(NaturalNews) The recent legalization of cannabis in both Washington state and Colorado -- and many other states are poised to follow suit in the coming months and years -- remains a major point of contention for many social conservatives who still view the plant as an illicit drug rather than the all-natural medicine and food that it actually is. But a growing number of right-leaning media outlets are coming forward to urge the conservative base to relax: there is nothing to fear from putting an end to cannabis prohibition.
In a recent column for The Daily Caller, Michael Anissimov, founder of More Right, sets the record straight on cannabis, rectifying everything from the entrenched misperception that cannabis is some kind of "gateway" drug to expounding upon the immense economic benefits associated with legalization. No matter how you look at it, ending cannabis prohibition just makes sense, he writes to his mostly conservative audience.
"More and more law enforcement officials are coming forward in favor of cannabis legalization, arguing that legalization would disempower gangs and bring the business into the sunlight, removing the criminal element," writes Anissimov.
This is just one positive element to legalization among many, of course, but it is an important one that many still opposed to legalization fail to consider. Cannabis, which the media for decades has disparagingly referred to as "marijuana," is always going to be around whether it is legal or not. So regardless of one's personal opinion on the merits of cannabis, the real question is whether or not we as a society want it to be peddled in dark alleys by criminal street gangs or grown and sold by law-abiding citizens.
Cannabis is nothing like heroin, cocaine
Because of its categorization at the federal level as a Schedule I drug, cannabis is also still perceived by many people to be on par with heroin and cocaine in terms of its alleged health risks and addictiveness. But science simply does not support this ideology. On the contrary, cannabis is increasingly being shown to be a type of "superfood," in that it feeds special cell membrane receptors throughout the body that appear to have been specifically designed for the cannabinoid compounds found naturally in cannabis.
"The critics of marijuana legalization have trouble getting their arguments straight, and oppose it based on a visceral cultural revulsion, rather than science or reason," adds Anissimov. "There is no scientific evidence that marijuana is 'similar to heroin and cocaine.' If anything, it is more similar to caffeine -- the effects rarely last longer than 2-3 hours, and are extremely mild."
Ending cannabis prohibition will kickstart economy
Then there is the issue of revenue potential for state and local governments. During the first week of January, when cannabis was legalized for recreational sale in Colorado, the Centennial State garnered more than $5 million in cannabis sales, roughly half-a-million of which will go directly to the state of Colorado to pay for things like new schools.
"[Colorado] projects $600 million in total sales annually, bringing in $70 million in tax revenue," opines Anissimov. "That means less fiscal pressure to introduce or maintain other forms of business-strangling taxation."
By continuing to prohibit the growth, sale and even use of cannabis in most states and at the federal level, American society is inadvertently sloughing off billions of dollars in revenue to the dregs of society, e.g., criminal growers and dealers, often from across the border; local street gangs; and other criminal elements.
Ending cannabis prohibition, in other words, offers law-abiding citizens the opportunity to take back control of one of the fastest growing elements of our national economy, and get the government out of the business of policing morality -- after all, isn't smaller government a pillar of the conservative platform?
Be sure to read Anissimov's full editorial on why the "right" needs to rethink its position on cannabis here: http://dailycaller.com.