English 11 Advanced
Legalization of Marijuana
Marijuana was used as an herbal remedy for hundreds of years in China, and Asia. In the 1930s, the newly founded Federal Bureau of Narcotics launched an unscientific campaign that claimed the use of marijuana provoked insanity, homicidal tendencies, and uncontrollable sexual desires. Their bias campaign worked, and by 1937 the U.S. Government outlawed its use. (Soros). By looking deeper into the subject one can see the true effects this drug has had on society, and the possible benefits that can be reaped if it is legalized. Through the decriminalization of marijuana, societies can reap the benefits of an improved economy, a reduction in violence, and better health for many.
The legalization of marijuana would have a positive effect from an economic standpoint. The taxation and regulation of the drug is just one way it can benefit society financially. “We all know there is a market for marijuana, but right now the profits are all going to drug cartels or underground,” said Brian Vincente. The opportunity is there, but the nation as a whole needs to take advantage of it. According to the Wall Street Journal, if marijuana could be taxed nationwide the result could be billions of dollars in tax revenue. Oakland, California is one city taking advantage of this new source of income, and was able to raise $1.4 million from only a few dispensaries in 2011 alone (Cooper). It is clear that the economy of the U.S. is in bad shape. In fact the United States is roughly sixteen and a half trillion dollars in debt (US national debt calculator). In these hard times, every financial opportunity should be taken advantage of. But where would all this tax money go? “This general fund revenue all goes into the melting pot,” said David Mcpherson, Oakland’s tax administrator. Oregon’s new law, known as the Cannabis Tax Act, would devote 90% of marijuana profits to their states general fund (Wyatt). California is not the only state in need of extra income. For many struggling states, every little bit helps, and this extra income could be the difference between laying off a police officer or shutting off street lights. Records show that tax revenues are only on the rise in states that legalizes the medical use of marijuana. Washington State, which has just recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, projected that legal pot could produce nearly $2 billion in tax dollars over a five year period (Wyatt). According to Kristen Wyatt there are currently 17 states that collect pot taxes in violation of the federal law. These states have only had positive outcomes from their decision to go legal.
Marijuana is currently the most widely used illegal substance in the U.S. (McKay). In fact, 5 million Americans use pot every day according to the editorial staff. This costs the government millions in criminal justice expenses (Soros). Border patrol is just one costly aspect of enforcing marijuana laws. John McKay from the Vancouver Sun states, “I have spent much of my legal career fighting crime, often in an admittedly futile effort to suppress the gang activity stemming from the cross border marijuana trade”. Illegal or not, users will continue to get a steady supply of pot in spite of law enforcements tireless efforts. Some teens even say it is easier to get their hands on marijuana than alcohol. Law enforcement simply cannot intercept anywhere near enough marijuana to suppress the underground market. When a bust is made they are only creating an opportunity for new players to enter the game (McKay).
A large number of inmates in prison are incarcerated due to marijuana related crimes. Through decriminalization of marijuana, overflowing prisons can see some relief, and tax dollars can be put to better use on more important issues. Oregon, a state that currently allows the medical use of marijuana, projects a...
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