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  • What is Public Health?

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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  • Journal of Economic Literature

The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana

  • D. Mark Anderson
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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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American University

THREE ESSAYS ON THE EFFECT OF LEGALIZING MARIJUANA ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND SOCIAL SECURITY

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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  • Health economics
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  • v.110(6); Nov-Dec 2013

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More Reasons States Should Not Legalize Marijuana: Medical and Recreational Marijuana: Commentary and Review of the Literature

Recent years have seen substantial shifts in cultural attitudes towards marijuana for medical and recreational use. Potential problems with the approval, production, dispensation, route of administration, and negative health effects of medical and recreational marijuana are reviewed. Medical marijuana should be subject to the same rigorous approval process as other medications prescribed by physicians. Legalizing recreational marijuana may have negative public health effects.

Introduction

Recent years have seen a cultural shift in attitudes towards marijuana. At the time of this writing, medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia; recreational marijuana is now legal in Washington and Colorado. A substantial and growing literature documents legalized marijuana may have adverse effects on individual and public health.

Medical Use of Marijuana

The term ‘medical marijuana’ implies that marijuana is like any other medication prescribed by a physician. Yet the ways in which medical marijuana has been approved, prescribed, and made available to the public are very different from other commercially available prescription drugs. These differences pose problems unrecognized by the public and by many physicians.

Lack of Evidence for Therapeutic Benefit

In the United States, commercially available drugs are subject to rigorous clinical trials to evaluate safety and efficacy. Data appraising the effectiveness of marijuana in conditions such as HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and chemotherapy-associated vomiting is limited and often only anecdotal. 1 , 2 To date, there has been only one randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of smoked marijuana for any of its potential indications, which showed that marijuana was superior to placebo but inferior to Ondansetron in treating nausea. 3 Recent reviews by the Cochrane Collaboration find insufficient evidence to support the use of smoked marijuana for a number of potential indications, including pain related to rheumatoid arthritis, 4 dementia, 5 ataxia or tremor in multiple sclerosis, 6 and cachexia and other symptoms in HIV/AIDS. 2 This does not mean, of course, that components of marijuana do not have potential therapeutic effects to alleviate onerous symptoms of these diseases; but, given the unfavorable side effect profile of marijuana, the evidence to justify use in these conditions is still lacking.

Contamination, Concentration & Route of Administration

Unlike any other prescription drug used for medical purposes, marijuana is not subject to central regulatory oversight. It is grown in dispensaries, which, depending on the state, have regulatory standards ranging from strict to almost non-existent. The crude marijuana plant and its products may be contaminated with fungus or mold. 7 This is especially problematic for immunocompromised patients, 8 including those with HIV/AIDS or cancer. 9 Furthermore, crude marijuana contains over 60 active cannabinoids, 10 few of which are well studied. Marijuana growers often breed their plants to alter the concentrations of different chemicals compounds. For instance, the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient, is more than 20-fold more than in marijuana products used several decades ago. Without rigorous clinical trials, we have no way of knowing which combinations of cannabinoids may be therapeutic and which may be deleterious. As marijuana dispensaries experiment by breeding out different cannabinoids in order to increase the potency of THC, there may be unanticipated negative and lasting effects for individuals who smoke these strains.

Marijuana is the only ‘medication’ that is smoked, and, while still incompletely understood, there are legitimate concerns about long-term effects of marijuana smoke on the lungs. 11 , 12 Compared with cigarette smoke, marijuana smoke can result in three times the amount of inhaled tar and four times the amount of inhaled carbon-monoxide. 13 Further, smoking marijuana has been shown to be a risk factor for lung cancer in many 14 , 15 but not all 16 studies.

High Potential for Diversion

In some states, patients are permitted to grow their own marijuana. In addition to contributing to problems such as contamination and concentration as discussed above, this practice also invites drug diversion. Patients seeking to benefit financially may bypass local regulations of production and sell home-grown marijuana at prices lower than dispensaries. We do not allow patient to grow their own opium for treatment of chronic pain; the derivatives of opium, like marijuana, are highly addictive and thus stringently regulated.

Widespread “Off-label” Use

FDA-approved forms of THC (Dronabinol) and a THC-analog (Nabilone), both available orally, already exist. Indications for these drugs are HIV/AIDS cachexia and chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting. Unlike smoked, crude marijuana, these medications have been subject to randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trials. Yet despite these limited indications where marijuana compounds have a proven but modest effect in high-quality clinical trials, medical marijuana is used overwhelmingly for non-specific pain or muscle spasms. Recent data from Colorado show that 94% of patients with medical marijuana cards received them for treatment of “severe pain.” 17 Similar trends are evident in California. 18 Evidence for the benefit of marijuana in neuropathic pain is seen in many 19 - 21 but not all 22 clinical trials. There is no high-quality evidence, however, that the drug reduces non-neuropathic pain; this remains an indication for which data sufficient to justify the risks of medical marijuana is lacking. 4 , 23 – 25

