It was not very long ago that the difference in opinion between those that believed Marijuana should be legalized and those that did not was purely academic. Politicians seemed to not recognize the problems with the war on drugs in general nor any difference between weed and other illicit drugs. The idea that a short time would see that change would have been laughable in many circles.
That progress of time as indeed brought a degree of change that surprises most, including those who worked to bring about the changes. A broader look at history is a clear warning, however, that not all change is good, making it worthwhile to ask whether the argument against the legal marijuana industry retains any weight now that actual information can be openly obtained.
One of the key points made by those against legalization, and one that worked for a great many years, maintains that weed is a ?gateway drug.? In theory, while the effects of weed itself may not be detrimental, or at least not so bad that anyone should go to jail over it, it led a person to those other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, that few would ever argue were anything but damaging. Thus, the use of marijuana should be penalized as a deterrent. There are two major issues, however, with this stance. First, objective studies of the death penalty, as well as general studies to determine effective methods to inspire behavior change, show that threat only affects change for a brief amount of time. Second, even before scientists were able to openly study this concept, plenty of people experimented with the plant, including a large number of politicians. They had overwhelming anecdotal evidence that the ?gateway drug? idea had no truth to it. Similarly, there is no proof that starting a medical marijuana business would then lead people to sell heroin.
The other primary pillar to the antipot argument held that the rampant use of this plant would have widespread negative effects on society, primarily centered on the crime rate. This point hardly needs to be examined once it has been established that marijuana is only a gateway to snack foods, but shall be analyzed anyway to be fair. Unfortunately, a cursory glance on Colorado since the legal marijuana industry became available to every adult shows no merit to the argument. Not only has it not raised the rate of crime, the financial windfall Colorado has experienced as a result is nothing short of astounding. This has led other states to consider doing the same, even those without existing laws allowing medical marijuana. Witnessing the success of Colorado simply leads to more success as people look for ways to invest in the cannabis industry as a result.
The objections to the legal marijuana industry have no merit behind them at this time. Further scientific study may certainly bring forth new evidence that changes that verdict, but the existing evidence does not. Marijuana use should then be a matter for the individual to decide, not the government.
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