current domestic state. After considering cannabis an official product, federal tax can feed on the new, lucrative industry and increase government funds. This green plant put forth a legal $1 billion in Colorado’s economy. The marijuana industry will generate millions of job opportunities, ending the false accusations of innocent immigrants “stealing” national employment.

All levels of the justice department will no longer waste valuable energy on busting petty marijuana offenses, allowing them to focus on legitimate matters such as the opioid crisis and a large youth population dying off due to the tyranny of heroin. The legalization of recreational marijuana will proceed to improve one of the most debilitating national issues: prison overpopulation. Filtering prisons of its marijuana offenders will, consequently, make room for actual criminals, and will relieve American citizens from such hefty taxes that clothe and feed inmates.

Evidently, the criminalization of marijuana seems absurd and leads one to logically question the origin of the illegalization.

According to drugpolicy.org, after the Mexican Revolution, America witnessed heavy immigration from Mexico. The Latinos brought with them their cultures, customs and a familiar plant Mexicans referred to as “marihuana” and Americans “cannabis.” Americans familiarized themselves with this herb long before Mexicans brought it about; cannabinoid products lined their medicine cabinets beside the cough drops and pain killers. Despite marijuana’s harmless qualities, Americans used it to demonize immigrants, and justify the heavy deportation of Mexicans. The criminalization of the herb essentially boils down to an unreasonable and unethical purpose, defeating the intention of all anti-marijuana laws.  

On October 2, 2017,  the Atlanta city council commenced the decriminalization process of marijuana. No jail time and a fine of $75 results from possession of an ounce or less of cannabis. Such a small feat in decriminalizing marijuana gives hope to the pro-cannabis population in seeing marijuana fully legalized.

Until federal action allows the seed to grow, America remains blindfolded from the true benefits of marijuana.

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Esteban Alarcon, Copy Editor

Esteban Alarcon is 5’7” on his license, so we’ll go with that. As an academically ambitious senior, semi-professional wakesurfer, jazz musician,...

1 Comment

One Response to “Budding potential: Recreational marijuana necessary for economic blossoming”

  1. Steve and Silvia Diegnan on March 9th, 2018 5:26 PM

    Besides how well the article is written, I happen to agree with everything the reporter talked about

     

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Budding potential: Recreational marijuana necessary for economic blossoming