Contributor: KC Scannell
Logic. That’s the one thing missing in the brain of anyone who is anti-legalization.
For some reason, these misguided souls believe in unjust paranoia over cold, hard facts. And that, my friends, will never make sense to me. However, despite the obvious wealth of benefits that await places that allow the sale and use of marijuana, town hall meetings and city council sessions are routinely populated by groups of anti-cannabis protestors.
All of their rants are damn near laughable, yet they believe in every word they shout with the utmost conviction. It’s fairly crazy if I can be honest. Now, look, I know we’re supposed to respect everyone’s opinion, and I agree with that, we should genuinely listen to their statements, take it in, and try to find common ground to agree upon.
Number Of Marijuana Crimes Rapidly Decreasing In Illinois
But with anti-legalization people, that’s an impossibility. I mean, how are you supposed to find common ground with someone who is against a naturally-growing herb that’s used as a calming medicine and/or recreational way to relax? Just because the federal government wrongfully declared it a Schedule I substance doesn’t make it true.
Fixing that error by Congress is the main motivating factor found in the growing list of states who are pushing that incorrect federal distinction to the side, in order for their citizens to reap the many rewards that cannabis, and cannabis-related products, have to offer, without any fear of legal punishment.
Marijuana is one of the most therapeutic, harmless living aides of all time. Its lack of danger and reliably relaxing effects are what make it so beloved by so many people. There are no downsides to point out when discussing cannabis and its various mediums. It’s all upsides, optimism, alleviation, and recovery. It helps people eat, sleep, and create. The healing powers of marijuana shouldn’t be illegal, they should be embraced and looked upon as one of the planet’s finest forms of medicine.
But, even with a mountain of “pros” to pick from, anti-legalization groups tend to make-up fraudulent, paranoid “cons” that they swear will happen should their area allow the “Devil’s Lettuce” to be legal within their borders.
They say things like, “Crime will skyrocket in my quaint neighborhood if people can just start buying weed from a store!” And, “The crowds of criminals that are going to be running a pot shop on Main Street are only going to ruin this once-great town,” and things of this nature. But all of those fears are baseless, and in actuality, complete misrepresentations of what actually happens when marijuana becomes legalized.
In place of those nonexistent negatives, an onslaught of positives awaits any and all regions that make the smart move in legalizing cannabis. But, even on a smaller scale, when towns and cities are debating whether or not dispensaries can open up in their region, the answer should always be: YES!
It shouldn’t even be a debate, to be completely honest. They are legitimate businesses, just like any other industry, and there’s no reason they should be forbidden from opening their doors to local residents. I mean, it’s okay to have bars on almost every corner, but not dispensaries?
One of those places sells potentially lethal, possibly addictive substances to anyone over the age of 21, and the other is a dispensary.
It seems like a pretty cut-and-dry decision if you ask me. But, even with pubs popping up left and right, the average cannabis club has to go through an obstacle course of legalities and red tape just to apply for a license. So, if an establishment has crossed all the right “t’s” and dotted all the correct “i’s” I see no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to open up for business immediately.
But, if a city council (or state legislator) is smart enough to say okay to the legalization of marijuana, and the opening of its multiple dispensaries throughout their region, they will see their society thrive. The mountains of taxed revenue that they are about to enjoy can be repurposed for all sorts of things that would, overall, improve each resident’s quality of life. And it’d all be because of marijuana and dispensaries were trusted enough to conduct their business in an orderly fashion.
Conversely, in areas where dispensaries have been banned from opening, you can find the most black market storefronts per capita. These criminals see that the local population wants weed in their area, but the “powers that be” have forbidden it. So, recognizing that demand, they go ahead and open up their doors to sell illegal, mostly-tainted products that could, effectively, hurt, or even kill, an unknown consumer.
That’s exactly what happened with the vape scare earlier this year, and it stands to reason that another crisis of that degree could happen again. Especially in areas that are riddled with black market shops.
Know what places don’t have a lot of, or any, black market operations? Places that are allowed to house as many legal dispensaries as possible.
Black market operations can’t compete with the lab-tested quality and potency of government-sanctioned shops. And the local police would be more on the lookout for these illegal shops in these areas because they would be, essentially, taking tax money out of their government-funded paychecks.
So, that’s already one myth debunked, but there are almost too many misguided worries being uttered by the anti-legalization side, that it’s almost too much to take on. So, I’ll just focus on one more thing: arrests.
When marijuana isn’t legalized, it is, therefore, a crime to sell, grow, use, or even possess it in any form. What’s completely fine in one state could land you in jail in another. When you look at a map of the country and see which states have approved cannabis, it resembles a patchwork quilt, as the sporadic nature of these territories has no rhyme or reason to it. But, having said that, you will see that nationwide legalization is inevitable.
But I digress.
When marijuana is considered a crime, that means that society, as a whole, vehemently frowns upon cannabis and its users. There is no willingness to see it any other way. In turn, armed with that inherent hatred and judgment towards people looking for an organic way to mellow out, police tend to sniff out smokers more than anybody else. More than that, they know how prevalent marijuana is, regardless of how the government feels about it.
And who needs to relax more than anyone? People who are constantly stressed out and worried about the future. So, police tend to lurk in more poverty-stricken areas, solely to bust anybody they can, who was just trying to alleviate some physical and/or mental tension. It all just seems corrupt and backward to me.
But, when marijuana is legalized and fully allowed in every regard, local law enforcement backs off a great deal. They are more prone to being open about cannabis and its benefits in these societies. Hell, some may even partake in cannabis on their off-time, which they should totally be allowed to do, in my opinion. But, with that new acceptance and understanding of cannabis, these police officers recognize that it is harmless.
Also, even when they do want to proceed with a charge, they usually are stopped in their tracks because, in places that allow legalized weed, folks are usually of legal age and/or have a fully-approved medical card. Thus, no crime was committed, nor could any crime be charged. Hence, crime goes down.
Recently, a study was conducted in a number of Illinois neighborhoods, and what they found echoed all of my previously made statements. In five of the state’s biggest neighborhoods, the number of cannabis-related arrests dropped nearly 80% over the last few years. The towns used in the study were: Waukegan, Joliet, Elgin, Naperville, and Aurora.
Hopefully, if more studies like this become common knowledge, all of those cries from anti-cannabis protestors will slowly fade away. Fingers crossed.