Saturday, May 9, 2009
Will Legalizing Marijuana Help the Economy?
The debate is on! Much like the legalization of alcohol boosted the economy in the late 1930's, various groups are looking seriously at legalizing marijuana to boost the economic crisis of today.
What are the pros? What are the cons?
The pros are that, indeed, there is money to be made for the federal and state governments if marijuana is legalized and taxed. In fact, big money.
However, one element that is being clearly ignored is the issue of substance abuse directly related to marijuana use.
"Marijuana side effects wreak havoc on the brain when the drug is used habitually. The natural chemical balance of the brain is disrupted affecting the pleasure centers and regulatory systems. The ability to learn, remember and adapt quickly to changes is impaired by marijuana use. Depression often occurs with marijuana usage, which feeds into the cycle of more drug use to treat the pain created by drug use. This cycle of addiction is very powerful and users soon find that they cannot stop using the drug even if they want to."
So, perhaps the legalization and taxation of marijuana would stimulate the economy, but so do cigarettes, alcohol and prescription pain medication, all of which have caused huge negative consequences.
As a country, we need to really think this one through. Is it worth it? Is it best for our nation's youth in the long run? What are we communicating to our children... that for a price, we are willing to sacrifice their future?
More often than not, even when the direct of effects of marijuana use do not result in negative consequences, it can easily be labeled as a "gateway drug". Numerous recovering addicts have pegged their initial innocent use of pot to lead to more dangerous and more addictive drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and the list goes on.
Marijuana... at least it's not crack. Or is it?