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Related Categories: U.S. | Drug War
Decriminalization of marijuana
by Jennifer Sanchez
Monday Dec 6th, 2021 5:18 PM
A look at the ways in which legalization of marijuana has benefited states across the country. Criminalization of marijuana has refrained people from discovering the potential it has in a medicinal sense and economic.
Inhale and exhale, it’s that easy however, some just want to make it difficult! The topic of marijuana has been addressed a great deal over the last several years, especially given the fact that over time, recreational marijuana use has become legal in states such as Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and of course, our trendsetting state of California. It is no doubt that recreational marijuana discussions are filled with points both on the pro recreational marijuana stance and against marijuana, but I will discuss how the benefits of the legalization of recreational marijuana outweigh the stigmas surrounded around marijuana and how it benefits a state economically, the community, what states have done to ensure public safety with marijuana becoming legal .

A state that has had recreational marijuana legal for over five years is the state of Colorado which voted for the use and decriminalization of marijuana back in 2012 and has seen positive economic growth ever since. According to a news report written by Melissa Chapaska in 2018 regarding “The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety” releasing its first comprehensive report on the impact of state marijuana legalization, it shows that total revenue from taxes, licenses, and fees increased over +266% – from $67,594,325 in 2014 to $ 247,368,474 in 2017 and they indeed stated that this revenue increase was driven by the sales taxes, excise taxes, licenses, and fees for retail marijuana(Chapaska 2018). The report then showed that millions of the revenue was used for school construction funds and states general public fund as well as additional revenue was used to fund drug impairment training programs for law enforcement, so not only did the legalization of marijuana allow a state to use the revenue for schooling and education, but this state is managing this law and acknowledging the impairment marijuana can cause if used irresponsibly and provided training to ensure public safety.

The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Public Safety comprehensive report broken down by Chapaska also stated that “legalizing recreational marijuana actually reduced the use of marijuana within the youth, and that the use of marijuana between high school students decreased”(Chapaska 2018).Also the amount of juvenile arrests lowered by 16% from 2012 to 2017 because of zero tolerance policies passed in school which ensures the safety of the youth.

States have benefited in making recreational marijuana legal, therefore it is important that we push for states to decriminalize and acknowledge all that marijuana revenue can benefit, despite the negative stigmas that society has manipulated us regarding the use of it. In hopes that this op-ed has enlightened, let appreciate all the recreational marijuana has to offer whether it be positive economic growth or medical use.









Sources:
CannabisLawPA, M. (2018, November 02). Colorado's Public Safety Report Shows Positive Effects of Marijuana Legalization. Retrieved from https://cannabislawpa.com/colorados-first-public-safety-report-shows-positive-effects-of-marijuana-legalization/







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