The USF Oracle recently published an opinion piece titled “Decriminalization of marijuana is dangerous,” which, as a student of social work with a focus in the field of addiction treatment, I found to be a damaging and concerning rhetoric. I am writing to offer an alternative perspective with the hope of shedding clarity on some benefits of legalizing marijuana.
Firstly, I would like to point out the reference to the 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that states that three in 10 people who use marijuana meet the criteria for marijuana use disorder. What was not originally mentioned is that the CDC followed this statistic with reference to another study that found only 10% of cannabis users are likely to develop dependence. Therefore, this evidence is inconsistent making it difficult to substantiate.
Further, reference was made to the harmful effects of smoking marijuana as evidence that its legalization would be dangerous.
It is true that smoking marijuana can have similar harmful effects to other drugs, such as legal tobacco products. The difference is that, by legalizing use of marijuana, users will have easier access to alternative methods of use such as edibles. Of course, there are potential risks associated with use of…