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What are some of the arguments for legalizing weed?

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NORML, an advocacy organization, points to scientific studies that show marijuana's therapeutic uses, particularly in treating neuropathy, pain management and auto-immune disorders. They also note the relative safety of cannabis, especially compared to opiates and other prescription drugs, in that there has never been a recorded fatality due to an overdose of marijuana.

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NORM also maintains a list of national and international organizations that support legal access to medical marijuana, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Federation of American Scientists and Health Canada. Most of these organizations have first-hand knowledge of how marijuana has helped their patients.

The safety of pot for recreational use has also been tested scientifically. NBC reports that of 10 commonly used drugs, including cigarettes and alcohol, marijuana was by far deemed the safest.

Legalization would also have economic benefits. The Daily Dot reports that the United States has spend more than 1 trillion dollars on direct law enforcement since 1970. That does not include the cost of incarcerating prisoners arrested for drug offenses. Additionally, the report states that legalization could result in $45 billion in new tax revenue.

Beyond the monetary costs incurred by the criminal justice system, there are social inequities that arise as well. A New York Times story in 2013 showed that blacks were four times more likely to be arrested for possession that whites, even though both populations use the drug at similar rates.

The continued war on drugs, particularly asset forfeiture laws, has led to concerns that police departments make use of drug busts as a source of revenue. Vice magazine detailed several stories in which this has led to corruption and a dependence on the seizure of property to fund police activity.

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