The Middle Ground on Marijuana

The research on more than 4,000 students, published in the Review of Economic Studies, found that those who lost access to legal marijuana showed substantial improvement in their grades. Specifically, those banned from cannabis cafes had a more than 5 percent increase in their odds of passing their courses. Low performing students benefited even more, which the researchers noted is particularly important because these students are at high-risk of dropping out. The researchers attribute their results to the students who were denied legal access to marijuana being less likely to use it and to suffer cognitive impairments (e.g., in concentration and memory) as a result. (Source)

The criminalization of marijuana and other drugs only ensures that a potential problem turns into a real one, not only on an individual level but on a larger scale. That being said, the evidence that supports the decriminalization of marijuana does NOT necessarily support the idea that using it is beneficial – especially when there is a family and/or individual history of mental health issues or addiction.

It is reasonable to be both for the legalization of marijuana because of the impact the drug war has had in the US while discouraging its use through wide-scale information campaigns. Ensuring access to treatment services for those who may need it is a lot cheaper and less intrusive than how we’ve handled the problem thus far.

Both sides of the national debate on legalization ignore relevant facts to advance their positions and interests – if we want to truly address the issue of marijuana use, each side would do well to consider more moderate positions.

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