Luckily, some healthcare professionals in the addiction recovery community are starting to see the possibilities of CBD medication. In June of 2015, Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a cautiously supportive op-ed about the potential benefits of CBD. Her report states, "CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects, and the preliminary data suggest that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions." NIDA appears to be continuing it's investigation into the benefits of medical marijuana: In March of 2016, it was one of the sponsors of the Marijuana and Cannabinoids: A Neuroscience Research Summit . While this by no means indicates NIDA's categorical acceptance of medical marijuana, NIDA's involvement in such an event would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. Yet knowledge among healthcare professionals and breaking down stigma are two very different things; the politicization of medical cannabis and decades of misinformation about the drug contribute to hardened and inaccurate stereotypes about how medical marijuana can be used.
The second important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government lots of money. In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the "War on Drugs." We currently spend billions of dollars every year to chase peaceful people who happen to like to get high. These people get locked up in prison and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to lock these people up. This is extremely expensive! We could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if we stop wasting money locking people up for having marijuana. In addition, if marijuana were legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes. We would have more money to spend on important problems if marijuana were legal. The third major reason that marijuana should be legal is because prohibition does not help the country in any way, and causes a lot of problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use. One unintended effect of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools. Why? Because it is available. You don't have to be 21 to buy marijuana. Marijuana dealers usually don't care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids. If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should focus on open and honest programs to educate youth, regulation to keep drugs away from kids, and treatment programs for people with drug problems. But the current prohibition scheme does not allow such reasonable approaches to marijuana; instead we are stuck with 'DARE' police officers spreading lies about drugs in schools, and policies that result in jail time rather than treatment for people with drug problems. We tried prohibition with alcohol, and that failed miserably. We should be able to learn our lesson and stop repeating the same mistake. Prohibition does not work. Education and treatment are better ways to address the drug problem.