In some parts of the country, Americans will not only cast a vote for Hillary Clinton or her Republican rival Donald Trump on Nov. 8. They will also decide whether marijuana should become legal in their states. Cannabis issues are currently on the ballot in nine U.S. states. Voters in Nevada, Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Maine will vote on recreational marijuana, while voters in Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana will decide the fate of medical marijuana.
Voters in Nevada, Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Maine will vote on recreational marijuana, while voters in Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana will decide the fate of medical marijuana.
Pot smokers are confident that the measure will pass in Florida and California because the attitude towards the highly addictive substance has changed in recent years. Last month, a Pew survey revealed 57 percent of Americans think pot smoking should be legal. In 2006, 60 percent of respondents were against the measure. Gallup statistics also revealed that 60 percent of Americans want legalization.
Marijuana advocates say there is another reason why everyone should vote for pot legalization: tax revenues. In Colorado and Washington, weed tax revenues were three times larger than those on alcohol and casinos. And experts expect pot tax revenue to surpass cigarette tax by the end of the decade.
Legal Marijuana’s Risks
On the other hand, opponents of marijuana legalization claim that risks outweigh benefits. For instance, in Colorado and Washington traffic accidents involving stoned drivers jumped twofold after legalization. Critics also say that prepositions are poorly written. In California, for example, Proposition 64 does not bar stoned drivers from getting behind the wheel. There isn’t any standard to measure the level of impairment before driving, either.
In Colorado and Washington, the level of impairment is five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. But experts explained that cannabis can persist in the bloodstream for up to a month. So, the safety standard doesn’t guarantee law enforcement will accurately assess the level of impairment at traffic stops.
Additionally, Prop. 64 backers don’t have a study to assess the risk of drugged driving. They promised they’ll conduct a study after legalization. In the meantime, post-legalization studies in Washington and Colorado show drugged driving is not a good idea for anyone.
In Washington, car crashes involving stoned drivers jumped from 8 percent to 17 percent within a year after legalization. Also, in Colorado, the figure jumped from 10 percent to 21 percent within the same period. The statistics convinced the American Automobile Association (AAA) to say no to Prop. 64 in California.
Prop. 64 May Smooth the Way for Addiction
Marijuana opponents also say that Prop.64 will allow pot sellers market very potent products for smoking. Cannabis concentrates are four times stronger when the plant is smoked.
Plus, the new proposition doesn’t bar marijuana from being baked into candies, cookies, and other edibles. So, many children and teens may become addicted. And on top of that, the new proposition allows 800 servings of pot edibles in the hands of adults which could easily make their way to the state’s youth.
Despite age restrictions, young people could become addicted as studies had shown one in six kids who try marijuana develops addiction. This is why critics believe pot use among the youth would increase significantly after legalization.
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