It is legal in some other countries and has not created problems. It has been used in India for thousands of years.
There are proposals to regulate it in a manner similar to wine, so there would be a minimum age and it would be taxed. That seems sensible. Instead, the USA spends millions upon millions of dollars every year prosecuting and incarcerating people for using it.
I am not aware of any good arguments for keeping it illegal. The Administrative Law Judge ruled in 1988 that it should not be classified as a Schedule 1 drug, seehttp://www.druglibrary.org/olsen/MEDICAL/YOUNG/young.html
because of its many medicinal applications and because, as the Judge found:
16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest
therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis
marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.
How it was made illegal is a convoluted story, but it was against the advice of the American Medical Association, seehttp://www.jackherer.com/thebook/chapter-four/
Dr. William C. Woodward, for instance, who was both a physician and an attorney for the American Medical Association, testified on behalf of the AMA.
He said, in effect, the entire fabric of federal testimony
was tabloid sensationalism! No real testimony had been heard! This law, passed in ignorance, could possibly deny the world a potential medicine, especially now that the medical world was just beginning to find which ingredients in cannabis were active.
Woodward told the committee that the only reason the AMA hadn’t come out against the marijuana tax law sooner was that marijuana had been described in the press for 20 years as “killer weed from Mexico.”
The AMA doctors had just realized “two days before” these spring 1937 hearings, that the plant Congress intended to outlaw was known medically as cannabis, the benign substance used in America with perfect safety in scores of illnesses for over one hundred years.
“We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman,” Woodward protested, “why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the profession, that it was being prepared.” He and the AMA* were quickly denounced by Anslinger and the entire congressional committee, and curtly excused.
When the Marijuana Tax Act bill came up for oral report, discussion, and vote on the floor of Congress, only one pertinent question was asked from the floor: “Did anyone consult with the AMA and get their opinion?” Representative Vinson, answering for the Ways and Means Committee replied, “Yes, we have. A Dr. Wharton [mistaken pronunciation of Woodward?] and [the AMA] are in complete agreement!”
With this memorable lie, the bill passed, and became law in December, 1937. Federal and state police forces were created, which have incarcerated hundreds of thousands of Americans, adding up to more than 16 million wasted years in jails and prisons – even contributing to their deaths – all for the sake of poisonous, polluting industries, prison guards unions and to reinforce some white politicians’ policies
of racial hatred.
My opinion is that the consequences of legalizing it would be to save a lot of money not prosecuting and incarcerating users, make money for the government by taxing it, and not destroy people's lives for using a substance that poses no danger to society. Alcohol is universally regarded as much more dangerous than cannabis, yet it remains legal.http://www.alternet.org/rights/47815/
American taxpayers are now spending more than a billion dollars per year to incarcerate its citizens for pot. That's according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice
's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The US will not provide universal health care but it can spend that much to torment people for using a plant. Seems like a huge waste of money to me. Even some of the police agree this is just ridiculous, seehttp://www.leap.cc/
That site states:
History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.
I hope this information is helpful.