If marijuana is to be ‘prescribed’ by physicians and used as a medication, it should be subject to the same rigorous approval process that other commercially available drugs undergo. Potentially therapeutic components of marijuana should be investigated, but they should only be made available to the public after adequately powered, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have demonstrated efficacy and acceptable safety profiles. Furthermore, these compounds should be administered in a way that poses less risk than smoking and dispensed via standardized and FDA-regulated pharmacies to ensure purity and concentration. Bypassing the FDA and approving ‘medicine’ at the ballot box sets a dangerous precedent. Physicians should be discouraged from recommending medical marijuana. Alternatively, consideration can be given to prescribing FDA-approved medicines (Dronabinol or Cesamet) as the purity and concentration of these drugs are assured and their efficacy and side effect profiles have been well documented in rigorous clinical trials.

Recreational Marijuana

The question of recreational marijuana is a broader social policy consideration involving implications of the effects of legalization on international drug cartels, domestic criminal justice policy, and federal and state tax revenue in addition to public health. Yet physicians, with a responsibility for public health, are experts with a vested interest in this issue. Recent legislation, reflecting changes in the public’s attitudes towards marijuana, has permitted the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Unfortunately, the negative health consequences of the drug are not prominent in the debate over legalizing marijuana for recreational use. In many cases, these negative effects are more pronounced in adolescents. A compelling argument, based on these negative health effects in both adolescents and adults, can be made to abort the direction society is moving with regards to the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Myth: Marijuana is Not Addictive

A growing myth among the public is that marijuana is not an addictive substance. Data clearly show that about 10% of those who use cannabis become addicted; this number is higher among adolescents. 26 Users who seek treatment for marijuana addiction average 10 years of daily use. 27 A withdrawal syndrome has been described, consisting of anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression, and changes in appetite 28 and affects as many as 44% of frequent users, 29 contributing to the addictive potential of the drug. This addictive potential may be less than that of opiates; but the belief, especially among adolescents, that the drug is not addictive is misguided.

Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders

Marijuana has been consistently shown to be a risk factor for schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. 30 – 32 The association between marijuana and schizophrenia fulfills many, but not all, of the standard criteria for the epidemiological establishment of causation, including experimental evidence, 33 , 34 temporal relationship, 35 – 38 biological gradient, 30 , 31 , 39 and biological plausibility. 40 Genetic variation may explain why marijuana use does not strongly fulfill remaining criteria, such as strength of association and specificity. 41 , 42 As these genetic variants are explored and further characterized, marijuana use may be shown to cause or precipitate schizophrenia in a genetically vulnerable population. The risk of psychotic disorder is more pronounced when marijuana is used at an earlier age. 32 , 43

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There is some evidence that compounds naturally found in marijuana have therapeutic benefit for symptoms of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. If these compounds are to be used under the auspices of ‘medical marijuana,’ they should undergo the same rigorous approval process that other medications prescribed by physicians, including randomized, placebo- and active-controlled trials to evaluate safety and efficacy, not by popular vote or state legislature.

Effects on Cognition

Early studies suggested cognitive declines associated with marijuana (especially early and heavy use); these declines persisted long after the period of acute cannabis intoxication. 44 – 46 Recently, Meier and colleagues analyzed data from a prospective study which followed subjects from birth to age 38; their findings yielded supportive evidence that cannabis use, when begun during adolescence, was associated with cognitive impairment in multiple areas, including executive functioning, processing speed, memory, perceptual reasoning, and verbal comprehension. 47 Rogeberg 48 criticized the study’s methodology, claiming that the results were confounded by differences in socioeconomic status; this claim, however, was based on sub-analyses that used very small numbers. Additional sub-analyses 49 of the original study cohort showed that marijuana was just as prevalent in populations of higher socioeconomic status, suggesting that socioeconomic status was not a confounding variable. Any epidemiological study is subject to confounding biases and future research will be needed to clarify and quantify the relationship between cognitive decline and adolescent marijuana use. However, the findings of the original study by Meier et al show there is indeed an independent relationship between loss of intelligence and adolescent marijuana use. This finding, moreover, is consistent with prior studies. 44

Other Negative Health Effects

Substantial evidence exists suggesting that marijuana is harmful to the respiratory system. It is associated with symptoms of obstructive and inflammatory lung disease, 11 , 50 an increased risk of lung cancer, 14 , 15 and it is suspected to be associated with reduced pulmonary function in heavy users. 51 Further, its use has been associated with harmful effects to other organ systems, including the reproductive, 52 gastrointestinal, 53 and immunologic 10 , 54 systems.

