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High tides for legal marijuana

In the 1990s, America’s youth’s drug use increased substantially, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In contemporary times, where the legalization of marijuana is frequently debated by presidential candidates, it has become increasingly clear many fear for the worst: more youth substance abuse, and the effects of legal marijuana. However, the effects of legal marijuana could substantially benefit society more than it does harm. Countless studies have shown the significance of medical marijuana, as well as decreasing illegal drug trade. Therefore, legal marijuana would benefit contemporary society in more ways than one.

In a world where most teenagers will stop at nothing to break the rules and have fun, it is inevitable someone will get hurt, or 4,300 teens annually, according to Edgar Snyder & Associates. Approximately 4,300 teen deaths per year in the United States alone are caused by underage drinking. Teenage alcohol consumption and abuse is the sole reason organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) exist.

Recent studies have shown one surprising fact: alcohol has an extreme impact on drivers, much more than drivers influenced by marijuana, in fact. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the simulator used to record the results was one of the most sophisticated driving simulators of its kind. Marijuana, ultimately, has been shown to impair drivers less than alcohol does.

The benefits of legal marijuana have expanded to not only the United States, but even to Mexico, where drug cartels have weakened since marijuana was first legalized in just a few states. Because of its legalization, marijuana prices have dropped, prompting some cartels to abandon cannabis all together, according to Cathy Reisenwitz, author of, “U.S. Marijuana Legalization Already Weakening Mexican Cartels, Violence Expected to Decline,” and she’s right. With Mexican drug cartels abandoning some of Latin America’s largest global export of marijuana, a decrease of violence that comes along with drug-related work is expected.

Since the legalization of Marijuana in states including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, marijuana has shown significant benefits, and decreased some of Latin America’s most dangerous drug cartels from doing harm. Legal marijuana was, at first, an unlikely solution to universal problems, but it has shown it helps more than just the United States as a whole.

— Alexa Sambrano

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