Cannabis legalization has been successfully implemented in many states within the United States and its legalization in Utah is long overdue. Although medical marijuana is now legal with a provider recommendation, its recreational use is still illegal, leaving our court system and jails overloaded and people incarcerated for lengthy sentences.
Research has shown that where cannabis is legal, opioid and alcohol use and the DUI rate are lowered. Where medical cannabis is legal, opioid use, including chronic and high-risk use, went down. Studies also show that opioid overdoses are reduced as much as 25%. Research also shows that there is no increase in use among high school age youth.
In addition, legalizing cannabis would create jobs, increase tax revenue, allow for state oversight and enforcement, and provide increased funds for addiction treatment, especially that of opioids, of which Utah is in crisis mode in its attempt to mitigate these issues.
Legalizing cannabis would provide much-needed taxes in order to fund enforcement, money for treatment of those suffering from addiction, alleviating the strain on our court system, law enforcement, and jails, and allow the state to regulate its sale and consumption. It’s time for smart legislation for cannabis.
Joseph Gleed, Salt Lake City