Social Safety Implications: Effects on Driving

Marijuana impairs the ability to judge time, distance, and speed; it slows reaction time and reduces ability to track moving objects. 55 , 56 In many studies of drug-related motor vehicle fatalities, marijuana is the most common drug detected except for alcohol. 57 , 58 Based on post-mortem studies, Couch et al determined that marijuana was likely an impairing factor in as many fatal accidents as alcohol. 59 One study showed that in motor vehicle accidents where the driver was killed, recent marijuana use was detected in 12% of cases. 57 Other research confirms a significantly increased risk of motor vehicle fatalities in association with acute cannabis intoxication. 60

Risk Perception and Use in Adolescents

Marijuana use among adolescents has been increasing. Data that has tracked risk perception and use of marijuana among adolescents over decades clearly shows an inverse relationship; as adolescent risk perception wanes, marijuana use increases. 61 As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, risk perception is expected to decrease, causing the prevalence of use among adolescent to continue to rise. This is among the most concerning of issues about the drug’s legalization because so many of the negative effects of marijuana—including cognitive impairment and risk for short- and long-term psychosis— are heightened when used during adolescence.

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There is some evidence that compounds naturally found in marijuana have therapeutic benefit for symptoms of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. If these compounds are to be used under the auspices of ‘medical marijuana,’ they should undergo the same rigorous approval process that other medications prescribed by physicians, including randomized, placebo- and active-controlled trials to evaluate safety and efficacy, not by popular vote or state legislature. Furthermore, these therapeutic compounds should be administered via a route that minimizes long-term health risk (i.e., via oral pill) and should be dispensed by centrally regulated pharmacies to ensure the purity and concentration of the drug and allow for the recall of contaminated batches.

Marijuana for recreational use will have many adverse health effects. The drug is addictive, with mounting evidence for the existence of a withdrawal syndrome. Furthermore, it has been shown to have adverse effects on mental health, intelligence (including irreversible declines in cognition), and the respiratory system. Driving while acutely intoxicated with marijuana greatly increases the risk of fatal motor vehicle collision. Legalization for recreational use may have theoretical (but still unproven) beneficial social effects regarding issues such as domestic criminal justice policy, but these effects will not come without substantial public health and social costs. Currently there is a lack of resources devoted to educating physicians about this most commonly used illicit substance. The potential benefits and significant risks associated with marijuana use should be taught in medical schools and residency programs throughout the country.

Samuel T. Wilkinson, MD, is in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Ct.

Contact: [email protected]

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None reported.

Read our research on: Israel | Religion | Election 2024

Regions & Countries

Americans overwhelmingly say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational use.

An out-of-state customer purchases marijuana at a store in New York on March 31, 2021, when the state legalized recreational use of the drug.

With a growing number of states authorizing the use of marijuana, the public continues to broadly favor legalization of the drug for medical and recreational purposes. 

A pie chart showing that just one-in-ten U.S. adults say marijuana should not be legal at all

An overwhelming share of U.S. adults (88%) say either that marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use by adults (59%) or that it should be legal for medical use only (30%). Just one-in-ten (10%) say marijuana use should not be legal, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Oct. 10-16, 2022. These views are virtually unchanged since April 2021.

The new survey follows President Joe Biden’s decision to pardon people convicted of marijuana possession at the federal level and direct his administration to review how marijuana is classified under federal law. It was fielded before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, when two states legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes – joining 19 states and the District of Columbia , which had already done so.

Pew Research Center asked this question to track public views about the legal status of marijuana. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,098 adults from Oct. 10-16, 2022. Everyone who took part in this survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology .

Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology .

Over the long term, there has been a steep rise in public support for marijuana legalization, as measured by a separate Gallup survey question that asks whether the use of marijuana should be made legal – without specifying whether it would be legalized for recreational or medical use. This year, 68% of adults say marijuana should be legal , matching the record-high support for legalization Gallup found in 2021.

There continue to be sizable age and partisan differences in Americans’ views about marijuana. While very small shares of adults of any age are completely opposed to the legalization of the drug, older adults are far less likely than younger ones to favor legalizing it for recreational purposes.

This is particularly the case among those ages 75 and older, just three-in-ten of whom say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use. Larger shares in every other age group – including 53% of those ages 65 to 74 – say the drug should be legal for both medical and recreational use.

A bar chart showing that Americans 75 and older are the least likely to say marijuana should be legal for recreational use

Republicans are more wary than Democrats about legalizing marijuana for recreational use: 45% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, while an additional 39% say it should only be legal for medical use. By comparison, 73% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use; an additional 21% say it should be legal for medical use only.

Ideological differences are evident within each party. About four-in-ten conservative Republicans (37%) say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, compared with a 60% majority of moderate and liberal Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds of conservative and moderate Democrats (63%) say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use. An overwhelming majority of liberal Democrats (84%) say the same.

There also are racial and ethnic differences in views of legalizing marijuana. Roughly two-thirds of Black adults (68%) and six-in-ten White adults say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use, compared with smaller shares of Hispanic (49%) and Asian adults (48%).

Related: Clear majorities of Black Americans favor marijuana legalization, easing of criminal penalties

In both parties, views of marijuana legalization vary by age

While Republicans and Democrats differ greatly on whether marijuana should be legal for medial and recreational use, there are also age divides within each party.

