In a country where the Chicago Cubs can win the World Series and Donald Trump can become President of the United States, it is safe to say that anything can happen. With people in the country hungry for change, Tuesday, Nov. 8 saw the recreational use of marijuana legalized in California, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Prior to this election, the drug had only been approved for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. It is no wonder that the legalization of marijuana continues to expand to more states, as a Gallup poll taken back in October found nationwide support for legalizing marijuana was at an all-time high of 60 percent.
New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari wants to introduce a legalization bill for the drug in hopes that the future governor will sign it into law. Other lawmakers in the state believe that legalizing the drug would increase revenue and job creation.
I think that marijuana should be legalized for recreational use, but its legalization and use must be handled with extreme caution and care.
Supporters of legal marijuana believe that it will help make things easier in their seemingly endless war on drugs. They believe that legalizing the drug will lead to a decrease in the amount of arrests and convictions made each year over drug-related crimes. While legalizing marijuana would lead to less arrests and give the government one less drug to worry about fighting, it would become an issue if someone acted recklessly because they were under the influence of marijuana.
If marijuana was to be legalized for recreational use, it should be treated like alcohol. If an individual abuses the drug and ends up in an impaired state or harms others, there absolutely needs to be consequences. Much like drunk driving, if someone is buzzed and gets into an accident, that person should still go to jail and face charges for their actions.
Being a responsible user of recreational marijuana means you are not causing yourself or anyone else harm, and individuals who can be responsible users should have no problem with being able to possess the drug.
Now, just to avoid confusing some people, many additional states outside of the aforementioned seven have legalized marijuana to some capacity, usually just for medical purposes as prescribed by a doctor. I feel that having a license is still the right way to go when it comes to publicly verifying a marijuana prescription. If marijuana were to be legalized and sold as a drug in a pharmacy, it should still be mandated that every person who possesses the drug have a valid license on them. The purpose of this is to show that you have a medically justified reason for using marijuana and that you are not using the drug simply to get high.
No one should be using medically prescribed drugs for the purpose of getting high, but it is just an unfortunate reality that many people do so anyway. So we must understand that, while legalizing marijuana does have its benefits, it still has the potential to be detrimental to someone’s health and mental well-being.
Some will argue that there is statistic proof of marijuana being one of the least deadly drugs a person can take, but we must remember that it is still a substance that can be abused.
Drugs like cocaine and heroin should not be used by someone for any reason, but I feel that marijuana can be made a legalized drug, as long as people purchase it for the proper reasons and are responsible with how they use it. Times are changing; whether for better or for worse has yet to be seen. We must remember that progress can be made with anything, as long as it is done for intelligent and productive purposes.