closeup photo of cannabis plant

Outdated drug laws lead to barriers in medical treatment and tax revenue

Marijuana laws have not worked. Anti-marijuana propaganda, declaring a “War on Drugs, while increasing enforcement of drug laws has not reduced addiction or the effect on our society. Legislation must learn from the past instead of continuing outdated, ineffective policies. Restrictions on marijuana also diminish its availability to become utilized medicinally.

These laws encourage petty criminals to make money or support their habits. At the same time, criminal cartels capitalize on the continuing demand. Locally, police spend time enforcing drug laws, creating non-violent offenders. Criminal records, jail, and prison sentences tear families apart, leading to joblessness and poverty. At the same time, this substance relieves many medical issues.

For thousands of years, marijuana has been used as a medication to treat various ailments with little to no side effects. Menstrual cramps, nausea, and depression are common problems treated with the substance. Cancer patients and individuals who experience seizures also benefit. Historically marijuana has been traced back to 500 B.C. linking its use to medical interventions and spiritual ceremonies. However, racial and political issues propelled marijuana regulation into the hands of the government early in the 1900s. A century later, marijuana laws have minimal effect on resolving any “issues.”

The libertarian party often receives criticism for its stance on decriminalizing drugs. However, alcohol is legal, regulated, and considered a drug by substance abuse professionals. One can argue that marijuana distribution could utilize similar policies. Iowa is an agricultural state that continues to miss billions of dollars that other states have collected because they have allowed marijuana to become regulated and distributed legally. We deserve the right to have access to proven medical interventions. We deserve the right to receive financial benefits with taxation and agricultural opportunities. We deserve the right to decide what is best for ourselves as citizens.

Jeni