Should recreational marijuana be legal in NJ
Recreational Marijuana should be legalized in New Jersey
According to the US constitution, marijuana is an illegal drug classified as a Schedule I substance because it has no proven medicinal value and has a high potential of being abused. In fact, today, the drug remains the most popular in the country. Despite its legal status, at least, 48% of the US population has access to the drug. A recent survey proved that its accessibility by high school students stands at 6.5%. Since the federal government mandates state governments to use their authority to outlaw or decriminalize the use, cultivation, transportation and sale of the drug, its use for medicinal and recreational use has been subject to debate (Anderson, Hansen & Rees 36)). Different states have come up with legislations to outlaw completely its, use, partially allow people to use it for medicinal or recreational purposes or allow complete use. So far, only four the states have legalized recreational marijuana-Washington, Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon. This paper argues for the legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey.
As a state, New Jersey has not outlawed the use of recreational marijuana. However, in 2010, the state decriminalized medical marijuana when it enacted the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.
Today, the pressure is mounting on the state government to legalize recreational marijuana because it is not as bad as perceived. Many people including the governor are opposed to this bid. They argue that this is a runaway, addictive drug that has no medical value to add to the users. However, these clams are rubbished by the supporters of this initiative because to them, legalizing recreational drug will be beneficial to the state in many ways.
Reasons for the legalization of Marijuana in New Jersey
Since the US constitution mandates each state to decide on the decriminalization of marijuana, there is nothing wrong if New Jersey joins other states like Colorado in which recreational marijuana is legal. The efforts by the Sen. Nicholas Scutari should be supported by everyone in the state. If legalized, recreational marijuana will benefit everyone in the state including the government itself. So, the following are some of the reasons why the state should legalize the use of recreational marijuana within its jurisdiction:
Recreational Marijuana will help to Boost Economy
When Colorado legalized the use of recreational marijuana, it got lots of revenues that were collected from the numerous taxes levied on the drug planters, sellers, and users. If Sen. Scutari’s bill sails through, New Jersey will have to gain a lot in its economy. It will have to generate additional revenue because of taxes that will have to be collected from the use of this drug. Sales taxes will be gathered from all retailers involved in the selling of his drug. All the traders who deal in marijuana will have o part with registration fees as well as sales taxes on the profits generated from the sale of the drug. At the same time, traders will have to pay state taxes on he sale of the drug. All these, if accumulated, will help in increasing the state government’s collections (Weitzer 426).
When the bill is passed into law, recreational marijuana will be made available for people for use. Unlike it is currently, no one will be engaged in unlawful sales. Instead, any investors interested in selling the product will do so after seeking approval from the relevant authorities. In this case, these traders will have an opportunity to get income that they will use in catering for their needs. Meaning, legalization of recreational marijuana will help in creating employment opportunities to so many people. Everyone involved in the production, distribution and sale of the product will have to benefit. These include farmers, agents, transporters, and marketers. The income generated by these people will not only benefit them but also to the state because it will help in increasing the costs of living.
It is, therefore, clear that the legalization of recreational marijuana will playa a significant role in the development of the economy. All the revenues generated by the government will have to be put into a god use for the sake of ordinary citizens. As proposed by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, all the proceeds from the drug will be put into use in areas like women’s health initiatives, drug prevention and enforcement programs as well as Transportation Trust Fund. These are important sectors that provide services to many people. It proves that the drug will eventually bring monetary benefits to the people. The taxes to be collected will be enough to help in supporting many other social projects aimed at improving the lives of everyone in the state.
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana will benefit the Judiciary
For a very long time, the possession, use, transportation and sale of recreational marijuana has been landing people into jails. The legal status of the drug has made it possible for the law enforcers to be serious with its eradication in the country. Many people have been fined or imprisoned because of recreational marijuana-related cases. This has been a burden to the law enforcers as well as the judicial system at large. A lot of time is spent pursuing suspects. Also, too much money has been used to sustain the inmates who are convicted of such petty offenses (Roy‐Byrne, et al. 602). However, with the legalization of the drug, all these will have to come to an end. Once all the prohibitive measures are removed, people will be free to use the drug without necessarily being followed up by the law enforcers.
