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Friday, February 3, 2023

Widening the debate over marijuana legalization

marijuanaBy Jocelyn Stevenson

Special to CSMS Magazine

As Colorado has already legalized marijuana and more states stand ready to follow suit, Jocelyn Stevenson, long time nutritionist, explains the rationale behind the push.


Legalizing marijuana varies from state to state. Ownership of cannabis is illegal in most states; however possession of marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington.  Legalizing marijuana in my opinion is smart because of the medical usage it serves with people with terminal diseases, the recreational taking among adolescents and adults, and the racial legal issues associated with illegal drug use.

To begin with, legalizing the use of cannabis would be useful for patients with terminal aliments such as cancer and glaucoma. Many people use marijuana because they have made an educated medical decision that it is good for them, especially Americans suffering from a variety of severe disorders. Marijuana provides relief from pain, nausea, spasticity, and other symptoms for many individuals who have not been treated successfully with conventional medications. Americans use marijuana because they choose to, and one of the reasons for that choice is their personal observation that the drug has a relatively low reliance danger and has easy-to-manage side effects.

Most marijuana users develop tolerance to many of marijuana’s side effects, and those who do not, choose to stop using the drug. Marijuana use is the result of knowledgeable consent in which individuals have decided that the benefits of use outweigh the risks, especially since, for most Americans, the greatest risk of using marijuana is the relatively low risk of arrest.

In addition to medical use, making the selling of cannabis legal would mean it would reduce the sales in the underground market and use among teenagers. The legalization of cannabis would also decreases the chances of exposure of other illegal drugs to the youth. The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make effortless profits selling it to their friends. If the disproportionate earnings for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be a lesser amount of enticement for youth to sell it to one another.

As of today teenage use of alcohol and tobacco continues to remain a serious public health problem in America even though some of those drugs are legal for adults, however, the availability of alcohol and tobacco is not made even more widespread by providing kids with economic incentives to sell either one to their friends and peers.

Furthermore, legalizing marijuana would get rid of the perception that law enforcement is biased and discriminatory against minorities. According to a poll by Gallup, African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests.

Recent studies from a scientific experiment have also demonstrated that African Americans and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.

Note: Jocelyn Stevenson lives and works in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina.   

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