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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Marijuana: the pros and cons of legalizing cannabis federally

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Bianca Oppedisano
Two hands pull apart a marijuana plant. Illustration by Bianca Oppedisano / Mass Media Staff

The United States House of Representatives passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, or MORE act, on Friday, April 1, and followed up on this bill with the passage of the Medical Marijuana Research Act the following Monday, inching the country one step closer to decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level if all goes to plan. Chances are though, it likely won’t; the MORE act passed the House by a vote of 220–204 with little Republican support, and to help pass the bill through the Senate, 10 Republicans would be needed to vote yes for the bill to reach President Biden’s office.
The act—alongside the legalization of marijuana—is what the people want though, and Will Katcher of MassLive addresses this in his article titled, “US House of Representatives to vote on legalizing marijuana Friday,” saying that: “68 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing marijuana nationally—a record high rate, and double as many as 20 years ago. Democrats and political independents widely agree that cannabis should be legal, while Republicans are evenly split on the matter” (1). With the widespread approval among citizens, it seems justified for the government to listen to the people on the matter and listen to what they want, which is to give people the opportunity to utilize cannabis to the best of their abilities, whether it be for pleasure or for work.
The MORE act has substantial benefits to society as well, while also bringing closure in the process. As said in the bill, its focus is to expunge cannabis related crimes, while also putting a tax on marijuana and allowing states to do what they please when it comes to creating their own cannabis laws. As of right now, there are 37 states that have cannabis legalized at a medicinal level, 18 of which, alongside Washington D.C., have it legalized recreationally, the state of Massachusetts included. With marijuana federally legalized, not only would the government see a substantial growth in tax revenue that is projected in the billions, more importantly, people would be exonerated from prison over crimes involving a legal drug in nearly half the states in the country. On top of this, millions of jobs would be created, as marijuana bars and mom and pop shops would become popularized alongside dispensaries, and farmers would be able to make money on the cannabis that they grow, with the biggest benefit being that it can grow throughout the year with the help of tents and warm climates in southern states.
Granted, though many believe that marijuana is a harmless drug that should be legalized for the benefit of the people, others believe otherwise, which is why the recent Medical Marijuana Research Act was implemented in the first place. Some lawmakers, predominantly Republicans, believe that marijuana is seen as a “gateway drug” that adds fuel to the fire that is the opioid epidemic. The reason behind the use of the act, which was passed in a 343–75 vote, is to allow for the research of different strains of weed among different dispensaries, which would help scientists and lawmakers understand the effects that potency has among people who use cannabis.
Cannabis has always been stigmatized because of its listing on the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, but the reality of it is that people make it out as one of the worst drugs this planet beholds, despite the effects of alcohol and tobacco being far worse. Something needs to change within the U.S. government that will help put the thought that cannabis legalization helps better the lives of many people into the limelight, whether it be job creation, leisure or medicinal reasons. When research is conducted, and people see that weed is not as bad as those in power make it seem, then hopefully there will be a change in society when it comes to promoting the thoughts and opinions of the people.

About the Contributors
Nick Collins, Sports Editor
Bianca Oppedisano, Illustrator