Legalizing weed is a smart choice

Illustration by Rachel Dugo
Illustration by Rachel Dugo

Potheads aren’t the only ones in favor of legalizing weed. Although I don’t use cannabis, and don’t intend to, I do think that there are many benefits to making it legal.

The Marijuana Policy Project has started the process to put marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot. Part of me dreads the inevitable new fervor of potheads. They are always trying to make half-baked arguments for its legality.

Environmentally, illegal marijuana farms are ruinous to California. An article by the New York Times presented the issue of watering these farms during the drought. This is stupid: marijuana is not a necessity and should suffer the fate of the other farms. also posted an article about how the illegal marijuana farms are ruining forests, especially in Northern California. The use of pesticides is killing animals and there are also issues with landslides and the damming of streams.

Personally I like animals better when they are alive. If cannabis was made legal, these illegal pot farms would disband and marijuana would be grown under regulations that protect the environment.

Legalizing weed also has health benefits. Alcohol and weed share similar effects on adults, and serious long-term effects on adolescents. It seems silly to me that alcohol is legal but marijuana isn’t. Making weed only legal for those over 21 years old might make it more difficult for adolescents to get ahold of.

The meat of my argument, however, is in the money. MSN Money claims that marijuana legalization could save the United States billions of dollars. There would be less money required for marijuana busts, and the tax revenue would be helpful to each state.

Forbe’s reported that Colorado has made $2 million in tax revenue for education from their legalization of marijuana. Trust me, our education needs it. If money is going to be made by selling pot, shouldn’t it be made by law-abiding citizens and helping our education budget as well?

There are a lot of reasons to be on either side of this debate, but criminalizing marijuana hasn’t stopped people from smoking it. As someone who has no interest in smoking it, legalizing and regulating marijuana just seems like a logical choice for California.

Alyssa Dunning can be reached at [email protected] and @alyssadunning3 on Twitter.