By Stephen Ilardi
I’d hope by now that everyone is aware of the truth behind weed in the U.S. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also classified as a Schedule I drug within the Controlled Substances Act (alongside heroin, LSD, and mescaline). This essentially means that the government perceives marijuana as having no accepted medicinal value for any type of treatment for any disease or illness… which is complete bullshit. While there are some more recent studies that have found that weed could cause memory impairment after long-term daily use from teen years on, the fact that its highly researched and proven medicinal values are still being overlooked is ridiculous. Public opinion in support of legalizing marijuana has recently become the majority over those against legalization, but recreational use is still illegal in almost all U.S. states despite the huge lack of evidence necessary to claim that it’s seriously harming people (while legal tobacco and alcohol use continue to kill around half a million Americans each year).
Luckily for those of us who aren’t too stupid to realize that weed should be legal, some people in government are actually pushing for federal legalization, albeit medical. Senators Rand Paul, Kristen Gillibrand, and Cory Booker recently introduced a bill that would permit the use of medical marijuana at the federal level. While the bill wouldn’t permit recreational use, it’s definitely a step in the right direction especially considering that the only real progress towards legalization has come at the state level in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska where laws allowing recreational use have been passed. Any level of federal legalization of marijuana would be a big win for proponents of legalization since medically and recreationally legal states have had marijuana dispensaries interfered with (raided) by the federal government under the rationalization that marijuana was still federally illegal.
The illegality of such a relatively harmless drug pisses me off to no end, but what’s worse is how many taxpayer dollars (literally billions) are being wasted on funding marijuana arrests. Most of these arrests, which are also incredibly racially biased, aren’t targeting high-level drug dealers but are targeting those who are buying weed for recreational use with no intent to sell. In addition to our country’s ludicrous approach for dealing with marijuana arrests, around fifty percent of all drug arrests made in the U.S. are for marijuana. What the fuck?
In Colorado, where marijuana has been recreationally legal at the state level for a little over a year, there have been thousands of jobs created, lower crime rates, and over $70 million collected in tax revenue because of the legalization. I think it’s pretty clear to the majority of people living in the U.S. that federally legalizing marijuana would help out our country’s economy and lower crime rates in a very similar fashion to that of Colorado, but, most importantly, everyone would be able to enjoy a little green without having to worry!
Of course weed isn’t completely harmless and chronic abusers could potentially have negative side effects after many years of smoking, but seriously, alcohol? Tobacco? C’mon. The passing of the federal medical bill will do wonders for the legalization movement, and we should definitely see more states becoming medically and recreationally legal in the next year or so. Let’s just hope our federal government opens their eyes a little more and delivers what the majority of people want for the future of marijuana.