As with most decisions made by the government, the decision to legalize marijuana comes down to the bottom line. Before our country went into such a deep recession, the subject was rarely discussed and now it is on everyone's lips.
Many people feel that marijuana has a multitude of medicinal uses and value. Others simply enjoy its use recreationally. Some people are opposed to the legalization of cannabis at all fearing it will increase crime rates and act as a gateway to other drugs.
Either way, we are a country that is still very much divided on this issue. On 4/20/13, three people were shot during Denver's annual 4/20 pot rally. As of this moment (11pm EST, 4/20), the gunmen have not yet been caught and we cannot speculate as to the reason for the shooting. However, the normally peaceful rally turned violent just days after Congress decided the states can individually decide if they want to legalize marijuana under the Tenth Amendment.
On 4/17/13, The Huffington Post reported that New York hopes to be next in line for medicinal marijuana with a senate majority expected to vote for legalization while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo remains opposed. The proposal clearly calls for taxation of both growers and dispensaries. Bringing me back to my original point, if not for the enormous potential gain to our finances, I doubt this would have ever reached the Congressional level. The Cato Institute reports a potential tax revenue of approximately $46.7 billion annually from drug legalization and a savings of $41.3 billion annually in expenditures continuing to enforce prohibition.
What started out as a plea for medical care to better serve patients has come down to dollars and cents. If not for the current state of the economy, it is highly doubtful that it would have gotten this far though I, and many other patients who have undergone treatment for cancer or other chronic conditions, may not care about the method by which we have arrived at our current point in the discussion but simply that we have arrived at all.
If, however, you think you have a problem with addiction or you know someone that does, you may want to refer to such sites as Drug-Rehab.org to explore the many resources available to you.