Reasons Why Medical Marijuana Should Be 100% Legal in the US
Medical marijuana has been shown in many studies to offer a multitude of positive benefits for individuals suffering from various medical conditions. The legalization of medical marijuana would make it more accessible to those in need and reduce the unnecessary and often negative consequences that come with the illegal status in some states.
As of January 2023, there are 6 states in the US that do not allow any form of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Those states include Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wyoming. Of the remaining, 7 states only allow CBD oil to be used for medicinal purposes. The other states all have their own laws regarding how cannabis can be used for medicine, recreation and other activities.
One of the strongest arguments for legalizing medical marijuana is its ability to provide relief for chronic pain. Studies have shown that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. Many of the published articles show that neuropathic pain management is very effective with cannabis treatments. Neuropathy issues are often caused by nerve damage and can include patients suffering from diabetes, cancer, HIV, traumatic accidents and autoimmune disorders.
If legalized, medicinal marijuana would help decrease the dependence on opioid painkillers, which are highly addictive and have caused a significant increase in overdose deaths in the United States in the past few years. The CDC has estimated that over 70,000 people die each year from synthetic opioid overdoses in the US, with the latest data available from 2021.
Additionally, medical marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is particularly helpful for veterans who are at a higher risk of developing PTSD. Per the National Veterans Association, more than 6,000 American veterans commit suicide each year suffering with PTSD. There is certainly a case to be made that medical marijuana could help reduce this number and save more lives of our veteran soldiers.
Medical marijuana can also serve as a substitute for traditional medications, which often have severe side effects. For instance, medical marijuana can be a safer alternative to opioids for pain relief as it is non-addictive and has a lower risk of overdose. It can also replace anti-anxiety medications, as it does not cause the same level of drowsiness or cognitive impairment.
For some medical conditions, medical marijuana has been shown to be a treatment option. For example, medical marijuana has been found to reduce seizures in patients with epilepsy, lower intraocular pressure in patients with glaucoma, and decrease nausea and vomiting in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The legalization of medical marijuana would also bring economic benefits. It would create new job opportunities in industries such as cannabis cultivation and retail. It would also generate revenue through taxes and fees, which could be used to fund public health and safety programs. Colorado was the first state to truly push marijuana to be 100% legal and the following year they saw a 4.4% increase in state-wide GDP. That equated to roughly $135 million in tax revenue from the sale of recreational cannabis. It’s currently estimated that all US states with fully legal cannabis laws generate $3.7 billion in additional tax revenue combined.
Another reason to legalize medical marijuana is to reduce the consequences of its current illegal status. The criminalization of marijuana has resulted in a disproportionate number of arrests and incarceration of minorities, causing harm to communities of color. Legalizing medical marijuana would reduce the number of arrests and incarceration related to marijuana possession, positively impacting affected communities.
In addition to the many reasons already listed, the legalization of medical marijuana would reduce the risks associated with the black-market sales of cannabis. Currently, people using marijuana for medical purposes may have to purchase it from unregulated sources. This puts these patients at a higher risk of exposure to contaminated cannabis product. Legalizing medical marijuana would ensure that everything is fully lab-tested and safe, and therefore reduce the risk associated with bad batches, contaminations and harm to patients.
In conclusion, medical marijuana offers a wide range of benefits for those suffering from medical conditions. Its legalization would make it more accessible and reduce the negative consequences of its current illegal status. It can provide relief for chronic pain, alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions, and serve as a safer alternative to traditional medications. It can also treat some medical conditions and bring economic benefits. The legalization of medical marijuana could even have a positive impact on communities impacted by the war on drugs and reduce the risks associated with the black market.