By Noah Cagle
In the United States, drugs are undoubtedly a popular issue and according to CDC.gov, drugs killed a little over 47,000 people in 2014. Although those numbers caused a tragic year in 2014, there is one drug that is still highly misrepresented in society, and without much reason either. Marijuana is classified as a schedule one drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Other schedule one drugs include heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD for short, and ecstasy.
Although marijuana is classified along two incredibly dangerous drugs, the reason is not exactly clear. Unlike many pharmaceuticals, the death toll of marijuana overdoses remains at zero. 29 states have legalized marijuana in some form. States such as California, Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Other states like Ohio, Michigan and Illinois have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. The overwhelming amount of marijuana arrests also continue to feed the country’s prison overcrowding issue, while the black market thrives off of marijuana prohibition.
Marijuana can offer treatment for medical problems in many people. In states where medical marijuana is legal, doctors may prescribe marijuana to treat muscle spasms, seizure disorders, and Crohn’s disease. The FDA has also approved THC, the ingredient in marijuana that produces a “high”, to be used to treat nausea and poor appetite.
Overdosing on marijuana is practically impossible. Studies have shown that in order to overdose on marijuana you would need to consume fifteen hundred pounds of marijuana which, according to Business Insider, is physically impossible. With that ratio, anybody who attempts to overdose would probably die from lack of oxygen before they died of a marijuana overdose. Marijuana overdose rates continue to remain at zero.
Decriminalizing marijuana can lead to a drastic decrease in drug arrests. According to ACLU.org, more than half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana. Legalizing marijuana could help ease the current prison overcrowding problem in the United States. Also as a result, less people will be ruining their lives by having a schedule one drug arrest on their record.
Some may argue that legalizing marijuana could fuel America’s black market. That’s only possible when there’s only certain states with legal marijuana. If we legalize marijuana federally, marijuana traffickers will be forced out of business in the United States.
Marijuana needs to be legalized federally for medical purposes, if not recreationally. Prohibition on marijuana is ridiculous considering nobody has ever died from a marijuana overdose. Legalizing marijuana could be the key to lowering prison overcrowding rates, as well as destroying the marijuana side of the black market. In my opinion, marijuana needs to be legalized federally.