Right now, in most states, the only place to buy marijuana is from a drug dealer. This is the only reason that people, specifically teenagers, experience the phenomenon known as a "gateway drug". Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the ‘Reefer Madness’ images of murder, rape and suicide.
Prohibition is both unsuccessful and expensive.Our police devote thousands of hours to arresting, booking and imprisoning marijuana smokers, many of whom are otherwise law-abiding. The most unfortunate of these arrestees have spent over a decade in prison, in some cases for nothing more than possession of cannabis for personal use. Each year, enforcing laws on possession costs more than $3.6 billion. One of the strangest aspects of the war on drugs is how completely it has failed at reducing drug use, despite costing over $51 billion annually. After three decades, criminalization has not affected general usage; about 30 million Americans use marijuana every year.
It isn't keeping anyone any safer either 90% of those serving time for marijuana possession with no prior record are not guilty of committing any subsequent crimes. Only 3.1% of them ever commit a violent crime
Marijuana has many legitimate medical uses that go way beyond getting "high". It can be used to treat glaucoma, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, cancer (both by stopping the spread and in some cases reversing the effects), hiv, anxiety, Alzheimer's, Multiple sclerosis, hepatitis c, inflammatory bowel disease, Arthritis, metabolic disorders, Lupus, crohns disease, Parkinson's, stroke, PTSD, and many other medical problems. Research of its effects is currently limited so just imagine what medical advancements we could make with open research and development.
Legalization will not lead to increased use. In fact it will help us better regulate the substance. There is reason even for people who oppose the use of marijuana to support its legalization: legal substances can be controlled in ways illegal ones cannot. Experience speaks for itself. Mandatory underage drinking laws and effective marketing campaigns have reduced underage alcohol use to 24.8 percent in 2011, compared with 33.4 percent in 1991. Cigarette use among high school students is at its lowest point ever, largely thanks to tobacco taxes and growing municipal smoking limits. There is already some early evidence that regulation would also help combat teen marijuana use, which fell after Colorado began broadly regulating medical marijuana in 2010.
Marijuana is less addictive than tobacco or alcohol, and compares favorably to those drugs on nearly every health metric. The evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. It's effects are mostly euphoric and mild, whereas alcohol turns some drinkers into barroom brawlers, domestic abusers or maniacs behind the wheel. The very heaviest users can experience symptoms of bronchitis, such as wheezing and coughing, but moderate smoking poses little risk. A 2012 study found that smoking a joint a day for seven years was not associated with adverse effects on pulmonary function. Experts say that marijuana increases the heart rate and the volume of blood pumped by the heart, but that poses a risk mostly to older users who already have cardiac or other health problems.
Cannabis sales could be a great source of revenue for the US government. Just like medicines and other goods, legalization of marijuana can substantially rake huge amount of profits, which we badly need in these economic times. In the first six months of 2014, Colorado alone has pulled in more than $25 million dollar pot-related tax revenue, and the state expects the value to triple in the middle of 2015. Just think about how much money the country will make if the entire U.S. legalized the use of marijuana? According to the latest analysis by the NerdWallet, if all 50 states legalized marijuana today, the country could gain over $3 billion in tax revenue.
Legalization would lead to more jobs. A report from the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) indicates that an estimate of 10,000 new jobs have been created in Colorado since recreational marijuana sales began. If the entire U.S. will legalize marijuana, it will certainly create if not millions, at least hundreds of thousands of legitimate jobs.