OPED: Cannabis Legalization Is About More Than Smoking Weed for America

Dmytro Tyshchenko / shutterstock.com
Dmytro Tyshchenko / shutterstock.com

For decades now, most conservatives and even a few liberals have of the mindset that smoking marijuana was the worst thing a person could do. It was the gateway to abusing other drugs and destroying your life. Parents prayed their kids would never discover such a plant. The lessons of Reefer Madness had poisoned their well-being and commonsense.

While some of it had a point, anything can be used and abused. Even caffeine or chocolate can be used the wrong way, and problems can occur. However, much the same, with legalization comes the same kind of normalization that caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol or tobacco have. By gaining this, a new journal study from the American Medical Association shows that it’s not the spike many feared.

In places with legalization enacted, there was an initial uptick in youngsters who didn’t use it before, but it quickly settled back out. There was no rise in consequences from that trial either. In essence, the Madness of the film proved to be lacking; only Reefer remained. This study simply proves a point; this is the “Green New Deal” the GOP should be pushing for.

Comprised of a six-person research team, those who used before legalization eventually aged out, and those who started afterward kept a somewhat elevated stance but less than the decrease. They also caution about the amount of information currently available through proper studies.

“In all jurisdictions where cannabis legalization takes place, a key concern has been that cannabis use and related harms would increase among youths and young adults due to easier access, growing social acceptability, declining perception of harm, lower prices, a wider array of products and modes of use, and increasing product potency,” they go on to admit that youngsters are at the highest risk of cannabis use disorder. Statistically, this is also when people are begun to show symptoms. They continue, “there have been few longitudinal studies examining the impact of legalization, which represents a substantial research gap.”

Legalization could help fill in this gap and give longer information. But it does something much more than just providing data by doing something. It also gives conservatives the ability to help control the cards. By buying in earlier, we can help dictate how the program is run. This means setting proper taxation and governance. Establishing a regulatory framework that makes sense.

The liberals would look at it, and while they may balk at a first pass, they’ll quickly be forced to come around. There isn’t much choice, and by getting on board with us they’ll feel as if they won by getting out of the shadows and having banking and other regulatory efforts open to them.

Getting into legalization means the generation of entirely new industries in the US. Given the abundance of cash crops in the US, adding in cannabis would be a gold mine. While hemp hasn’t caught on the way many expected it to, it has made a significant change in the economy in many hard-hit markets. With federal and state laws often conflicting, legalizing cannabis and, as a byproduct, more hemp, the number of farmers willing to make the change should skyrocket.

With the minimal testing that has been done on the legalization change in the long run, the issues simply don’t exist the way they do with prohibition. “Rather than detecting increases, the results revealed decreases overall, which is broadly consistent with substance use trajectories that might be expected among this age group in the absence of any policy change. Correspondingly, the changes observed in this study did not appear to be markedly changed by cannabis legalization.”

This kind of change is something many don’t expect, but it only serves to underscore the need for change. As Americans, or time to return to our roots of crops when we first started to advance the US. Hemp and cannabis were parts of the founding father’s crops. Original documents like the Declaration of Independence are written on paper made from hemp fibers. Getting back to this kind of cash crop can return the nation to prosperity.

Meeting with the liberals in this area makes it easier to get them to the table with others. This isn’t them winning or the conservatives giving quarter. Instead, we are finding common ground and making it meet up on our terms. It’s a win-win for everybody involved.