Canada announced plans to legalize the recreational use of marijuana by July 2018, proving again they are the U.S.’s cool next-door neighbor.
The move to legalize the recreational use of pot fulfills one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises. While medicinal marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, this would be an unprecedented move for a large, industrialized country. It’s also something the U.S. should consider.
Even if «But Canada is doing it» isn’t a good enough reason to throw your support behind the legalization push in the U.S., there are plenty of other compelling cases to make for legalized recreational pot.
1. For one, more than half of Americans support legalization.
A 2016 Pew Research study found that 57% of U.S. adults (and rising) believe marijuana should be made legal. 37% believe it should be illegal.
2. The idea that pot is a «gateway drug» is not entirely accurate.
It’s not actually a gateway drug, at least in the way your D.A.R.E. classes suggested. Yes, regular users are more likely to try other drugs, such as cocaine, than those who don’t smoke marijuana, but there’s not a whole lot of evidence that it’s because of pot.
3. Enforcing marijuana-related violations is expensive, and resources could be better used elsewhere.
According to a 2016 report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, almost 600,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in the U.S. Add on the costs of keeping people behind bars and the court system, and it’s clear this is a mess.
4. Legalization would add tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy overnight.
A 2010 CNBC article pinned estimates at a somewhat vague figure of anywhere between $10 billion and $120 billion per year. That’s some serious cash, which leads to the next point…
5. There’s a whole lot of tax revenue to be made off legalized marijuana, and there are a lot of government programs that could use the extra cash.
From July 2014 to June 2015, Colorado generated nearly $70 million in taxes from legalized marijuana. The next year, the state brought in around $200 million in taxes.
6. Test cases in states like Colorado and Washington show that it doesn’t actually cause an increase in crime.
While Denver has experienced a slight uptick in crime in recent years, there’s nothing to suggest that it’s due to the state’s marijuana legalization, with «marijuana-related» crimes making up less than 1% of all offenses.
7. It’s less dangerous than a lot of other things that are legal, so hey, why not?
Excessive alcohol use is responsible for an estimated 88,000 deaths each year. Cigarettes are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths annually. Prescription drug overdoses make up another 25,000 deaths. But marijuana? There’s not a single reported case of someone overdosing on marijuana, and indirect effects (it can impair your ability to drive, for example) can be avoided.
8. And speaking of those other drugs, many are a lot more addictive.
Cigarettes, opioids, alcohol, and caffeine are all more addictive than marijuana. While some people report getting «addicted» to marijuana, 91% of those who have used it do not.
9. And finally, the continued «war on drugs» directly and indirectly leads to thousands of deaths in the U.S. and Mexico each year at the hands of violent cartels.
Legalizing marijuana could take power away from violent drug cartels, reduce illegal border crossings, and save countless lives.
Only time will tell if the U.S. follows in the footsteps of our neighbors from the north, but hey, there’s a bunch of reasons why we probably should.
Here’s what social networks say about this:
Mark Linkiewicz Maybe it’s because Big Pharma doesn’t have half of the Canadian parliament in its back pocket. That’s the only reason marijuana is still illegal here: It would cut into pharmaceutical corporation profits. If you’re smoking more weed, you’re using less Prozac, Ativan, and OxyContin. The only way weed will ever be legal in this country is if Big Pharma can find a way to grow it in secret and sell it to us themselves.
Warren Galloway It’s not the plant that is bad, it is when people lace it with mysterious unknown and deadly other chemicals.
Like alcohol and date rape drugs or power drinks stuffed with meds.
Robert Gardiner I’m just wondering if Trudud…and his «handler» Soro’s figure that by legalizing pot that Canadians will be so high that when his ISIS buddies waltz in to take control they won’t have the common sense to resist? Just wondering mind you.
Lauren Lavorando Justin Trudeau is a babe On another note, the border up north is going to be tearing everyone’s car apart. This might make the US seriously consider doing the same. It will be almost impossible to keep everyone from bringing it back from CA.
Shamal Phillip Gotta love this guy and his amazing country the UK strives to be like this but our alliance ties and out position and relation with america forever dragging us into more war. Rising tensions between north korea china and russia and america. Meanwhile Canada leagalizing marijuana gotta love them lmao
Eric Vogel Good luck with that, the US is all about taking twenty steps backwards on every issue these days.