OPINION: Recreational Marijuana Legalization Is Not A Smart Move For Our Country
In recent years, many U.S. states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana in their community.
Some voted in hopes of boosting their local economy while others were more concerned about their emotional state. Although the health benefits of medical marijuana have been demonstrated in numerous studies, the benefits of recreational use appear to be more economic.
Many believe that the taxes from marijuana purchases have been successful with helping their local economy in many different ways. For example, Colorado proposed their recreational marijuana ballot in 2012 with the plan to put the tax money earned towards school construction in the state.
Yes, this may be a great plan at face value, but many Colorado citizens beg to differ the government’s promises. Many small towns in this state have only one school, if that. Even though new schools were promised, many towns have yet to see any change in their community. Some propositions were successful, though, and people have seen the difference. An example of a positive impact caused by the increase in taxes is the increase in high school scholarships given to students in states that legalized marijuana in some form, according to Forbes.
“Pueblo (a small town in Colorado) has made headlines for its scholarships that are funded by a local marijuana excise tax. Last year, the county dedicated $420,000 to scholarships for 210 students. This year, the county is set to triple the number of scholarships it offers as tax collections are expected to top $750,000, reports KOAA.(courtesy of Forbes.)”
Although many states have improved their education system as a means of enticing voters, marijuana is definitely not the most efficient manner to earn money in this way. While the law states that you must be 21 years or older to possess recreational marijuana, a big risk of the marijuana industry is the possibility of underage citizens being able to obtain the drug.
THC, the primary psychoactive part in marijuana, is naturally produced in the human body. While most adult’s brains are developed enough to handle the extra doses of THC, children’s and teenager’s brains are far too underdeveloped to handle the “high” that comes with smoking cannabis. The “high” is caused by the reaction of the extra THC in the body triggering a release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical (healthline.com).
An overload of this chemical on a developing brain can be catastrophic to one’s health in the long run, and there has been a spike in young adults regularly using cannabis. In 2015, it was reported that “more than 11 million young adults ages 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse) It is proven that teenagers who smoke marijuana in high school are less likely to graduate and seven times as likely to commit suicide, according to a study conducted by The Lancet Psychiatry.
By this standard, how can our students succeed educationally when the majority of them can’t even focus? And with Canada making the decision to legalize recreational use in their nation, will there soon be more tension growing between Canada and the U.S.? Will Canada’s economy begin to rise even further, and will their educational system flop?
Only time (and our government) will tell.
Taylor Filler is a Lead Contributor for theDailyLead.