As of June 2019, there are 11 states across our nation that has legalized the use of marijuana. Nearly $8 billion dollars in additional tax revenue has been generated combined.

In addition there are eight more states that currently have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes that are looking into full legalization. If all eight do so by the 2020 presidential election, 19 of our 50 states will have legalized marijuana use. That’s 38% of our nation and potentially increasing tax revenue to more than $12 billion dollars yearly.

Although the financial side of legalizing marijuana is appealing to many, there is still a huge debate on the topic.

A few years back I witnessed an emotional discussion between two family members. On one side was my brother-in-law who was working in law enforcement at the time, and my cousin who was a paramedic. Both were very passionate about their views.

My cousin, who has more of a liberal stance, feels that marijuana shouldn’t be seen any different than alcohol and tobacco as it’s not as potentially dangerous.

My brother-in-law, who has a very strong conservative mindset, feels that legalization of marijuana will open the door to legalization of much stronger and worse drugs.

Both derive their opinions from experiences through the jobs they have.

Last month, Forbes shared arguments from both those opposing and supporting legalization of marijuana.

Those opposing:

1. It would increase the number of auto accidents due to more drivers potentially being under the influence.

2. Would lead to more people advancing to stronger drugs as people who have highly addictive personalities would be more affected.

3. Encourages more people to use marijuana as it is easily available.

4. Legalization would not benefit society or individuals.

5. Many believe marijuana would be harmful to people.

6. Some feel the use of all drugs, including marijuana, is immoral.

Those Supporting:

1. Marijuana helps people who use it for medical reasons therefore would be helpful for all.

2. Would free up law enforcement to focus on other types of crimes since more arrests are made each year for marijuana possession than murder and rape crimes combined.

3. It should be a freedom of choice.

4. Provides a good source of tax revenue for state and local governments.

5. Government regulations of marijuana would make it safer for users.

6. Do not believe it is harmful to people who use it.

Here in Nebraska, usage of marijuana is fully illegal. Not available for medical use nor is it somewhat decriminalized. This is the case with only two other states, those being Mississippi and North Carolina. (Decriminalize means the state ceases to treat (something) as illegal or as a criminal offense.)

As we all know, at our border to the southwest of the state, Colorado is fully legal. Yes, South Dakota and Kansas to our north and south are both fully illegal with no decriminalization.

So where do you stand on this issue? We can see the pattern coming where states are regularly changing their own stance with more and more becoming more and more lenient in its laws on marijuana.

As for me, I don’t use marijuana nor do I have a desire to. I do, however, feel that we as a human beings live, make mistakes and hopefully, learn from them, have a knack for pushing things to the limit. Or over our personal limit for some. And that can be very dangerous to all of us when in the hands for those that have little self-control.

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