It’s time for California to legalize marijuana

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It’s time for California to legalize marijuana

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The first of the year marked a historic day for Colorado when marijuana became legal in the state for the first time. Two dozen shops sold marijuana legally to consumers over the age of 21, and within a week 37 shops made more than $5 million, according to the Huffington Post.

Many rallied against the cause, including TV talk show host Nancy Grace, and claimed that legalizing marijuana would cause an increase in crime and health issues across the state.

But the benefits of legalization far outweigh the costs. It is time for California to follow suit and attain the benefits that Colorado is realizing.

With a 25 percent sales tax, plus other local taxes, sales of marijuana are expected to generate $67 million annually for the state, according to CNN.com.

Added to the savings of not enforcing the drug prohibitions, the monetary gains are more than enough reason to legalize the drug.

Medical marijuana could generate $1.4 billion annually for California, according to mcclatchydc.com. One can only imagine how much California could generate if marijuana was legalized for recreational use.

While marijuana is thought to be addictive, it is just as damaging to people as cigarettes or alcohol, which are legal under certain restrictions and heavily taxed to make up for their negative effects on society.

The most noticeable effect on crime rates leading up to legalization of marijuana is the substantial decrease in charges for a single marijuana offense, falling 77 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to the Denver Post.

California has already legalized medical marijuana, but not everyone is eligible to attain the medicine. Full legalization would make marijuana more available to those that need it.

There are many medical benefits associated with marijuana use. For many people with diseases such as AIDS and cancer, marijuana is an effective pain reliever, according to drugpolicy.org.

Legalizing marijuana would also reduce the influence of drug cartels and gangs in Californa. When it is easier and less dangerous to acquire marijuana through the state-regulated stores, illegal purchases will decrease, cutting down the income of illicit sellers.

By reducing their revenue, there will be an overall decrease in crime as gangs fight less over territory where they can sell their drugs.

There is too much gain for California to easily ignore. Overall, the effects of legalization will greatly benefit the state and will not adversely affect its citizens.