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Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legalized In Texas? (Essay Sample)


the task was to one side on the legalization of recreational marijuana and defend it

Should Recreational Marijuana Be Legalized In Texas?
The legislature in Texas improved marijuana laws in its 84th session in response to the movement that was pushing for improved marijuana laws. The legislature prepared five bills aimed at lowering the penalties for marijuana possession, and one of the bills was meant to completely make marijuana legal for adults ((Marijuana Police Project para. 1; Ko para. 5). In addition to the five bills, four more bills were prepared to enable patients to legally access medical marijuana. A bill that allow the use of medical marijuana in Texas on a limited basis has already been signed into law, but the bill is likely to be useless if significant changes are not made (Marijuana Police Project para. 1). This paper is going to explore whether recreational marijuana should be legalized in Texas.
Those supporting legalization of recreational marijuana have argued that legalizing marijuana will bring several social benefits to the society. For instance, legalizing marijuana implies that the government will have the ability to regulate the market, collect revenue in forms of tax, and very few people will be caught in the violence that characterize drug wars, and the injustices inherent to the legal system(Graham para. 2-4). If legalizing recreational marijuana would have a slight negative effect on public health, so be it, according to proponents. Legalizing recreational marijuana has become a popular subject in today’s debates especially after states such as Washington and Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use (Graham para. 2-4).
It is projected that more states are likely to follow the examples of Washington and Colorado. This is evident in the survey done by the Pew Research Center from 2009 to 2013, which found that 40 states had already implemented some kind of mechanism to relax their laws on drugs (Graham para. 2-4). For instance, Washington DC and 23 other states already allow some kind of recreational marijuana use and for medical reasons, which makes marijuana use in these states partially legal. Studies have shown that apart from the fact that the negative effects of recreational marijuana use are tolerable, more evidence is showing that marijuana use may be good for public health. For example, it is projected recreational marijuana use may replace the use of hard drugs or alcohol (Graham para. 2-4).
Some recent studies on recreational marijuana use and public health have found that decriminalizing marijuana lowers traffic accidents, deaths, and even suicide rates. Nevertheless, even with evidence showing that legalizing recreational marijuana use has a positive effect, very few elected states officials have are willing to publicly support legislations on marijuana (McBride para. 5-8). It has been have noted that in secrecy few officials at the state level are willing to publicly support bills on marijuana use. The push to legalize recreational marijuana use in Texas has also been supported by the fact that revenues from oil are declining dramatically, and the financial difficulties may act as a push for legislators who are reluctant to legalize marijuana (McBride para. 5-8).
Johnathan Singer, a state representative from Colorado has argued that marijuana should be legalized and subjected to taxation like alcohol, and Texas should follow the example of Colorado. The state of Colorado collected 66 million from marijuana taxes in 2016, and this means that the state is receiving more tax revenue from marijuana than alcohol (McBride para. 5-8). Those opposing the legalization of marijuana for recreational use have argued that legalizing marijuana will make it accessible to adolescents like tobacco and alcohol, which are two legal drugs for adults, but illegal for those under the ages of 18 and 21 years respectively. Opponents states that legalizing marijuana will make adolescents to perceive it to be safe. However, studies on the same in state that have decriminalized marijuana have found mixed result with some indicating that the use among adolescents went up after decriminalization, while others found no difference (Hendricks, Abassi and Aslinia 2-3).
Studies done in the Netherlands in 2004 have shown that legalization of recreational marijuana use caused an increase in marijuana use among individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 years. Ironically, the use of recreational marijuana also went up in the U.S in the same period despite the fact that marijuana is illegal (Hendricks, Abassi and Aslinia 2-3). In Norway that prohibit marijuana use like the U.S studies have found that marijuana use either remained steady or decreased during the same period. Some opponents of recreational marijuana use have argued that the public is not fully aware of the health problems marijuana causes (Hendricks, Abassi and Aslinia 3).
Some opponents of marijuana have stated that marijuana can cause addiction, lower intelligence; interfere with the ability to drive, and trigger mental disorders and anxiety. However, proponents of recreational marijuana use have challenged these claims by stating that legislation against marijuana use and not marijuana itself is the main cause of the problems linked to the recreational use (Hendricks, Abassi and Aslinia 2- 3). For example, before marijuana was decriminalized in the state of Washington, 241,000 people had been incarcerated on charges related to marijuana possession, and this caused the taxpayer 300 million dollars. An economist from Harvard has projected that if the U.S legalized recreational marijuana use, the country would benefit by saving approximately 8 billion dollars it spends on law enforcement, and six billion dollars would be generated in tax revenue (Hendricks, Abassi and Aslinia 3).
Proponents of recreational marijuana use also consider its practical benefits to support their position. According to the proponents, recreational marijuana use should be legalized because it has medical benefits (Drug Policy Alliance para. 4-7). For example, marijuana has been used to treat conditions such as vomiting, nausea and glaucoma. The laws proposed to decriminalize marijuana use in Texas dealt with different aspects of marijuana use, for instance, legalizing it for minimal medical use, allowing possession, and fully decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana among adults (Drug Policy Alliance para. 4-7).
Some veterans have requested the Texas government to consider the possibility of decriminalizing marijuana for use in the treatment of PTSD, which is chronic illness that a significant number of veterans face. However, Republican legislators refused to incorporate an amendment that would authorize studies on the use of marijuana to treat PTSD (McBride para. 13). Legalizing recreational marijuana use will also create jobs in Texas and save money that can be used to ensure public safety. Legalization will also ensure consumer safety because testing will be mandatory, meaning that consumers will receive firsthand information on the safety and risks of the marijuana they are using (Drug Policy Alliance para. 4-7).
In an article posted in the New Yorker in January, President Obama who has been vocal about his own marijuana use in the past stated that he does not think that the use of marijuana is more harmful than alcohol. The president’s opinion was in line with what most of the people in the U.S think because a survey done by the Pew Research Center found that majority of American believes that alcohol is more harmful than marijuana. In addition, studies have shown that recreational marijuana use is more likely to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs, especially painkillers whose overdose is responsible for many deaths. One study has suggested that allowing recreational use of marijuana lowers the use of heroin (Drug Policy Alliance para. 4-7).
The legalization of recreational marijuana use is also supported by studies that have found alcohol is four times more addictive than marijuana, and ten time more likely to cause violent behavior compared to marijuana. In addition, some recent studies have found that suicide rates in states that had legalized recreational marijuana use among men between the ages of 20 and 30 something years dropped (Graham para. 10-12).
Some proponents of recreational marijuana use have argued that the drug should be legalized because even the DEA’s efforts to take the drug off the streets have not materialized because more and more people are using the drug. Legalizing marijuana will enable regulation and taxation, and this will keep ille...
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