Even if a given American has no desire to ever consume cannabis, they still stand to benefit from its federal legalization. Keeping the social, economic, and safety interests of the public in mind, the need to end the arbitrary prohibition of cannabis is overwhelmingly apparent. The prohibition of personal consumables—especially those that have been demonstrated to be comparatively safer than others—has been largely ineffective. When the federal government declares an entire industry to be illegal, that doesn’t mean the industry will cease to exist, rather, it simply means that they entire industry will be pushed underground and well beyond the government’s ability to control.
When the consumption of alcohol was made illegal in the United States in the 1920s, that didn’t stop people from consuming it. Instead, the prohibition of alcohol created an entire network of underground businesses that were void of all safety measures and largely dependent on the constant use of violence. Eventually, the American people recognized that the prohibition of alcohol created more harm than good and sought to reestablish an industry that could be safely regulated and controlled by the government. Now, it is time we choose to do the same with the cannabis industry. Keeping cannabis illegal in the United States empowers the black market and promotes the existence of violent organizations that are enabling its supply. Because the black market infrastructure already exists (largely as a result of cannabis prohibition), the distribution and acquisition of harder drugs—such as heroin and methamphetamine—has become more profitable and possible than ever before. Legalizing cannabis is the surest way to promote public safety. The legalization of cannabis will disempower the organizations operating on the black market and it will give the government an opportunity to have at least some sort of safety-oriented oversight.
As a side benefit, federal legalization will also enable the taxation of cannabis that has already been proven to be incredibly beneficial in those states in which it is already legal. Additionally, legalization will help minimize the needless imprisonment of non-violent offenders. The United States already has the highest prison population of any nation in the world as it is. Because the social, economic, safety, and tax benefits of cannabis are clearly overwhelming, the federal legalization of the plant seems to be something that is clear common sense—regardless if you plan to ever consume it or not.