A chart showing that there are wide age differences in both parties in views of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use

A 62% majority of Republicans ages 18 to 29 favor making marijuana legal for medical and recreational use, compared with 52% of those ages 30 to 49. Roughly four-in-ten Republicans ages 50 to 64 (41%) and 65 to 74 (38%) say marijuana should be legal for both purposes, as do 18% of those 75 and older.

Still, wide majorities of Republicans in all age groups favor legalizing marijuana for medical use. Even among Republicans 65 and older, just 17% say marijuana use should not be legal even for medical purposes.

While majorities of Democrats across all age groups support legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, older Democrats are less likely to say this. About half of Democrats ages 75 and older (51%) say marijuana should be legal for medical or recreational purposes; larger shares of younger Democrats say the same. Still, only 8% of Democrats 75 and older think marijuana should not be legalized even for medical use – similar to the share of all other Democrats who say this.

Note: Here are the questions used for this report, along with responses, and its methodology .

legalizing marijuana thesis

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Clear majorities of Black Americans favor marijuana legalization, easing of criminal penalties

Concern about drug addiction has declined in u.s., even in areas where fatal overdoses have risen the most, religious americans are less likely to endorse legal marijuana for recreational use, 6 facts about americans and marijuana, four-in-ten u.s. drug arrests in 2018 were for marijuana offenses – mostly possession, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

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legalizing marijuana thesis

Five Reasons Why We Should Legalize Cannabis

Cannabis use in the United States has had a long and complicated history. For decades, people who used cannabis were subject to social ostracization and criminal prosecution. However, attitudes toward cannabis have been evolving in recent years. An increasing number of states have started to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use. This shift in policy has been driven by a variety of factors including changing public attitudes and the potential economic benefits of legalization. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of legalizing cannabis in our country.

1. Legalization for the Environment

Legalizing cannabis can have significant benefits for the environment. When cannabis is grown illegally, it is often done in environmentally damaging ways, such as using chemical pesticides or clearing primary forests to make room for crops. Legalization could allow customers to support more environmental growers. This will incentivize more responsible growing practices, such as the use of organic farming methods or the use of renewable energy sources to power indoor grow operations. In addition, the culture of growing cannabis can help to discover and preserve precious marijuana seeds , increasing biodiversity and facilitating a deeper understanding of cannabis plants and their cultivation.

2. Legalization for Justice

Where cannabis is illegal, people are being arrested and charged for possession or sale, which leads to costly court cases and a burden on the criminal justice system. Legalization would free up law enforcement resources to focus on more serious crimes and simultaneously reduce the number of people incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. This could help to reduce the overall prison population and save taxpayers money.

In addition, legalization can have significant benefits for justice and equity, particularly for marginalized communities that have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis. Communities of color have been particularly affected by the war on drugs, with Black Americans being nearly four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white Americans, despite similar rates of use.

By regulating cannabis cultivation and sales, legalization can help to eliminate the black market and reduce the involvement of criminal organizations in the cannabis industry. This can lead to safer communities and reduced drug-related violence in communities that have been most affected by the criminalization of cannabis.

3. Legalization for Public Health

Cannabis has been shown to have many beneficial and therapeutic effects on both physical and mental health. However, people may be hesitant to seek medical marijuana treatment due to fear of legal repercussions if cannabis is illegal. Legalization can allow more people to enjoy better health outcomes. It can also promote the safer use of cannabis by educating the public on appropriate cannabis use and providing quality control measures for cannabis products. Legalization can also lead to increased research into potential medical applications of cannabis and could lead to the development of innovative treatments.

Another potential perk of cannabis legalization is that it could reduce the use of more harmful drugs. In the absence of cannabis, people may turn to more dangerous drugs like heroin or fentanyl to manage chronic pain or other conditions. By legalizing cannabis, we can provide a safer alternative for these individuals and could reduce the overall demand for these more dangerous drugs. States that have legalized cannabis found a decrease in opioid overdose deaths and hospitalizations, suggesting that cannabis are an effective alternative to prescription painkillers.

4. Legalization for the Economy

The legalization of cannabis can generate significant tax revenue for governments and create new economic opportunities. When cannabis is illegal, it is sold on the black market, and no taxes are collected on these sales. However, when it is legal, sales can be regulated, and taxes can be imposed on those sales. In states that have legalized cannabis, tax revenue from cannabis sales has been in the millions of dollars , with California registering a whopping $1.2 billion in cannabis tax revenue in 2021. This impressive income can be used to reduce budget deficits, fund various public services such as education and healthcare, and create new opportunities for investment in projects that revitalize the economy.

Aside from tax revenue, legalizing cannabis can create new jobs. The cannabis industry is a rapidly growing industry, and legalization could lead to the creation of new jobs in areas such as cultivation, processing, and retail sales. This can help to reduce unemployment and create new gainful opportunities for people who may have struggled to find employment in other industries. Legalization can also lead to increased investment in related industries, such as the development of new products or technologies to improve cannabis cultivation or the creation of new retail businesses. There are now several venture capital funds and investment groups that focus solely on cannabis-related enterprises.

