By Fahri Albardak ‘16
Questions are popping up throughout the state on the legalization of Cannabis for recreational use. Marijuana has been a huge controversial topic and is slowly being legalized for medical use by states around the country. The legalization of marijuana can be incredibly beneficial to the government and people with chronic illnesses.
Marijuana should be legalized for recreational use in all states. The ongoing tensions between legalization and keeping marijuana illegal should cease. There are already 24 states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, New York included. Two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Colorado and Washington. Slowly, the attitude toward marijuana is changing.
This past summer Governor Cuomo passed a law stating the people of New York can carry up to 2.5 grams of marijuana (about the size of an average thumb) and only receive a civil fine for their action. The previous law was jail time for possession of marijuana, which ruined many people’s applications when applying for jobs or colleges. This law gives off the impression that marijuana is now loosely looked upon. If the law is so loosely on it, why not just legalize it completely?
The legalization of marijuana can bring huge amounts of money to the government. The dispensaries in legalized states such as Colorado and Washington are taxed for the marijuana.
According to the state of Washington, after the first month of selling recreational marijuana, sales led to an income of nearly $3.8 million dollars, this being a system that wasn’t even fully established yet. Throughout the year of 2014, Colorado earned about $45.4 million dollars through tax revenue says the CO Department of Revenue. The drug has a tax rate of about 30 percent in Colorado and 44 percent in Washington, in a study conducted by the Tax Foundation. These are huge increases in state revenue. The profit states can make from legalizing marijuana is tremendous. If other states can make tax money off of selling recreational marijuana, why can’t New York?
The struggle to keep marijuana out of the hands of civilians is too much. Police throughout the city are on the hunt for criminals and a small plant shouldn’t get in their way of a bigger situation. It’s not worth the hassle, legalizing a substance also causes a drop in use publicly. This has gone on for years, especially after prohibition in the 1920s for alcohol.
People who don’t agree with legalizing marijuana often ask, wouldn’t it increase crime rates? Well, in recent studies conducted on Colorado by Mother Jones (a non-profit news organization), they discovered the crime rate and abuse rate of marijuana. With easy access to the drug, only 9% of residents in Colorado are regular pot users. If you have a fear about children getting it in their hands, just know that in 20 undercover spot checks, none have sold marijuana to children. The only downfall to this is that the legalization of marijuana increased smoking in public by 245 percent. These “tokers” seemed to get ahead of themselves and wanted to bring their joy outside.
The only question that’s left to be asked is what’s holding New York back? It’s only a matter of time before all the states give in and legalize the herb. With more research conducted on the plant than ever before, we know have more knowledge on the drug than we ever did. The times are changing and the state law should to. Release The Green!