Alcohol is not legal because it is safe; it is legal because most of Western civilization has used the drug for thousands of years. By contrast, marijuana has always been used by a small minority of the population. Drug laws keep rates of use down, thereby lowering the negative consequences for communities. Alcohol and tobacco – two legally available drugs – provide a good example, since Americans use them far more frequently than illegal drugs.
Alcohol is in and out of your system within 24 hours; marijuana’s effects last much longer. Research has found that marijuana abusers self-report far worse outcomes than alcohol users, including more problems at home, work, or school and more mental health problems.
Evidence also finds that people often use alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco together. Rarely do users substitute alcohol for marijuana. In fact, rates of alcohol sales continue to rise in states that have legalized marijuana.