5. Legalization for Acceptance

Finally, legalization could help reduce the stigma surrounding cannabis use. Before cannabis legalization, people who use the plant were often viewed as criminals or deviants. Legalization can help change this perception and lead to more open and honest conversations about cannabis use. Ultimately, legalization could lead to a more accepting and inclusive society where individuals are not judged or discriminated against for their personal and healthcare choices. By legalizing cannabis, we can harness the power of a therapeutic plant. Legalization can heal not just physical and mental ailments of individuals but also the social wounds that have resulted from its criminalization.

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Argumentative Essay On Marijuana Legalization

Published by gudwriter on May 27, 2018 May 27, 2018

Most students have serious problems writing a quality essay as they lack the necessary experience. If you need help writing an essay on legalization of marijuana, the perfect solution is to buy thesis proposal from experts online.

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Why Marijuana Should be Legalized Argumentative Essay Outline

Introduction.

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.

Conclusion.

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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  • Policy Brief: Why Marijuana Use Should Be Legalized in the Us In this perspective, it is valid to argue that marijuana users may be undergoing long incarcerations in US jails due to the misconceived fantasies that took root in the public mind in the 1930’s, and […]
  • Marijuana Must Not Be Legalized According to the national institute of drug abuse, the active chemical in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, act on the region of the brain responsible for time awareness, sensory, attention, thoughts, memory and pleasure. We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • The Effect of Legalization of marijuana in the Economy of California It has been predicted that if the government legalizes the drug, there will be a lot of changes pertaining to the demand for the drug in the market and as a result, there will be […]
  • Marijuana Legalization and Crime Rates The possible outcome of this effort will be the safe consumption of the drug, easy monitoring, and creation of awareness to the public on the dangers of excessive use of the drug and lastly the […]
  • Why Is Marijuana Legalized In Some States And Not Others? I consider the legalization of marijuana to be a positive step as its prohibition entails intrusion of personal freedom and just like any other substance it is only harmful when it is not taken in […]
  • The Reasons Why Marijuana Should be Made Legal Among the reasons that support the legalization of marijuana include: the medical basis that marijuana has some benefits and that the state could gain revenue from the trade of marijuana as opposed to the costs […]
  • Minor and Major Arguments on Legalization of Marijuana Premises 1: If marijuana were to be legalized it would be impossible to regulate its’ sell to, and use by the minors. Making marijuana illegal is denying them a right to the use of this […]
  • The Problem of Legalization of Marijuana and Hemp Many individuals tend to believe that the use of Marijuana is morally wrong as it alters the mental state of the user and leads to dangerous addictions and actions in the end.
  • The Moral and Ethical Reasons Why Marijuana should be legal It is my humble opinion that the billions of dollars being spent on the war against marijuana should be diverted to more useful projects like feeding the less fortunate in the society.
  • Reason Why Marijuana Should Be Legal 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.
  • Argument About Legalizing Marijuana in America Therefore, if at all the government of the United States is to prohibit the use of marijuana in the country, it should be ready to cater for the high costs that come in hand with […]
  • The Debates on the Legal Status of Marijuana This means that the use of marijuana encourages the consumption of other drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes. Additionally, the use of marijuana is associated with increase in crime and consumption of other illicit drugs.
  • Does Legalizing Marijuana Help or Harm the United States? The latter measure is not merely being advocated by the proponents of marijuana use since the legalization of marijuana has been supported by NAACP not because it fully backs the smoking of marijuana.
  • Issues with Marijuana Legalization in the United States This is the reason why the debate on the legalization of marijuana has been on the increase since the past 10 years.
  • Federal Government Should Not Legalize the Use of Marijuana On the other hand the use of marijuana actually increased in the country. It is not only the DEA or the federal government that is reluctant in the legalization of marijuana.
  • Legalization of Marijuana: Arguments For and Against It will therefore be difficult to regulate the use of marijuana among young people and other unauthorized people if it is legalized. It should be noted that marijuana has various negative effects to the health […]
  • A Case for Legalizing Marijuana Marijuana is one of the drugs that the government policy targets and as it currently stands, the government uses a lot of resources in prosecuting and punishing marijuana consumers through the legal system.
  • Arguments on Why Marijuana Should Be Illegalized The greater part of the population believes that the sustained use of this product is beneficial in numerous ways. Therefore, it is clear that the negative effects of the drug outdo the constructive ones.
  • Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized? The government should save that money it uses in prohibiting the use of marijuana as it has no proved harm to the users.
  • Should We Legalize Marijuana For Medical Use? In addition to that, the use of Marijuana especially by smoking either for medical reasons or to heal ailments, is a social activity that will help bring them together and improve their social ties.