The legalization of recreational marijuana will be a relief to the state’s judicial department. Great benefits will be enjoyed because no one will have to be thrown into prisons. The result is that prisons will be relieved because they will no longer have to accommodate any criminal convicted of using, possessing, selling or transporting recreational marijuana. Official records show that many people have been jailed because of committing such offenses. This has made the prisons to be overcrowded because they have so many prisoners that can not comfortably fit (Harper, Strumpf, and Kaufman 211). This has been creating a lot of problems like poor sanitation, hygiene and massive spread of contagious diseases like cholera, dysentery and amoeba. However, when the legislation is enacted, the state will not admit any more such prisoners.
The other benefit that the new legislation will bring to the government is that it will help in minimizing the costs of the maintenance of prisons. All along, the sate has had to use a lot of resources to support prisons. These moneys are used for feeding, clothing as well as the provision of healthcare, rehabilitation and security services to the prisoners. However, when recreational marijuana is legalized, the number of prisoners will obviously decrease to sustainable levels. As a result, the government will have o spend less that it currently does. Less money will be spent of providing the necessary services to the prisoners. Better still, the government will have o employ a few personnel to man these facilities. This is a good development that will bring log-term benefits to the government (Cohen 654).
Legalization of Recreational Marijuana will help in the Equal Application of the Laws
According to the US everyone has a right to freedom of making choices. However, the law, as it is today, contradicts itself, because it deprives individuals of a similar right. The fact that Americans are forbidden to use recreational marijuana shows that the law is unfair. If the constitution guarantees freedom of choice, then no one should be told which kind of recreational drug to use. They should be allowed to make heir own decisions on which drug to use for recreational purposes (Roy‐Byrne, et al. 600). Nevertheless, the legalization of recreational marijuana will be a boost to this struggle. Allowing Americans to freely use the drug for recreational purposes will be a show of constitutionalism. It will give individuals back their liberty rights which were taken away from them when such legislations were enacted.
By allowing legalizing and criminalizing certain recreational drugs, the law is discriminative. There are so many recreational drugs that include alcohol, cigarettes. So, if there were equality and consistency in the application of laws, all these drugs would be legalized or illegalized. After all, all recreational drugs more or less have similar effects on the user. In fact, when compared, alcohol becomes more dangerous than recreational marijuana. Unlike marijuana, cigarettes and alcohol have caused lots of problems including lung cancer, liver cirrhosis and many deaths (Cohen 654). However, for the sake of fairness and equality, all the recreational drugs should be treated in a similar manner. None of them should be given preferential treatment at the expense of others. So, if recreational marijuana is legalized, equality in the application of laws will be attained. It will make the constitution to be consistent and fair to everyone who uses any of the recreational drugs.
It is true that the use of marijuana still remains a controversial issue in the country. To the critics, recreational marijuana should not be legalized because it has no proven medical benefit to the users. Nonetheless, the arguments held by its supporters should hold water because, despite not mentioning any medicinal value, they assert that the action will have many benefits to the individual citizens and the government. The efforts of Sen. Nicholas Scutari to advocate for the legalization of recreational marijuana should be supported by all the people from Ney Jersey. If legalized, no one will bother engaging in illegal ways to get access to the drug (Anderson and Rees 227). This will help by availing the drug to all the users. At the same time, the government will enjoy monetary returns because of the taxes to be collected from marijuana use. Therefore, recreational marijuana should be legalized in New Jersey. These are the benefits enjoyed in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon in which recreational marijuana is not unlawful.
Anderson, D. M., and Rees, D. I. ‘The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: How Likely Is the Worst‐Case Scenario?’ Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33(1) 2014, 221-232.
Anderson, D. M., Hansen, B., and Rees, D. I.. ‘Medical marijuana laws and teen marijuana use.’ American Law and Economics Review, ahv002. 2012.
Cohen, P. ‘Medical marijuana 2010: it’s time to fix the regulatory vacuum.’ JL Med. & Ethics, 38, 654. 2010.
Harper, S., Strumpf, E. C., and Kaufman, J.. ‘Do medical marijuana laws increase marijuana use? Replication study and extension.’ Annals of epidemiology, 22(3), 2012: 207-212.
Roy‐Byrne, P. et al. ‘Are medical marijuana users different from recreational users? The view from primary care.’ The American Journal on Addictions, 24(7), 2015: 599-606.
Weitzer, R.. ‘Legalizing Recreational Marijuana: Comparing Ballot Outcomes in Four States.’ Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology, 2(2). 2014.
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