Tom Angell Forbes explains that “Marijuana arrests made up 40.4% of the nation’s 1,632,921 drug arrests in 2017. There is now a drug bust every 19 seconds in the U.S.” This statistic along with many others are the reasons why the recreational use of marijuana should be legalized in Ohio. Unfortunately, the majority of these arrests are for minorities. More specifically African Americans who are 3.7 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession, according to a comprehensive 2013 report by the A.C.L.U.This leads to a constant cycle of incarceration and poverty in our minority communities and this needs to change. With legalizing marijuana the breaking of the constant cycle of incarceration will be achieved along with economic benefits, the decreasing of the opioid epidemic and the increase in jobs will be present.
As previously mentioned, the economic benefits will be present this is shown by the taxes that will be implemented on the substance and not having to pay for incarceration. The evidence that marijuana tax will play a big part in the local economy is from Mrinalini Krishna Investopedia who sights a report from Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research stating that the legal cannabis industry has contributed more than $58 million to the local economy, primarily through taxes and other fees. While observing from the state level it is shown that Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees on recreational marijuana. With the population of Colorado at only 5.61 million compared to the 11.66 million of Ohio, these economic statistics become more substantial leading to a higher amount of tax revenue brought into the state and having the funds diverted to public needs and other resources that benefit the state. While on the local level the economic boost could be an incentive to grow and improve the city or area with the economic revenue. The local economic revenue is very useful seeing how specifically in downtown Cleveland need refurbishing to bring those areas out of the dilapidated state and appearance and the local economic revenue could be a major place where the funding for improvement of downtown comes for. Which would make downtown Cleveland an even bigger hotspot in turn leading to more economic revenue to the local economy. The other way that the legalization of recreational use of marijuana in Ohio benefits the economy is taxpayers not having to pay for as many incarcerated. Evidence supporting the claim of taxpayers not having to pay for as many incarcerated comes from Melissa Kearney Brookings Institution explains that “On average, it costs over $29,000 each year to house an inmate in federal prison. In total, the United States spent over $80 billion on corrections expenditures, with over 90 percent of these expenditures coming from state and local levels.” This ties into my previous statistic and focuses the scope on Ohio which according to Rachel Blevins Mint Press News “Ohio where an average of over 20,000 people are arrested.” The total cost of the incarcerated in Ohio is $580,000,000 a year. The taxpayers of Ohio would see great change in the taxes that they have to pay, with not having to pay for as many incarcerated. The money that the taxpayers will be saving would go directly back into boosting the economy.
What also would come to fruition if marijuana was legalized is the decreasing of the opioid epidemic. Evidence supporting the claim that the opioid epidemic will decrease is from Tom Angell Forbe which explains that “researchers, from the University of California San Diego and Weill Cornell Medical write that calculating the cost of opioid pain drugs that patients would have otherwise purchased, the study estimated that medical cannabis legalization in states that have so far adopted it saves the federal government $7.46 million in annual Medicaid spending. Add to that an additional $6.54 million in savings for states.[I]f all the states had legalized medical cannabis by 2014, Medicaid annual spending on opioid prescriptions would be reduced by 17.8 million dollars.”. With Ohio at the heart of the opioid epidemic, it would make perfect sense to legalize marijuana, it would decrease the use of the highly addictive opioids for prescriptions. limiting the chance that a person who is not addicted to opioids would become addicted seeing how they would not have access to opioids, but instead using marijuana as their substance for pain reducers and relievers. Reduced use of opioids would also benefit the state economically. That is because the study cites other states where marijuana has been implemented for medical and recreational use the states save on the Medicaid spending which is a service which the government provides which needs money so it taxes the US citizens to have the funds to run Medicaid. With the state of Ohio cutting back on opioid use it would lessen the amount that Medicaid needs to spend to provide the opioids, which would, in turn, lower the tax on the citizens of the United States because less and less of the country would be using the Medicaid system.
The final benefit that comes with the legalization of marijuana is the increase in jobs. The supporting evidence for this comes from Katie Zezima Washington Post explains that “New Frontier’s report predicting the impact of federally legal marijuana suggests that nationwide legalization could generate 1.1 million jobs by 2025. These jobs would likely come from the quickly growing industry which would spring up across the nation. Workers would be needed to farm, process, distribute, and sell marijuana-based products.”. The increase of jobs is important, it leads to a boost in the economy in two ways possibly three and even though this stat is predicting the number of jobs across the nation, the number of jobs possibly in Ohio is unknown but is still likely to be high. The first way it boosts or increases is in that the jobs will be providing a product that other citizens will be able to purchase the product which will have a sales tax going to the government. The second way in which the economy will be boosted from these jobs is the workers themselves and it comes in two forms. One is the workers earning money in which they can buy products with that are taxed giving more money to the government which improves our lives and the taxes that Americans do every year in which they give a bigger part of their yearly earnings to the government which again improves our services provided by the government. Lastly it will grow the economy by marketing it and selling it overseas or across the nation where then more taxes will be collected on the substance and more jobs will be needed like drivers or if the market becomes big enough captains of ships to transport across the ocean or even just regular people who see the demand for marijuana jump into the market, which would lead to more marijuana growth and more tax revenue for the state and national government.
The term gateway drug has been associated with marijuana since the war on drugs started in 1971 and is the main argument on why marijuana should be illegal. The argument is, once someone uses marijuana it will lead to the use of harder drugs like heroin, cocaine and crack. The argument is flawed and should not be taken as the end all be all of the arguments against marijuana. Evidence supporting that flaws are in the gateway drug theory comes from Amanda Mull The Atlantic who explains “Michael Vanyukov, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. Vanyukov is a proponent of an alternate theory of substance abuse known as the common-liability theory. It holds that substance use and eventual abuse is best predicted through a particular person’s biological mechanisms of reward. How your brain dopaminergic system responds to stimuli determines whether you’re likely to progress to abuse of hard drugs, not whether you smoked weed as a teen.” People who first started to use marijuana have a chance to do harder drugs it is not an exact science, so basing a whole theory that states those who use marijuana will become users of other substances when it more directly connects to what your genetics are. A broad covering spectrum cannot be applied to this theory when it truly comes down to genetics whether someone will use hard drugs in the future. So when the opposition is thinking that when marijuana is legalized the whole state of Ohio will turn into heroin addicts is fundamentally flawed for two reasons, like previously stated it comes down to genetics and those who would be doing harder drugs after the use of marijuana would still be doing those harder drugs sooner or later and whether or not marijuana is legalized.
The debate about whether marijuana should be legalized should be looked at from a different view, a view that has taken the biases out of the decision. For myself, I have never used marijuana before and do not plan to use it but over my two years in speech and debate I have researched this topic many a time and have seen both sides of the argument and what they each respectively bring to the table. For the extensive research on both sides, I am a proponent for marijuana legalization in Ohio. I stand on the side of legalization for the reasons listed above in the paper and for one more point. Where we should stand on this topic should go to the side that is not based on theories on what could happen but on the side that has evidence that is looking at areas in the United States that also have legalized marijuana and seen the pros and cons of it. I have done this and looking at states who have legalized marijuana I see the pros greatly outweighing the cons.
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