There is a common misconception that people only want cannabis to be legal so they can smoke it. But the truth is that many Americans who have never even tried the herb are becoming more sympathetic to legalization. Many recognize that it is in accordance with American values.
The Land of The Free
There is a concept in political philosophy known as the non-aggression principle. This is the idea that citizens should be free to do whatever they like so long as they are not hurting anybody else. One may think that marijuana will have negative long-term effects on an individual’s life, but that is not for an outsider to dictate onto another person. Fast food will also have negative effects, but that does not mean that Big Macs should be criminalized.
If you want to convince someone to stop a negative behavior, the best approach is to use reason. Criminalization is generally an ineffective tactic, as evidenced by the rampant drug use even where drugs are illegal. People quit for their own reasons, and you can facilitate that by providing reasons and helping your friend to internalize them. Further, you might have a better opportunity to reach them if cannabis is legal. People are more likely to be ashamed of their behavior if they are engaging in something that they know is against the law.
Improve the Economy
Sale on the black market is not going to boost the local economy (especially since there is no sales tax). But with a product that is in such high demand, cannabis could conceivably be sold and taxed across the nation, creating a more profitable economic climate. Further, the taxpayer money that is spent on the so-called drug war now is daunting. By ending the drug war, the government would increase profits and reduce spending.
Filling the Prisons with Non-Violent Offenders
Interestingly, many police forces have implemented policies that target minor drug offenders. This is known as the broken window theory and it is the idea that the state can repel drug trafficking by stopping it before the youth are more deeply entrenched in the drug game. Unfortunately, this has resulted in non-violent offenders going to prison. Further, sending people to prison has reinforced their participation in a criminal lifestyle.
It Is Not Very Addictive or Harmful
You would probably prefer that a friend smoke cannabis than many of the alternatives. Since it does not have nicotine, it is not physically addictive. The addiction is psychological (but overeating can also come with a psychological addiction). There are even devices, like those at https://smokea.com/collections/one-hitters/products/smokea-small-anodized-metal-digger-one-hitter-bat,designed to deliver a single hit. It is more manageable of a habit than drinking.
There is also a worthy comparison between cannabis and alcohol. Alcohol often makes people angry, impairs their judgment and creates short-term memory problems. On the other hand, cannabis is often used as a sleep aid. It makes the user think deep thoughts, often ushering in creative activity, overzealous laughter, hunger or sleep.
Even if you are personally opposed to cannabis, people should still have the freedom to make their own decisions. Reason is a more effective motivator than coercion. But there are very few reasons one would oppose cannabis, as the effects are mild and economic gain could be enormous.