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Marijuana Legalization Will Produce Public Health Benefits

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marijuana alcohol accidents drivingIt’s no secret that marijuana reform is sweeping the nation, with several states working to legalize marijuana. The top four for 2014 are Rhode Island, Oregon, Alaska, and Missouri. Colorado and Washington of course have already legalized marijuana. There are many other states that are aiming for 2016. By 2020, who knows how many states will have legal marijuana? Many people are predicting federal legalization by 2020.

One of the strongest arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana is that it will reduce alcohol consumption, which considering marijuana is safer than alcohol, it would be a good thing if that were to happen. Alcohol abuse increases domestic violence, car crashes, and health problems. Marijuana on the other hand does not lead to increased crime, lowers the rate of car crashes compared to alcohol, and has many health benefits.

Don’t take my word for it. Forbes posted an article yesterday discussing the public health benefits that will accompany marijuana legalization. It was reviewing a research project that I referenced earlier this week in which professors from the University of Colorado and Montana State University looked at the benefits of marijuana legalization. The research project was critical of Washington’s Pot Czar Michael Kleiman’s ‘worst case scenario’ prediction that was based more on reefer madness than it was on actual fact. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Anderson and Rees note that UCLA drug policy expert Mark Kleiman, who co-wrote Marijuana Legalization and has been advising Washington’s cannabis regulators, recently described a worst-case scenario for legalization featuring an increase in heavy drinking, “carnage on our highways,” and a “massive” increase in marijuana consumption among teenagers. “Kleiman’s worst-case scenario is possible, but not likely,” they conclude. “Based on existing empirical evidence, we expect that the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington will lead to increased marijuana consumption coupled with decreased alcohol consumption. As a consequence, these states will experience a reduction in the social harms resulting from alcohol use.

The sky will not fall when marijuana legalization is implemented in Colorado, Washington, and beyond. There will definitely not be an increase in heavy drinking, there will not be ‘carnage on our highways’, and teenage marijuana use will remain the same or drop. America will be a much better place, so LEGALIZE IT!

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