In the Jan. 14 edition of Everybody’s Column, a writer argued against the legalization of marijuana. In her argument, she implored readers to look at Newsweek and Healthline as evidence that legalization will lead to various health and societal concerns.
Pesticide use, an increase in gang related violence, chemical contamination of edibles, and the often touted “gateway drug” argument were presented as evidence opposing legalization.
A number of these points would need to be considered and addressed through regulation and government oversight should New York State legalize marijuana. However, our decision making should not be based on guttural reaction to anecdotal evidence nor on outdated opinions of drugs from the failed “War on Drugs” from the 1980s.
The Reason Foundation, a Libertarian think tank, recently published a brief in which it found evidence that the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana led to “drastic” reductions in crimes related to production and distribution of marijuana. When something is legalized, people tend not seek it out through illicit means. The courts would see less cases and convict less people to prison under mandatory sentencing policies of the Reagan era.
Also, there was a reduction of the use of illicit marijuana (K2 and Spice). Finally, there was also evidence that marijuana aids people kicking opioid addictions since it could serve as replacement pain reliever. As with any controversial policy, we must weigh both the positive and negatives of the argument. In the case of legalization, many of the negatives can be addressed through government oversight and teaching responsibility of use.
The positives would lead to a reduction of over policing and drain on taxpayers.