  • Legalizing Marijuana: Arguments and Counter-Arguments On the other hand, many groups have outlined that the legalization of marijuana would lead to an increase in the rate of crime in addition to opening up of the gateway to the abuse of […]
  • Reasons for Legalization of Marijuana The legalization of the drug would bring to an end the discrimination of the African Americans in marijuana-related arrests, reduce the sales of the drug and its use among teenagers, encourage the development of hemp […]
  • Marijuana: The Issues of Legalization in the USA To understand all the possible effects of the marijuana legalization, it is necessary to pay attention to the definition and classification of the drug with references to determining the most important social and legal aspects […]
  • Supporting of Marijuana Legalization Among the Adult Population Proponents argue that legalization of marijuana will lead to increased revenues for the government amid economic challenges. Legalizing marijuana will not lead to cancer and deaths but will spark the debate for apparent effects of […]
  • Should Be It Legal to Sell the Marijuana in the United States? What I want to know is the reasons of why so many people use such serious psychoactive drug as marijuana of their own accord and do not want to pay special attention to their activities […]
  • How New York Would Benefit From Legalized Medical Marijuana The arrests resulting from possession of marijuana in New York is quite huge compared to those in California and New Jersey states in America.
  • Should Marijuana Be Legal? It is perhaps very essential to be acquainted with an account of laws that surround marijuana in order to understand the reasons why the drug ought to be legalized.
  • Debates Around Legalization of Medical Marijuana The supporters and opponents of the legalization of marijuana have opted to focus on either the positive or the negative aspects of the effects of the drug to support their views on policies to legalize […]
  • History and Effects of Legalization of Marijuana 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.
  • Legalizing Marijuana: Pros and Cons 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.
  • Public Safety and Marijuana Legalization Some of the states have failed to tax marijuana. Hence, it is difficult to get the precise figures in terms of tax values that states could collect from marijuana.
  • Marijuana Legalization in Illinois The case for legalization of marijuana in Colorado evidences the need to alter federal laws prohibiting marijuana for its legalization law to have both statutory and federal backing in the state of Illinois.
  • Concepts of Legalizing Marijuana Although in most cases, most individuals associate Marijuana with numerous health complications and social problems, for example, brain damage, and violent behavior hence, supporting its illegalization, such individuals take little consideration of its significance in […]
  • The Legalization of Marijuana: Regulation and Practice It is imperative to note that legalization of marijuana is a topic that has been quite controversial and has led to numerous discussions and disagreements.
  • Controversy Around Medical Marijuana Legalization The consideration of the problem of marijuana legalization from the perspective of public safety involves such points as crime rates and traffic accidents. The fact of economic benefits of the Cannabis legalization is also apparent: […]
  • Legal Marijuana Market Analysis and Taxes Impact Consequently, the primary goal of this paper is to understand the impact of taxes on the financial stability of the market for legal marijuana with the help of the law of supply and demand and […]
  • Medical Marijuana Legalization Rebuttal The claim of fact is that A.C.A.continues to be beneficial despite the arguments of Republican politicians and current challenges. The claim of policy is the appeal to Republicans and Democrats to work together on the […]
  • Medical Marijuana Legalization by National Football League However, it must be realized that some of these players are usually in excruciating pain to the point that some may have lost consciousness.
  • Legalization of Marijuana in the United States It should not be forgotten that it is a cause of numerous tragedies. Also, some studies show that the use of marijuana is especially dangerous for young people.
  • Marijuana Legalization in California The muscle relaxation effect of marijuana also appears to be a positive effect that should be used to argue for its legalization.
  • Marijuana Legalization in 5 Policy Frameworks The legalization of marijuana is still one of the debatable issues at the federal and state levels. For instance, the use of marijuana is prohibited at the federal level while the recreational and medical use […]
  • Marijuana Legalization and Its Benefits for Society The example of several states that have already introduced the appropriate law provides the ground for vigorous debates about the absence of the expected deterioration of the situation and emergence of multiple problems associated with […]
  • Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Marijuana legalization is a topic of social trends and beliefs that are based not only on health but political and economic factors as well.
  • Medical Marijuana: Legal and Research Concerns However, while the purpose of recreational marijuana is often disconnected from its long-term effects on people’s health in scholarly discussions, the use of medical marijuana is viewed from the point of patient’s health and the […]
  • Medical Marijuana Legalization Concerns This change raises political concerns and requires the government to review its economy to adapt to the use of MM. The representation of the legal process highlighted the history of previous legislations and reported on […]
  • Legalization of Medical Marijuana: Help or Harm? Nowadays, a majority of people worldwide support the legalization of marijuana, and it is possible to predict that this support will keep getting stronger in the future.
  • Marijuana Legalization and Consumption Among Youth The most popular excuse among drug consumers is the instrumental use of the drug. As long as the drug influence is undermined, the number of college students willing to experience the marijuana effects will be […]
