The fact that this billboards are legal is indicative of the ubiquity of prescription drug abuse. The number one illegal substance at various levels in America, according to the federal government, is alcohol. And it’s not even close—more people die annually from drinking alcohol than dying from heroin or any other illicit drug combined. Alcohol kills about 88,000 Americans every year and causes approximately $200 billion dollars worth of damage to society each year through drunk driving crashes alone. Legalizing marijuana will only increase its availability which would lead to more deaths and injuries due to its use by adults over the age of 21 who have no medical need for it whatsoever.
But when I see a billboard with a picture of what appears to be someone dead on the ground next to an open bag labeled “cannabis” I can’t help but wonder how many lives could potentially be saved if all states legalized medicinal marijuana instead? How many individuals daily suffer in pain without being able afford their medication because they reside in one state where weed is still illegal while living in another state where it has been made legal? Could legalization save thousands or millions if not billions in healthcare expenses? Shouldn’t we wait until legalization occurs before making judgement calls like this? Isn’t compassion something we should demand as humans first and foremost before making decisions based purely on profit motives? As much as I believe there are reasonable arguments against legalizing weed (such as public health concerns), legalization doesn’t