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The legalization of marijuana is a controversial topic. Some believe that marijuana should stay illegal because they think that it's a gateway drug, addictive, and they think it just isn't good for our overall health. Some of those reasons are because it can cause nausea, breathing, and heart rate problems in some people.

Even though there are negatives, I feel that the benefits far outweigh the negatives. Some of the health benefits are that it helps treat anxiety, depression, cancer, chronic pain and many more things. Beyond that, in Illinois ,since we're in so much debt, it could help us get out of debt.

If we were to legalize marijuana, then we wouldn't have to spend as much money on people with criminal charges related to marijuana. We wouldn't have to spend as much on their housing and food, and we wouldn't have to pay for as many court proceedings either.

A study done by Harvard concludes that marijuana legalization would reduce government expenditures by $7.7 billion annually. Marijuana legalization would also generate tax revenues of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods, and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco.

Yes, steps are being taken in Illinois, but the legalization of marijuana should be on a national level and legal in all states. So I urge everyone to vote for a candidate in the 2020 presidential election who supports the legalization of marijuana.

Quentyn Duzen, Bloomington

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