  • Marijuana: To Legalize or Not to Legalize? Marijuana, which is also known under dozens of nicknames such as weed or pot, is now the most widespread illegal drug across the US. Moreover, the vast majority of marijuana abusers claim pot to be […]
  • Medical Marijuana: Pros of Legalizing It must be admitted that at the time of the passage of these laws, histories from some, but not all, heroin users indicated that the use of marijuana had preceded the use of heroin.
  • Logical Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana This will be a source of revenue to the government; when the revenues increase, it means that gross domestic product for the country increases. It will be a source of income not only to the […]
  • Arguments for Banning the Legalization of Marijuana Marijuana is a dangerous drug that should not be legalized even if it is in the context of it containing the medicinal value.
  • Marijuana Legalize: Advanatages and Disadvantages The truth that marijuana is illegal and prohibited is suitably caused by the number of funds invested in the war against drugs.
  • Ethical Perspective of the Legalization of Marijuana In spite of a popular view of the medical benefits of marijuana, doctors insist that the use of marijuana provides the same dangerous effect as other drugs.
  • Legalized Marijuana: Negative and Positive Sides The economy and finance from the very beginning were anticipating that this law will bring the largest income to the state’s budget and create plenty of job opportunities under the rule of law.
  • Marijuana Legalization: Chronic Seizure Treatment With that said, despite numerous states already having legalized one or both applications, the federal government remains opposed to either form of legalization, and marijuana possession and use remain federal offenses.
  • Legalization of Recreational Use of Marijuana The role of the Supreme Court in the specified case boils down to stating the conditions, in which the prescription and the following use of marijuana by the patient, can be deemed as legitimate.
  • Pros and Cons of Legalization of Medical Marijuana It is evident that medical treatment with the use of marijuana would be beneficial for both: patients and the government because of the opportunity to earn on taxation.
  • The Relationships Between Marijuana and the Legal System The most common ideas discussed within a framework of this debate are connected to the issues of permission to keep marijuana at home for personal needs such as medical needs, and a total ban on […]
  • Marijuana Legalization and Issues to Consider If marijuana is fully legalized, there might be a rise in use among youth, which is dangerous from the physiological point of view, and there will be no legal justification to end it.
  • Marijuana Legalization: Controversial Issue in Canada Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the cultivation and consumption of cannabis in 2018. Besides, the substance is addictive, and it is challenging to stop consuming it.
  • The Issue of Legalization of Marijuana The issue of the legalization of marijuana in the territory of the state is not unambiguous, therefore it is analyzed by a large number of specialists.
  • Analysis of Arguments: Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Pro Arguments: The majority of Americans agree on the necessity to legalize marijuana. This initiative is accompanied by concerns regarding the actual use of marijuana.
  • Political Opinion on Legalization of Marijuana On the other hand, the case introduces the man as a member of the Methodist Church, and this community is known for its strict opinion about marijuana as a gateway drug.
  • Analyzing Arguments Against Marijuana Legalization
  • America Requirements Medicinal Weed: Marijuana Legalization
  • Arguing for Medical Marijuana Legalization
  • Benefits Associated With Marijuana Legalization
  • Analysis of Marijuana Legalization in Canada
  • The Relationships Between Marijuana Legalization and the DEA
  • Governmental Regulation of the Marijuana Legalization
  • Exploring the Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization
  • Defining the First Steps Toward Marijuana Legalization
  • Going Green: Analyzing Marijuana Legalization
  • How Marijuana Legalization Will Affect Public Health
  • Debate on Whether It’s Time for Marijuana Legalization
  • Economic Benefits of Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization and How It Affects the GDP
  • Link Between Marijuana Legalization and National Debt
  • The Relationships Between Marijuana Legalization and Taxation
  • Marijuana Legalization: Arguments and Criticism
  • Benefits of Marijuana Legalization for Society
  • Marijuana Legalization: Cause and Effect
  • Benefits of Marijuana Legalization for Medical Purposes
  • Marijuana Legalization Could Lower Crime Rates
  • Social Issues Associated With Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization: The Reasons for Legalizing Marijuana and for Keeping It Illegal
  • Medical Marijuana Legalization and Controversy
  • The Link Between Modern Liberalism and Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization Could Reduce the Amount of Money the Government Spends on Prisons
  • Principles of State and Federal Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization: Good for the Nation?
  • Support for Marijuana Legalization Against First Age
  • Marijuana Legalization: Growing the Economy or Destroying Lives?
  • The Controversy Over Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization: Implications for Property or Casualty Insurance
  • The Cross-Border Spillover Effects of Recreational Marijuana Legalization
  • Marijuana Legalization: Should the Federal Government Legalize the Use of Marijuana?
  • The Debate Over the Controversial Subject of Marijuana Legalization in the U.S.
  • Marijuana Legalization: PREPARE and IMAGINE Models
  • Overview of Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative
  • Marijuana Legalization: Adverse Health Effects
  • The Problem of Marijuana Legalization and Criminalization
  • Analysis of Marijuana Legalization and Possible Effects
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  1. PDF Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and Its Impact on Economic

