The legalization of marijuana in the United States is no longer a new social or legal issue. Since the 1930s, federal legislation has decelerated the sale, use, as well as the distribution of Marijuana. Currently as contained in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, cannabis is listed as a schedule 1 drug, a designation that is reserved for substances that have a high potential for abuse and can not be prescribed of lack medical value. Nevertheless, some current empirical studies have shown that there are various medical uses of marijuana, particularly when it comes to individuals suffering from chronic diseases, such as cancer as well as HIV/Aids. Subsequently, at the state level, there exist various directives within the law conserving the medical use of marijuana. Currently, thirty states and Washington, DC have different approaches to the law that permit the legal use of marijuana. Conversely, only eleven states have legalized the recreational use of the drug. It should be taken to account that despite federal law stance on marijuana, the Food and Drug Administration has documented proof of the medical benefit of marijuana.
Even through the legalization of marijuana is proving beneficial in many states, the federal government is reluctant in initiating policies that would make its use legal throughout the country and political factors have played a big role in maintaining the status quo. For instance, the majority of the Republicans and senior citizens have always had reservations on the legalization of marijuana. Thus, any efforts to enact marijuana legalization policies often attract great criticism. Besides, marijuana is not yet a political game-changer, with many Americans being ready to vote for candidates even if they did not declare their stand on the issue of marijuana legalization. Thus, politicians are never concerned about their relevance for their views on marijuana. Equally important, there is also the fear of the unknown concerning legalization, especially with regard to the implications on the adolescents and other aspects such as driving under the influence. Possibly, all these factors explain why marijuana is still a Schedule I drug making it illegal.
Wisconsin should legalize marijuana for various reasons, one of them being its utilization for medical purposes. Various studies have indicated that marijuana can be used in treating various diseases including glaucoma and various types of cancer. For many years, there have been attempts to legalize marijuana in the state on the basis of medicinal arguments, but unfortunately little progress has been made. Because of its medical benefits, many states have already legalized marijuana as a solution to some of the complex diseases such as cancer. In total, 29 states have already allowed the consumption of marijuana for medical reasons. At the federal level, the FDA has already approved medical marijuana on the basis of the numerous studies it has carried out to establish the benefits as well as risks of possible marijuana medication. Based on the findings of the FDA, it is logical the Wisconsin legalizes marijuana in the state. In November of 2018, the State of Wisconsin held a referendum and although the results of the elections showed that majority of the residents favor the legalization of Marijuana some issues need to be discussed to determine whether the benefits of the drug exceed its drawbacks.
The legalization of marijuana in the United States is no longer a new social or legal issue. Currently, there is a growing population in the U.S. who strongly believe that Marijuana should be legal, at the very least for medical purposes. Notably, a variety of researches have shown that marijuana is less dangerous as compared to alcohol and it may be a solution to the opioid addiction problem that currently exists in the nation. According to (Crowley), the U.S’s opioid epidemic as of 2015 was estimated to take the lives of about over half-a-million Americans a figure that was averaged at 91 people a day (P.np). Additionally, in Wisconsin, the rate of deaths caused by opioid overdose shot from 5.9 per 100,000 residents to 10.7 deaths per 100,000 between 2006 and 2015 (Crowley). One of the primary reasons individuals become addicted to opioids is that they serve as pain relievers. However, they are highly addictive when abused. Marijuana serves the same purpose when used medical and yet its rate of addiction is lower than that of opioids. The legalization of marijuana may help reduce such a catastrophe that threatens the future of the state hence lawmakers should consider doing so.
One of the primary issues that face the legalization of marijuana is the legal age concept. It is clear that most teenagers and young adults have limited self-control when it comes to drug use hence are easily influenced by their peers when it comes to substance indulgence and abuse. Curiosity at a young age may be an asset as well as a liability to a person below the age of 22 years either with school, health, as well as the law (behaving under the influence). Milwaukee, Dane, La Crosse as well as Rock counties in Wisconsin presented their constituent voters with a chance to present their opinions regarding legalizing personal or recreational use of weed for adults aged 21 years and older to have a better perspective on the issue (Riccioli, p.np). The results indicated that all the aforementioned counties overwhelmingly approved the recreational use of the drug for adults. Additionally, the proposed minimum age was placed at 21 years considering the implications on life of the adolescents, crime rates in the society, and possibly homelessness are some of the issues that might arise from marijuana legalization. Whereas these concerns might be valid, studies from the states that have already legalized the drug are yet to reveal any positive relationship between the drug and abuse among adolescents, crime growth, or increased cases of homelessness. Thus, the arguments against marijuana legalization do not hold any significant weight.
Another issue that has been highlighted as a challenge in the legalization of marijuana concerns the situation on the roads. It has been established that alcohol plays a significant role in road accidents (Riccioli). A risk of the same nature exists when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. Undoubtedly, a driver’s ability to be responsible on the roads is reduced when driving under the influence of drugs. For example, an individual’s ability to react swiftly reduces thus reduces the ability to prevent an avoidable accident. With this in mind, there is a need for Wisconsin to come up with regulations that will aid in avoiding such an issue. Therefore, although legalization should be an imminent decision, there is a need for time for authorities to enact the necessary regulations.
Legalization of marijuana in Wisconsin will contribute to the growth of its economy. From an economic point of view, legalizing the drug will raise a significant amount of revenue for the state government. Based on the data from states that have already legalized marijuana, it has been observed that the drug is important source tax revenue from those who cultivate it and those who sell it in the open market. In addition, it would also act as a source of employment opportunities for the unemployed people in the state. Similarly, billions of dollars would be saved in terms of law-enforcement costs. Currently, Wisconsin incurs a considerable amount of money by funding law-enforcement on illegal marijuana trade.
Over the years, many states within America have legalized marijuana for medical as well as personal or recreational use. The major concerns regarding the legalization of the drug are minimum age limits as well as public endangerment, such as driving under the influence. The State of Wisconsin’s referendum covered these aspects, and evidently, a majority of the constitutes feel that it is time to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purpose and personal use for individuals above the age of 21 years old. The 21st century is an age of medical breakthroughs and social clarity, the use of cannabis in Wisconsin will do more good than evil particularly when it comes to the growing opioid addiction epidemic.
Behm, Don. “Marijuana referendums: What Wisconsin Voters Need to Know About November Ballot Issues.” Journal Sentinel online. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/10/08/voters-guide-voting-marijuana-referendums-nov-6-ballots/1435857002/
Crowley, David. “Crowley: Legalize Marijuana to Combat the Growing Opioid Epidemic.” Journal Sentinel online. https://www.jsonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/07/16/crowley-legalize-marijuana-combat-growing-opioid-epidemic/479735001/
Riccioli, Jim. “Should Medical Marijuana Use Be Legalized In Wisconsin? Waukesha Voters Will Be Asked For Input in Advisory November Referendum.” Journal Sentinel Online. https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/waukesha/news/waukesha/2018/08/10/waukesha-put-medical-marijuana-question-voters-november/930355002/