Should marijuana be legalized nationally?

Screen shot from CBC News' YouTube video: Ontario to sell weed online and in stores

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Recently, the health committee in Canada’s House of Commons completed its study of bill C-45, a bill that, when passed, would make Canada the first industrialized country to legalize marijuana and regulate it from production to consumption. Legalizing marijuana nationwide is a promise Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made when running for office two years ago. He hopes that when this bill is passed, marijuana will be legal nationwide by July 2018. Once legal marijuana will be available for use for people 18 and older, it will be illegal for those that are 17 and younger and there will be stiff penalties for those selling to minors, including a maximum prison sentence of 14 years. With what is going on in Canada and with the growing legalization movement in the United States, the question is raised: Should the United States legalize marijuana nationwide?

There are many reasons people feel marijuana should be legal. With substances as potentially destructive as tobacco and alcohol on the market, they feel that it is insane to have marijuana illegal when it does not do as much damage to people as these other substances. If we legalize it, we would have the opportunity to create a whole new industry that can create jobs and raise money for the government through taxes. The government would save money by decriminalizing it, because you would not have nearly as many people in jail. Finally, there are the medical benefits. People could use marijuana for pain relief and not the highly addictive pain medications we use now.

Those against legalizing marijuana argue that marijuana is a gateway drug and that if you allow people to use it they will start using harder drugs. Also, marijuana users would become consumed with the need to get high and they would stop paying attention to anything else, such as their jobs or families, destroying their lives. They also point out that legalization would do nothing to lower crime because people who have a tendency towards committing criminal acts would still commit crimes whether marijuana was legal or not.

While Canada moves towards legalizing marijuana nationwide and the United States has a growing movement pushing for the same, the argument for the legalization of marijuana in the United States is heating up.

This clip from CBC News covers how Ontario, Canada will be selling marijuana in stores and online.

The issue

Is it time to legalize marijuana? Will there be many benefits to society with its legalization, or if it is legalized, will it send many people on a path to drug abuse and crime?

In favor of marijuana being legal

People in favor of marijuana legalization see it as a great benefit to people if it were to be legalized. A new industry will be born, people will benefit from its medical uses, and there will be fewer people in jail.

Against marijuana being legal

Those against legalization see legalizing marijuana as a gateway to crime and other drugs. It will lead to destroying families and lives.

Do you think we should legalize marijuana?

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