Marijuana should remain illegal

By Josh Haywood

Contributing Writer

Marijuana is–and should remain–illegal for all Americans, except for those who use it medicinally. I stand firmly behind this belief, as I just do not feel that we, as a society, need another drug on our retail shelves. Tobacco and alcohol are bad enough; I do not see the purpose in legalizing marijuana. I recognize that it has never killed anyone or promoted cancer growth, but people are just going to keep on using and growing the plant anyway, no matter the legality. What is the point in changing its legal status? The only thing I would change is to decriminalize the substance so if you are caught with possession, all you face is confiscation and a fine based upon the amount you have. This punishment would save tax dollars when it comes to enforcement.

To those who believe marijuana will stimulate the economy: you are wrong. Any tax revenue will be counteracted by the cost of industry regulation. Marijuana will have to meet certain quality standards. Any plant that does not meet these standards is a waste of money in terms of water, food, land, workers, electricity, screening the plant for contaminants and the technology needed to check for certain standards, such as THC concentration. The list goes on and on because you are going to need to add the cost to regulate the substance either through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives or the Food and Drug Administration, which means opening up a new division in one of the organizations and paying each agent’s salary. On top of this is the cost to revolutionize laws: making sure underage sales do not occur and establishing drug influenced driving laws and technology to enforce that law. Employers are still going to have to pay for pre-employment drug tests, as I suspect a majority would still do drug screens. This will counteract legalization from the economic standpoint because people who would otherwise buy it will choose not to out of fear of employer-mandated drug tests.

As for medical marijuana, I believe the drug should be rescheduled to a Schedule II substance so it can be researched and used medicinally. Medical marijuana proves beneficial in cancer patients going through chemotherapy not only by counteracting nausea, but also stimulating their suppressed appetite and thus, extending their lives. It also serves as a better means to suppress pain without as many side effects in individuals with debilitating injuries. If the United States were to allow for medicinal marijuana, I would want a tighter set of restrictions on who can receive it and how easy it would be to get the prescription. I feel as if the situation in California is out of control as people continuously fake symptoms just to get a medicinal card. This needs to be stopped because all it does is make it harder for people who are actually ill to be aided.

There is a time and place for everything, and that place is college. We are all going to be entering the job market soon and need to be focusing on our careers and life goals. Marijuana gets in the way of this by clouding the mind. Marijuana legalization provides nothing for this country other than furthering the perception that the United States is a nation of drug users.

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