Marijuana should be legalized

Jessica Colwick, Herald Contributor

For the past decade, the legalization of marijuana has been a very controversial issue. We have come a long way since the issue was first brought up, with 29 states now having some form of a medical marijuana law and nine states with legal recreational use. In addition, according to a Gallup Poll, those in favor of the federal legalization of marijuana has gone from 12 percent in 1969 to 60 percent in 2016. This means that the majority of the U.S. population favors the federal legalization of marijuana.


It is my personal belief that marijuana should be legalized because we should be able to have the choice about what we put into our bodies without the government’s permission. In addition, many research studies have shown just how beneficial marijuana can be once you have passed the developmental stages of your life.


For example, according to Medical News Today, “last year, a large review from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine assessed more than 10,000 scientific studies on the medical benefits and adverse effects of marijuana. One area that the report looked closely at was the use of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain. Chronic pain is a leading cause of disability, affecting more than 25 million adults in the U.S. The review found that marijuana, or products containing cannabinoids — which are the active ingredients in marijuana, or other compounds that act on the same receptors in the brain as marijuana — are effective at relieving chronic pain.”

The most concerning reason marijuana should be legalized is that anti-marijuana laws target minorities, more specifically, African-Americans. Police data from October 2016 shows that black adults are more than four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white adults.

The only reason marijuana is illegal today is because of the War on Drugs, started by Richard Nixon in the ’70s. Even then, these laws were discriminatory and racially motivated.