2 Sides to Every Story—the Marijuana Legalization Debate: Part II

shutterstock_339169301We’ve all heard the saying that there are two sides to every story. This is definitely true for the marijuana legalization debate. Both sides—supporters and opponents—are extremely passionate about their cause. While more people are beginning to support marijuana legalization, there are still many states where medical marijuana, let alone recreational marijuana use, is still illegal. Why does cannabis have so many critics?

Why Marijuana Legalization Has Such Passionate Supporters

Before we consider what critics of marijuana legalization have to say, let’s review why there are so many ardent supporters. The main reason for support is the numerous health benefits. People experiencing debilitating and even deadly diseases can find relief from their symptoms. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease patients have found significant improvements in some of the issues they have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that these people and their loved ones are so zealous about this cause.

The 2 Sides of the Marijuana Legalization Debate

Discovering why many support marijuana legalization has some questioning why anyone would ever oppose it. Again, it is important to look at both sides of the debate. Here are what the critics have to say about marijuana legalization.

Why Some Oppose Legalization: Marijuana cultivation, processing, distribution and use are illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Staunch opponents of marijuana use and legalization not only think marijuana should remain illegal, they don’t think cannabis laws should be relaxed in any way. The DEA views marijuana as a schedule I drug, meaning it has a very high potential to be abused. Critics also state that the medical benefits promoted by supporters aren’t backed by sound medical science. In fact, one group adamantly opposed to marijuana legalization called CALM (citizens against legalizing marijuana) states that in 2006 the FDA found scientific evidence that it is actually harmful to users. CALM, and many others who oppose marijuana legalization, consider cannabis detrimental to young people and to the health and safety of the public. One major reason for such fervent opposition is the fact that some people who partake in marijuana will at times operate a motor vehicle afterwards. Cannabis relaxes the muscles, slowing a person’s response rate, contributing to automobile accidents, which sometimes result in innocent lives being lost.

Marijuana Use and Distribution—Still Illegal in Many Places

At this time, it is perfectly legal to purchase marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington and the District of Columbia. Other states are poised to join the marijuana legalization bandwagon. However, there are still many states where marijuana use and distribution is illegal. If you are found with the drug, you could be arrested and convicted of a drug crime, possibly resulting in jail time. It is important to talk with a criminal defense attorney right away if you’ve been arrested for such a crime. Your attorney may be able to help you get a reduced charge and/or sentence. If you find yourself in this situation, call the law office of John C. Fitzpatrick to discuss your options.