The legalization of marijuana has been and continues to be one of the most controversial topics in the United States. Some states have already proposed and passed the recreational use of marijuana such as Colorado and Washington, and other states, including Arizona, are following in their footsteps. Considering that Proposition 205 will be on the ballot for November 8th, it is important for people to be educated and have knowledge on what exactly legalization means for Arizona. By being educated, people can accurately vote on what they feel is best for our states needs.
If passed, Proposition 205 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana, as well as institute regulations to ensure that marijuana use would not grow out of hand. Similar to alcohol laws, recreational use would only be permitted to adults 21 and older, meaning children and teens cannot use it. “It allows adults to grow up to six marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked space within their residences and possess the marijuana produced by those plants in the location where it was grown,” (Prop. 205 | YES on 205: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona). A person is limited to carrying up to one ounce in which they can only consume in a private setting. Medical marijuana laws will remain the same, so the new recreational use laws will not effect the laws already in place. Along with that, the tax on medical marijuana will also remain the same. If the proposition is passed, there will be a 15 percent tax on all marijuana sales that will fund regulation enforcement, as well as splitting the revenue “40% to the Department of Education for school construction, maintenance, and operating costs; 40% to the Department of Education for full-day kindergarten programs; and 20% to the Department of Health Services for public education regarding the relative harms of alcohol, marijuana, and other substances,” (Prop. 205 | YES on 205: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona).
When making a decision that will have a major effect on society, it is important to look at and understand both sides of the argument. On the reasons why marijuana should not be legalized, much of the focus goes towards Colorado and the negative impact it has had on the state. In just the three short years that marijuana has been legalized, “marijuana-related deaths have increased 48 percent,” (Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth). Also, youth use of marijuana has increased as much as 20 percent, and there has been more children being born with THC in their system. According to the website called “no prop 205” they claim that homelessness, crime, and drug cartel activity have all increased. Many people have a fear that Proposition 205 will allow the production of edibles that have no THC limit, and that children can get ahold of these which could be harmful to them. Among the major issues happening in Colorado, motor vehicle accidents in relation to marijuana seem to be a popular trend. Whether it was accidents involving marijuana use or DUI’s, it all comes back to driving while being under the influence of marijuana, and this seems to be the number one problem that Colorado has had since legalizing marijuana.
On the flip side, there has been a positive impact in Colorado as well, although it is not talked about as commonly as the negatives. Now, while some websites claim that there was an overall increase of violence and crime after the legalization of marijuana, others, like the Uniform Crime Reporting data specific to Denver, claim there was an overall 10 percent decrease. Over the past year, Colorado has brought in over 60 million dollars in tax revenue, in which they have used this money for schools and campaigns about substance abuse. Overall, Colorado’s economy has been thriving, “the demand for commercial real estate has increased drastically, with houses in the state appreciating up to 8.7 percent in the past year alone,” (7 Ways Marijuana Legalization Has Already Benefited Colorado in Only 8 Months). People have fear that it with legalization, children will have easier access. Marijuana, just like any other substance, is easy to get your hands on whether it is illegal or not, if a minor wants it, they will find a way to get it. The consequences for possession of marijuana are very harsh, and when these people get sent to jail, it is using resources and money for something that should be a minor defense. Lastly, by legalizing, marijuana will be grown by licensed growers, insuring that the person buying the product is getting exactly what they are purchasing, which is safer. When buying marijuana from drug dealer, it is not only dangerous because of the people, but also, it is not knowing exactly what is in it, it could be marijuana laced with another drug like cocaine.
Marijuana is classified as a level 1 substance, which is on the same level as hard drugs like cocaine and heroine. Marijuana has numerous positives and uses when used in an appropriate way. Medical marijuana helps so many people with various illnesses such as stress, anxiety, pain, cancer, even Parkinson’s disease. Alcohol and tobacco are legal substances that have proven to be harmful and even fatal, while marijuana has never had a harmful effect on anyone. For the upcoming ballot, it is important for people to understand exactly what Proposition 205 means for our state and the impact it could potentially have, both positive and negative.
“7 Ways Marijuana Legalization Has Already Benefited Colorado in Only 8 Months.” Collective Evolution. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
“Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth.” Pediatrics 113.6 (2004): 1825-826. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
“Legalizing Marijuana Would Have Many Positive Effects.” Marijuana. Ed. Noël Merino. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. 93-97. Introducing Issues with Opposing Viewpoints. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
“New Schools, Less Crime: Colorado Sees Benefits Of Marijuana Legalization.” MintPress News. N.p., 19 Aug. 2015. Web. http://www.mintpressnews.com/new-schools-less-crime-colorado-sees-benefits-of-marijuana-legalization/208751/>.
“Marijuana Should Be Legal.” Drugs. Ed. Peggy Daniels Becker. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. 44-50. Issues That Concern You. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Oct. 2016.
“Prop. 205 | YES on 205: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona.” Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. https://www.regulatemarijuanainarizona.org/prop205/>.
“Reasons Why We Oppose Prop 205 | No on Prop 205 – Keep Arizona Drug Free.” No on Prop 205 Keep Arizona Drug Free. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016. https://noprop205.com/about/