Should Marijuana be Illegal or Legal in the United States?

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In 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64 becoming the first state in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana use. As of 2018, twenty-nine states and the District of Colombia, have passed similar legislation (Felix 1). A lot of criticism comes from the idea of legalizing marijuana such as crime will shoot up, marijuana is a gate way drug etc. However, looking at the facts, one can clearly see that a lot of good can come from legalizing recreational use of marijuana throughout the United States and that not all the criticisms are true. The impacts of legalizing marijuana for recreational use would be greatly beneficial for the United States. It would provide jobs for thousands of people, be a source of taxable revenue, and statistically speaking, it will lower crime rates.

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The number of jobs that would come from legalizing recreational use of marijuana throughout the United States would be very significant. Although the exact numbers of jobs in the industry is unavailable, the Colorado Department of Revenue provides data on the number of licensures in the sector. Felix states that, “more than 38,000 individuals and 1,637 business owners were issued licenses in March 2018” (9). Knowing this, legalizing marijuana would benefit local businesses, as well as, giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to start new businesses. It would also create jobs in horticulture. In addition to creating jobs in the marijuana industry following legalization, sectors that support the marijuana industry will have job openings as well. When it comes to the jobs the industry will help create Nunley states that, “in a 2016 report from the Marijuana Policy Group shows that jobs created include security guards, construction and HVAC specialist, consulting, legal etc.” (20). Furthermore, it is unlikely that the jobs created in this industry would destroy other jobs.

Recreational marijuana has proven to be a huge taxable revenue source in Colorado since its legalization. Awad says that, “the recreational marijuana tax rate has increased from 10 to 15 percent in 2017” (4). The sales in marijuana have increased substantially, “from around $683.5 million in 2014 to $1.28 billion in the first 10 months of 2018” (Nunley 6). With this increase in sales, comes an increase in tax revenue. Colorado is putting those funds to good use in the education and public health system, infrastructure and development, law enforcement agencies, and substance abuse programs. For example, “Aurora has used the revenue to help combat homelessness by creating The Aurora Day Center” (Awad 8). Given that the marijuana industry is still very young and is growing exponentially, the sales and taxable revenue are always increasing. With this, legalizing marijuana in the United States would give each state the ability to put money into the state itself to help improve its communities.

One of the criticisms that come with legalizing marijuana, is that crime rates will skyrocket. Crime is everywhere, regardless of marijuana being legal. Legalizing marijuana in Colorado showed that the number of marijuana related crimes went down. Nunley states that, “in 2018 a 56 percent drop in marijuana related arrest were reported from the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice Office of Research and Statistics” (26). Based on this study, one would assume legalizing marijuana would drop crime relates related to it. Furthermore, changing state laws would help keep non-violent offenders from potentially being mixed up with violent criminals, if they were to be arrested and placed in jail or even prison.

There are so many benefits that come from legalizing marijuana throughout the United States. The amount of jobs it would provide not only within the industry but also within the industries that support it. The fact that it would be taxable revenue, gives each state the ability to use those funds how they see fit. Lastly, legalizing marijuana will lower crime rates related to its industry, which would stop major/minor offenses from something that is a huge part of our society. With all this to consider, the fact that the United States has not taken advantage of this booming industry like it should is quite shocking.

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Should Marijuana be Illegal or Legal in The United States?. (2022, Sep 29). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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