Always a polarizing issue with heat coming from either end, the legalization of recreational marijuana is slowly becoming a more common reality in the United States. Here are a couple arguments both sides can shout about:
Pro: Less Reliance On Illegal Drug Trade
Organized crime revolving around the drug trade has shed plenty of blood and ruined far too many lives to make it worth keeping a drug less harmful than legal alcohol off the shelves.
Con: Government Taxes On Your Weed
Forget “friend discounts” and being able to play one dealer off the other in terms of price. The government will have all weed sales under its thumb and the cumulative taxes for regular users will add up to that one fine you got from carrying a dime bag when you were fifteen.
Pro: No More Sketchy Drug Dealers Ripping You Off
On the other hand, legal weed sellers will not be able to take one look at you and peg you as someone who will happily purchase $60 worth of oregano.
Con: No More Friendly, Neighborhood Drug Dealer
He also probably serves as a pretty cheap therapist and will provide you with a steady relationship in times when all of your other friends are too busy to chat.
Pro: Rightful Recognition That Weed Is Not More Harmful Than Alcohol
Finally the brainwashing that stemmed from propaganda in the thirties and culminated in Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign will have been abandoned for the common sense notion that weed is way less bad for your body than a product so common as to account for over $400 billion of the United States’ yearly economic activity (you guessed it: alcohol).
Con: Wrongful Idea That Weed Is Totally Good For You
However, making recreational pot legal may provide a false idea that it has no negative consequences on your mind and body. The myth of the jobless hippie burnout will get pretty real if you, for example, go see lots of Grateful Dead cover bands.
Pro: Loosening Of Marijuana Laws
In Utah, you face up to six months of jail time for simply possessing less than an ounce of weed, not to mention the $1,000 fine. Couldn’t the legal system’s time and money be better served elsewhere, like on violent criminals and human trafficking, for example?
Con: It Won’t Be As Fun When It’s Legal
Let’s face it, part of why you lit up in your parents’ garage during high school was for the thrill of doing something that could get you busted by the cops. The legalization of recreational pot will be like when you turned twenty-one and getting into a bar stopped being an accomplishment and started getting a bit depressing.
Pro: No More Bullshitting On Medical Conditions
If you have “anxiety and headaches” that require marijuana for proper treatment, you discredit all of the people going through chemo who actually need weed so as not to vomit up their food. With legal recreational pot, you don’t have to pretend your headaches are a special problem anymore.
Con: You Can’t Make Medical Excuses To Your Judgmental Friends Regarding Your Pot Use
Since you’ll no longer need that card certifying your medical requirement for marijuana, those friends who “live above the influence” might turn their noses up even higher at your decision to partake. Eh, fuck ‘em.
Pro: It Will Demystify The Drug For Kids
No longer the “forbidden fruit” of intoxicating substances, legal weed will no longer captivate your children into thinking how cool it would be to get their hands on some chronic.
Con: The Classic “Gateway Drug” Argument
The opposite side of this coin is that weed will become too available to kids, leading to a Reefer Madness style descent into depravity and inevitable heroin use.
Pro: Less Blood In Third World Countries
The ground level of the illegal drug trade tends to be the messiest and most dangerous, especially in third world countries.
Con: Less Money For Lots Of People With Few Other Options for Income
Part of the appeal of an illegal trade is the lack of regulation and the resulting ability to profit in a…less traditional manner. Though arguably not the best way for people to make their living, the illegal drug trade does realistically keep a lot of people who have few other options for employment economically afloat.
Pro: Getting To Make Your Own Choices Pertaining To Your Body
This is America! We’re supposed to be free to decide for ourselves whether a joint before bed will be worth the potential cons of ingesting a drug. Who cares about so-called lack of ambition and potential lung cancer—we chose not to pursue a high-powered career or live to the age of ninety-five!
Con: Getting To Make Your Own Choices Pertaining To Your Body
Unfortunately, drug education is not equal in all parts of this country. Some may fall into habitual marijuana use without knowing the potential negatives, thinking it’s all good because it’s legal. However, these people will exist with or without the legalization of non-medical marijuana.