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The legalization of marijuana in the United States of America is a very controversial topic in today’s society. For those who may not be familiar, Marijuana, known scientifically as cannabis, is a plant that contains tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC for short. When smoked, cannabis gives a psychoactive effect, or a high feeling. Cannabis is used medicinally and for recreational drug use. Cannabis has been medically approved by the government in 29 states, but the fight is still on for recreational use. Currently 9 states have approved marijuana for medical and recreational use. There are basically two sides to the debate of whether marijuana should be legal for recreational use and there are pros and cons for both sides. In my opinion, legalizing marijuana may be the better situation for both parties. By compromising and legalizing marijuana across the nation, marijuana can be used for medical purposes, it would reduce crime by reducing the need for the illegal shipment of marijuana to the United States from other countries, therefore, saving law enforcement tons of money, and create thousands of jobs in the marijuana industry. With that being said, there should still be strict policies in place to prevent the sale of marijuana to students and minors. 
One main stakeholder that supports the legalization of marijuana is the “United States Marijuana Party”. They are for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. One of their main claims is that, “The War on Drugs causes more harm than the drugs themselves ever will.” (U.S. Marijuana Party, 2015) Per year, the war on drugs in America costs $51 Billion. (Drug Policy Alliance) By legalizing marijuana, this would take the cost of the war on drugs down significantly, as marijuana is one of the leading drugs coming into America from other countries, and now it is even getting shipped from states where the drug is legal, such as Colorado and California. The U.S. Marijuana Party also takes aim at law enforcement and wants to make a change. They claim that there are more violent criminals walking around then people using and selling marijuana and that they “demand the release of all people imprisoned on marijuana charges and that their criminal records be expunged.” (U.S. Marijuana Party) They also are calling for the right to grow marijuana for recreational use, “just as alcohol can be brewed at home legally and so long that it is not sold it should therefore remain untaxed.” (U.S. Marijuana Party).
The next stakeholder is almost the complete opposite from the U.S. Marijuana Party. The Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, also known as C.A.L.M for short, is just what their name says they are. They are a volunteer run group that strictly opposes the legalization of marijuana. Their stance is that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use and medical use would bring more harm than good to the country and people that use it. “Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) takes the position that Federal laws against the use, cultivation, and transportation of marijuana should be maintained and enforced and should not be relaxed or softened. Cultivation, processing, transportation and use are illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.” (Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, 2016) Marijuana staying out of the hands of the youth in our country is also very important to the C.A.L.M. They claim that “The normalization, expanded use, and increased availability of marijuana in our communities are detrimental to our youth, to public health, and to the safety of our society.” (Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana. 
With these two big stakeholders in the fight to legalize marijuana or not, they do have one big similarity. They are very different, but they do have common ground, and that is they are both fighting for something that they believe in very strongly. One thing that both parties have in common is that they both seem to want to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors. The U.S. Marijuana Party says that they, “seek to remove all penalties for adults 18 and over who choose to consume cannabis in a responsible manner.” (U.S. Marijuana Party, 2015) The Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana combats that by stating claims that if young people under the age of 18 years old get their hands on marijuana it can cause permanent damage to them in the future and are also at greater risk of becoming addicted to marijuana. “Young people are 6 times more likely to develop psychosis, 3 times more likely to have hallucinations, and 4 times more likely to have delusions.” (Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana) The Office of National Drug Control Policy states, along with CALM, that “17% of those under 18 will become addicted to marijuana.” This is a very good common goal to have between these two very different stakeholders. Our youth is very important in the future of our country and if marijuana is legalized, it should only be accessible to responsible, of-age citizens. 
There is a way to please both sides in the debate over the legalization of marijuana for recreational use by coming to a compromise. Unfortunately for the Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, part of the compromise would be legalizing marijuana to the public for recreational use. This would come with many catches so that it would not be free reign for everybody with marijuana. By legalizing marijuana we would cut down on so much money being spent to try to keep marijuana away. The fight against marijuana costs billions every year. By simply letting citizens of legal age smoke marijuana recreationally, we would save billions of dollars. It is reported that marijuana legalization would save the government $7.7 billion annually. It would also create $6.2 billion if it were taxed similarly to tobacco and alcohol products (Miron, 2) Not everyone would have to smoke marijuana and it could be treated similarly to cigarettes. There would still be many catches and laws enforced that would go along with the legalization of marijuana, mainly involving keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors and irresponsible citizens. The Drug Enforcement Agency says that it “is concerned about the negative impact of medical marijuana on youth. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the many adverse development, cognitive, medical, psychiatric, and addictive effects of marijuana.” (Drug Enforcement Agency, 2011) Legalizing marijuana could actually make it easier to keep marijuana out of the hands of minors. By opening up dispensaries and stores, that would sell marijuana, it would reduce the need for drug dealers that would be selling marijuana. Most dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal, the age to buy is 21 years old. It should stay that way across the whole country. This would go along with the Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana’s fight to keep the plant out of the hands of minors. The U.S. Marijuana Party would have to give up complete freedom of recreational marijuana by still having some laws put in place to keep the world safe and make sure future generations thrive. In conclusion, the compromise to settle the argument on the legalization of marijuana would be to go ahead and legalize it. By doing this it would save a ton of money for out government. There would still be strict laws about the sale of marijuana to minors, similar to the sale of alcohol. By reaching this compromise, both stakeholder parties would get something that they want and the debate over this controversial plant would end. 

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