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It’s a sure thing. Cannabis will become legal in Canada on July 1, 2018. Our cool neighbors to the north have clearly shown us up. I just have one question: Why is Canada more advanced than the United States? Here are nine excellent reasons that the USA should legalize weed, and enter the 21st Century, already.

1. Locking people in a cage for using and possessing a plant is not just dumb; it’s barbaric

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It’s high time (pun intended) that we become a civilized nation. As long as we are doing horrible things like caging people for cannabis, we can’t honestly make that claim. We can do better than this!

2. A majority of American voters favor legalization

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We live in a representative democracy. When our system is functioning as intended, our elected representatives in Congress and state legislatures do exactly that – represent our interests and our beliefs.

All the major national polls show support for cannabis legalization in the USA to be around 60 percent. What are our politicians waiting for?

(Part of their resistance to doing their jobs comes from big corporate campaign contributions… particularly, from Big Pharma and the law enforcement and corrections industries. This needs to change.)

3. Legalization is working as intended where it has been implemented

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Aside from a few politicians with an axe to grind (including Trump), almost everybody with any knowledge on the subject agrees that recreational cannabis legalization has been a boon to state tax coffers, has freed up law enforcement for more pressing matters, hasn’t increased youth usage, hasn’t increased auto accidents, and has been great for the economy.

4. Cannabis is safer than alcohol

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Early indicators show that alcohol abuse goes down in states which legalize cannabis. And, as most of us know, stoned drivers aren’t nearly as dangerous as drunken ones.

Since cannabis is clearly better and safer than alcohol, both for the individual and for society, it’s a no-brainer that we need to legalize the safer substance to help decrease use of the one that’s more dangerous.

5. Overdoses on prescription drugs drop noticeably in legal states

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There’s an opioid epidemic sweeping the United States. While these powerful pharmaceuticals have their place in pain control, abuse and addiction have been taking a terrible toll in America.

The good news is that the annual rate of opioid overdose falls by an average of 25 percent in states which legalize medical or recreational marijuana. How much is one human life worth?

6. Cannabis is not a gateway drug – it’s an EXIT drug

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The reason cannabis tends to lower opioid usage is because, contrary to Reefer Madness claims of it being a “Gateway Drug” (which have been disproven), marijuana is an exit drug for those quitting both pharmaceuticals and heroin.

7. Prohibition isn’t just dumb and mean; it’s really expensive

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Taxpayers shell out from $1.6 billion to $6 billion a year for cannabis enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration, according to the ACLU. It’s hard to imagine a more foolish way in which to waste our precious tax money.

8. Cannabis has demonstrated health benefits

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From increasing appetite and decreasing nausea to reducing pain to treating depression, ADHD, autism, and seizures, cannabis has many beneficial effects on human health, both for sick people and for bolstering the healthy.

9. Once pot is fully legal, industrial hemp will be, too

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The uses of the hemp plant are almost unlimited: food, fuel, fiber, plastics, clothing, medicine… the list goes on.

What many people don’t know is that hemp plants can also purify soil that has been contaminated with toxic materials and hazardous waste.

Let’s do this thing.

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Steve Elliott

Editor/Publisher at Toke Signals
Steve Elliott has been a journalist since 1974, has been trained on how to do that since 1982, and has worked the cannabis beat since 2007. Elliott is the author of The Little Black Book of Marijuana. He runs the blog TokeSignals.com.
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