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5 Surprising Benefits Of Legalizing Marijuana

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

Prohibition has done nothing but closed the doors to billions of dollars in revenue, and encouraged racist policies. It’s high time we legalize marijuana federally.

This article originally appeared on Cannabis.net and has been reposted with permission.

Legalizing marijuana is one of the best things we can do to support public health. There have been several studies conducted across the United States supporting its many public health benefits.

Still, some are worried that the legalization of marijuana is going to result in a spike in adolescent use, violent crime, mental health illnesses, and so much more. But data shows that legalization can actually prevent this.

A 2021 paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research highlighted more surprising reasons why legalization can benefit public health. Reduction in Violent Crime The War on Drugs has done nothing to cut down on violent crime. It has, in fact, fueled illicit black market activity and the criminals behind them, increasing crime. The paper states that where legal dispensaries have been established, the authors saw a 19% decrease in overall crime.

Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and Appalachian State University also state in an older paper that: “Our results indicate that medical marijuana laws result in significant reductions in both violent and property crime rates.” Meanwhile, a 2019 paper by Regional Science and Urban Economics states: “The results imply that an additional dispensary in a neighborhood leads to a reduction of 17 crimes per month per 10,000 residents, which corresponds to roughly a 19 percent decline relative to the average crime rate over the same period…”

 

There are many possible reasons behind this. One is that legal recreational marijuana provides greater access for adults who then no longer have to go to dealers at the black market, so the underground market no longer thrives as much in the area. Another is that the police would have less reasons to arrest individuals, saving police resources. In addition, many may turn to marijuana as a substitute for more harmful substances which actually cause an uptick in violent crime: these include alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine.

After all, marijuana is a drug that is know for inducing euphoric and relaxing states, reducing the chances of individuals engaging in dangerous or violent behavior. Significant Reductions In Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption Tobacco use is a widespread killer, responsible for the deaths of over 8 million people annually. Meanwhile, alcohol kills around 225 people a day in the United States alone. You know the system is broken when tobacco and alcohol are still legal yet continue to kill people because of its availability while marijuana is still federally illegal.

Despite this, thousands in the United States still struggle with a tobacco addiction. But marijuana may help with that. The paper states that legalizing recreational marijuana is linked with a 5% and 13% reduction in alcohol and tobacco related deaths respectively.

This benefits the youth, too.

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