By Mayada Farraj
In recent years, cannabis legalization has become a controversial social justice issue CNBCMarijuana is possibly one of the few bipartisan issues developing in the United States today.
Researchers have discovered several benefits to legalization, including social justice, safety, public health, tax increases, lower spending on criminal justice, and economic recovery.
New Jersey’s decision to legalize it is expected to have a positive impact on the looser penalties for underage possession of marijuana and alcohol (Envato Elements).
Critics argue that legalizing marijuana will cause further drug and alcohol abuse, harm public safety, and lower the academic achievement levels of teenagers.
According to Cannabis Media69% of Americans who speak out against cannabis legalization do so because it will lead people to use stronger and more addictive drugs. Researchers have not supported this assumption as a Gallup poll too Gallup found that most Americans prefer legalization for medical purposes only.
The social ramifications of marijuana legalization are believed to have benefits for all ages, races, and social classes. Marijuana legalization has been linked to lower rates of opioid overdoses, harm, and deaths, which can significantly improve public health Cannabiz Media. Opioid overdose rates have dropped 25% since medical marijuana was legalized. There was also reductions in opioid addiction, opioid treatment, and abuse-related hospitalizations.
After legalization in Colorado, the Drug Policy Alliance found that opioid overdose deaths steadily decreased by 0.7 deaths per month. This is after Colorado’s rate of opioid abuse skyrocketed.
As more states legalize marijuana, the public is concerned about rising drug and crime rates. The first two states to legalize marijuana for recreation were Colorado and Washington in November 2012.
Through additional election initiative and legislative measures, nine other states legalized marijuana (Alaska, California, Illinois, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, and Michigan). The most recent states to approve marijuana legalization are New Jersey, South Dakota, Arizona, and Montana.
New Jersey’s decision to legalize it is expected to have a positive impact on looser penalties for underage possession of marijuana and alcohol. Governor Phil Murphy has assured that the positives of public legalization will outweigh the negatives. Critics attacked Murphy insisting he was endangering public health in order to fill the state with tax revenues and remove penalties for underage property.
According to abc newsMurphy stated, “The reason I signed these bills, the reason we were in this fight, is for social justice.” The tight surveillance of marijuana laws, also known as the war on drugs, resulted in disproportionate consequences for people of color and resulted in many long prison terms.
According to the New York TimesMurphy stated, “Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately large numbers of people of color to be arrested each year in New Jersey for low-level drug offenses is unfair and unjustifiable.” Murphy believes legalization will bring better days for the state, restore families, and bring justice to those harmed by the system.
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