Legalizing marijuana here has caused a problem that you don't often hear of and that is increased homelessness and rampant heroin use. Our homeless population now consists of those who travelled here for legal marijuana and eventually turned to heroin as it's a fraction of the cost. Now we have groups of young men on our streets struggling with addiction, increased violence and harassment. It's truly a nightmare.
When it comes to drug addiction, you start somewhere. People who try cigarettes at a young age often go on to marijuana/cannabis/weed later. Then, as they become more connected and look for bigger hits, they get into harder drugs. It's a slippery slope. Marijuana opens the door to the drugs community, as people become more resistant to the softer drugs and look for harder ones. People psychologically assume that if this drug is OK, that one must also be OK, and it very slowly escalates. No one starts injecting themselves with heroin or snorting cocaine off the bat. I can guarantee that they started lower on the ladder, with a drug like marijuana. Not to mention that while you cannot overdose on marijuana, and that it has no short-term health defects, it causes as much damage to your lungs as a cigarette, and when your brain starts to fall apart in your old age, you will be worse than your sober peers. Marijuana is also known to hasten the onset of schizophrenia, paranoia etc.
I have lost a lot of friends due to them being introduced to this drug at a young age. I can barely catch them on a day when they're not high from marijuana or something else that they've gotten into.
The notion that marijuana is some sort of gateway drug is mid-90's Drug Enforcement Administration propaganda, and nothing more. There is absolutely no proof that consuming marijuana leads to anything more serious than calling Domino's at midnight for a large pizza. Drug addiction has not risen in states such as California, where it's semi legal.
Legalizing marijuana would stop the need to make and use synthetic marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is very dangerous, one example is the Florida man eating and killing a homeless person. There are several examples of synthetic marijuana causing users to become oddly violent or developing stronger addiction needs. Marijuana should be legal, just as tobacco and liquor.
Marijuana is not a gateway drug. It has absolutely no influence, association, or correlation with heavier drugs. People who use marijuana likely won't even go near heavier drugs. If anything, legalization will make it less likely, because drug dealers won't be able to get to mild drug users. Lastly, marijuana isn't even a physically addictive substance.
I think that people who want drugs are going to find a way get them, whether or not they are legal. It makes no sense to me to assume that the illegality of drugs is the primarily thing that is keeping people from getting them and getting addicted; I know that I personally wouldn't use drugs even if they were legal and I know plenty of other people who think the same way. So, I don't think there is a connection here.
Legalizing marijuana gives the FDA a chance to regulate the amount of THC in marijuana. There are already millions of Americans addicted to tobacco products and alcohol, so marijuana is the least of our worries. Meth is the real problem. Make it harder for meth heads to produce the drug and addicts will decline. Legalized marijuana frees up billions of dollars in our justice system and prevents illegal drugs from Mexico. Even better, marijuana can be taxed.
I do not believe that legalizing marijuana would cause drug addiction to rise. With marijuana illegal, there are already plenty of people who are addicted to drugs. In fact, I feel that legalizing marijuana may actually reduce drug addiction to more harmful drugs, such as methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Studies have shown that many Americans already smoke marijuana, with most of those people not involved with other, more dangerous drugs.