    still lacks data and empirical research of marijuana legalization. This thesis will provide an initial research to evaluate, if claims made by the supporters of marijuana legalization is true; that legalization will lead to positive economic factors, increasing employment and growing businesses within state borders

  2. PDF The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana National Bureau of

    1 1. Introduction Figure 1 shows the number of articles related to the public health consequences of legalizing marijuana appearing in economics journals and leading public policy, public health, and medical journals during the period 2013-2020. Only 4 articles on this topic were published in 2013.

  3. Risks and Benefits of Legalized Cannabis

    August 25, 2023 By Lindsay Smith Rogers Medicine Mental Health Substance Use Disorder Although the use and possession of cannabis is illegal under federal law, medicinal and recreational cannabis use has become increasingly widespread.

  4. Public Health Implications of Cannabis Legalization: An Exploration of

    1. Introduction Under federal law, the use of marijuana remains illegal. In spite of this federal legislation, as of 1 June 2021, 36 states, four territories and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws. There are 17 states, two territories and the District of Columbia that have also passed recreational marijuana laws.

  5. Cannabis Legalization In The US: Population Health Impacts

    Evidence is inconsistent and, in some cases, inconclusive regarding how recreational cannabis legalization affects outcomes significant to public health, including cannabis use, cannabis use...

  6. Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Legalization

    As shown in Figure 1, as of January 1, 2016, 21 states 1 have decriminalized certain marijuana possession offenses ( NCSL 2016a ), 26 states have legalized medical marijuana use, and another 16 states have adopted cannabidiol (CBD)-only laws ( NCSL 2016b) that protect only certain strains of marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.

  7. The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana

    The Public Health Effects of Legalizing Marijuana by D. Mark Anderson and Daniel I. Rees. Published in volume 61, issue 1, pages 86-143 of Journal of Economic Literature, March 2023, Abstract: Thirty-six states have legalized medical marijuana and 18 states have legalized the use of marijuana for re...

  8. Essays on Cannabis Legalization

    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.

  9. 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 ...

  10. PDF Thesis Marijuana Use Impacted by Legalization and Individual Factors

    THESIS MARIJUANA USE IMPACTED BY LEGALIZATION AND INDIVIDUAL FACTORS Master's Committee: Submitted by Jamie E. Parnes Department of Psychology In partial fulfillment of the requirements For the Degree of Master of Science Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado Summer 2016 Advisor: Bradley T. Conner

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

    (7.28 MB) posted on 2023-09-06, 19:01 authored by Noha Huwit 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.

  12. More Reasons States Should Not Legalize Marijuana:

    Legalizing recreational marijuana may have negative public health effects. Go to: Introduction Recent years have seen a cultural shift in attitudes towards marijuana. At the time of this writing, medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia; recreational marijuana is now legal in Washington and Colorado.

  13. (PDF) Legalization of Marijuana

    Legalization of Marijuana October 2018 Authors: Rameshwar Nath Bhardwaj George Brown College Preprints and early-stage research may not have been peer reviewed yet. Abstract and Figures Today's...

  14. Overwhelming support for legal recreational or medical marijuana in U.S

    Nearly two-thirds of conservative and moderate Democrats (63%) say marijuana should be legal for medical and recreational use. An overwhelming majority of liberal Democrats (84%) say the same. There also are racial and ethnic differences in views of legalizing marijuana. Roughly two-thirds of Black adults (68%) and six-in-ten White adults say ...

  15. PDF Marijuana Legalization

    Marijuana. Legalization. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 17 million Americans age 12 and older reporting past‐month use, and 374,000 people entering an emergency room annually with a primary marijuana problem.1 The downward trend in youth marijuana use during the late 1990s has ended.

  16. The Federal Status of Marijuana and the Expanding Policy Gap with States

    The rate of past-month marijuana use among youth (ages 12-17) initially declined during this time period—from 7.0% in 2008 to 6.5% in 2017 and 2018—before rising to 7.4% in 2019 and then dropping to 5.8% in 2021, while adult (ages 18 and older) use steadily increased—from 6.3% in 2008 to 13.7% in 2021.

  17. Five Reasons Why We Should Legalize Cannabis

    1. Legalization for the Environment Legalizing cannabis can have significant benefits for the environment. When cannabis is grown illegally, it is often done in environmentally damaging ways, such as using chemical pesticides or clearing primary forests to make room for crops.

  18. Thesis Statement

    Marijuana Legalization Thesis: Even though it is argued that marijuana contains economic value and medicinal benefits, marijuana should not be legalized recreationally in the United States as it encourages harmful habits, increases dependence and, risk of mental illnesses.

  19. Argumentative Essay On Marijuana Legalization

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

  20. (Pdf) Undergraduate Thesis: the Challenges to The Legalization of

    Archelle Yanoc Conchito Dominguito Joshua Jose Raniel Illustracion Abstract This study wants to determine and explore the legalization of cannabis and its challenges in achieving to Laws and...

  21. 103 Marijuana Legalization Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

    Minor and Major Arguments on Legalization of Marijuana. Premises 1: If marijuana were to be legalized it would be impossible to regulate its' sell to, and use by the minors. Making marijuana illegal is denying them a right to the use of this […] The Problem of Legalization of Marijuana and Hemp.

  22. Thesis statement for legalization of marijuana Free Essays

    Thesis on Legalization of Marijuana through the Legalization of Marijuana. Embracing cannabis for personal‚ medical‚ and industrial use will encourage economic growth and stability. The war on drugs in America consumes millions of dollars annually.