All the studies I have seen when it comes to legalizing Marijuana lead to the decrease in usage. This is mostly in teens and people that do it because it is something they are told not to do. Legalizing it will allow people to not feel fearful and hide their usage from the public. This will allow the appropriate people to regulate and restrict the use with out punishing just for possession.
Legalizing it would also increase studies and allow good crops to be grown and tested not only for benefits, but for the harmful effects it may have.
Consider the prohibition of alcohol in the United States. During this time, the number of speakeasies was significantly greater than the amount of liquor stores, taverns, and bars today. The rate people hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning was six times that of today. Strange that there would be MORE users in its blanket prohibition. It seems that people want to partake of the forbidden fruit, in illegality, substances aren't as exciting.
But we aren't talking about alcohol here. Cannabis has been legalized for a long time in the Netherlands, so we should consider the usage there compared to other countries under marijuana prohibition:
Percent of citizens using the drug in the past year
United States: 13.7%
In fact, the Netherlands is near the bottom of the list of western countries, 52nd internationally.
What does this tell us? Prohibition does nothing to inhibit the use of substances. Considering alcohol prohibition, the demand did not shrink but grow. Why? Because people are a bit more complicated than policy makers want to believe. Simply making a substance illegal will not prevent use. In turn, repealing the illegality may very well decrease usage.
It would decrease because it wouln't give people as much of a thrill to do something wrong.
"Dr. K. F. Gunning, president of the Dutch National Committee on Drug Prevention, cites some revealing statistics about drug abuse and crime. Cannabis use among students increased 250 percent from 1984 to 1992. During the same period, shootings rose 40 percent, car thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups rose 69 percent."
Legalization of marijuana would not significantly change the amount of its use. The people have already made their choice. Those predisposed to use marijuana will continue to use it, whether it is legal or not. Those who do not use marijuana will probably not start using it, just because it is legalized. However, legalizing marijuana would allow it to be taxed and controlled.
Right now, marijuana is considered an illegal drug by the federal government. Despite this fact, it is widely used and often recommended for alleviating pain associated with cancer treatments. Many people don't take advantage of marijuana's medicinal properties because of the legal ramifications. Legalizing marijuana would lift this barrier, and possibly lead to increased marijuana use in the short term.
As it is now a lot of people are doing Marijuana.
A lot of people are not, however, due to the fact that it is illegal, and people don't want to risk doing it enough to get in trouble for it. By legalizing it, you are taking away a vast majority of peoples reasons not to use Marijuana.
Legalizing marijuana would not decrease the use of it. The law is there to help deter people from using the drug and it does its job with many people. If we legalize marijuana then all the people not using it because they don't want to be in trouble will now become users.
When has legalizing anything decreased the usage of it? Now everyone who's already using it can keep using it freely, and it's likely other people will start to use it as well.