Prop 19 benefits blow away risks

This Tuesday, a “yes” vote for Proposition 19 in California could change state laws to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Also called the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, this legislation would allow anyone 21-years-old or older to possess and carry up to one ounce of marijuana anywhere in the state.

Regardless of whether you approve of the use of marijuana, it is important to recognize the benefits of its legalization. Not only will it provide a new stream of revenues for the government, but it will also push for economic growth and it will decrease the amount of drug-related violence.

Many people argue that the risks of marijuana exceed the benefits of legalization. Marijuana, however, is less dangerous and kills less people per year than alcohol and tobacco. Just like alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana would be regulated too.

People also argue that marijuana is a gateway drug. According to a study at the Division of Neuroscience at the Institute of Medicine, however, “there is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs.”

Responsible marijuana smokers present no threat or danger to America. So why are we treating them like criminals? If California is the first state to legalize pot, and it works successfully, other states should definitely consider the same legislation.

Our nation wastes tons of money policing marijuana and worrying about someone smoking a blunt when there are more important issues that should be addressed. The solution is easy: legalize marijuana.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.