Legalizing cannabis isn't a hypothetical situation for me, I've already voted for it once. We should talk about that. We should talk about the arguments I heard before hand, and the real world effects of legalization that I lived and witnessed. "Town will just turn into stoners everywhere." -Random argument I heard. Hasn't happened. Still a productive place to live. "Why bother? A responsible adult can already smoke it up in their house and no one cares." - Argument I heard from a LEO. To me this was the argument *to* legalize cannabis. If people are already consuming it, why make it difficult and illegal to acquire. "Cannabis has numerous health benefits, and if we could explore them without fear of losing funding, the world would be a better place." - Paraphrased, a scientist. By the time cannabis legalization was on my ballot several things were true. I was already politically active, so I had access to piles of information from both sides of the argument. I was not a cannabis user. I'd tried it, didn't see the point, and moved on. My political belief system had become "give me the scientific reason this should be illegal." Cannabis helps to treat depression and anxiety. Cannabis helps to fight cancer and regulate seizures. Cannabis helps to treat glaucoma and deal with the pain of arthritis. Cannabis helps to regulate the tremors in Parkinson's Disease, and provide pain relief in MS patients. Cannabis has successfully been used to help people with PTSD, and ADD/ADHD. Cannabis helps to regulate weight and insulin levels, making it an important weapon in the fight against diabetes. Legal cannabis raised $44 million in taxes and fees in years one (recreational, the state took in $32 million more from medical). Legal cannabis lowered both the crime rate and the violent crime rate on Denver streets from 2013 to 2014 (Denver being responsible for nearly half of all legal sales in the state). Legalization led to 84% fewer marijuana-related arrests, saving the state an estimated $40 million dollars in year one. Legalization created jobs. More than 40,000 people are now licensed to work in the approximately 3,000 cannabis related businesses; as budtenders, as growers, as retail sales people. Legalization created millions in state revenue, which has allowed for the creation of special funds; BEST builds and updates schools, there is a grant program that puts nurses back in schools, a drop-out prevention program, a bullying prevention program, and enough money that marijuana taxes pay about 1/5th of education funding. Now, legalization then came with some hiccups, but other people already experienced them, and have shown a better way to legalization. There was an early issue with edibles. Because it was more difficult to measure the THC content of things like cookies and brownies, there was actually some hospitalisations early on because people experienced extreme anxiety from overdoses.
This problem had been overcome with further regulation by the time I needed cannabis. In 2018 I received the third and fourth collisions in a five car pileup. I was struck from behind diagonally, driving me across my car into the door instead of forward into my seat belt. Let's just use the word 'crumpled' to describe my shoulder. My doctor was prepared to write me a prescription for hydrocodone, and I had no interest in that. I live in a country where more than 100 people die daily from opioid addictions, and while my family has no history of addiction, I just didn't see the reason to risk it. After I told my doctor I didn't want opioids, he recommended cannabis. By this time cannabis edibles were factory made, and consistent in their THC content. For nearly a year I used low dose cannabis edibles about half an hour before bed to relieve pain and make it possible to sleep. During the day I experienced less pain, and was able to typically be okay with OTC painkillers. At night I would frequently roll onto the damaged shoulder, and that was unpleasant. I unequivocally support the legalization of cannabis consumption. The economic benefits are proven; more jobs, fewer people in jail, increased tax revenues. The health benefits are proven, and numerous, and I've experienced them myself.