July 21, 2013
Dr. Monica Galante
Do you know that the United States government spends about 8.26 million dollars annually in the attempt to keep marijuana off of the streets (Moffatt, 2012)? For many years, the United States government has prohibited marijuana from being sold in our nation. Even though marijuana is prohibited in the United States teens and adults still find a way to purchase it whenever they want. Even with the prohibition, marijuana use has only decreased minimally. Due to marijuana being illegal only the negative aspects of marijuana use has been made known to the world. However, people are unaware of the many positive aspects of marijuana legalization. The legalization of marijuana will help increase the nation’s resources and economy. The war on drugs has become over the years a very expensive battle. A great deal of resources go into capturing those who sell and buy illegal drugs on the street. Going through the process of prosecuting the drug dealers and drug users in court and housing them in jail is costing the government millions of dollars annually. These costs seem particularly extreme when it comes to the drug marijuana (Moffatt, 2012). This war on drugs causes huge revenue lost by the government because they cannot collect taxes on illegal drugs such as marijuana (Moffatt, 2012). In the study conducted by Economist Stephen T. Easton, “The study estimates that if the average price of 0.5 grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of production was only $1.70. In a free market a $6.90 profit for a unit of marijuana would not last long” (Moffatt, 2012). In another study by Stephen T. Easton, he breaks down the profits that they government would receive if they were to legalize and tax marijuana. He states, “If we substitute a tax on marijuana cigarettes equal to the different between the local production cost and the street price people currently pay—that is, transfer the revenue from the current producer and marketer (many of whom work with organized crime) to the government, leaving all over marketing and transportation issues aside we will have revenue of (say) $7 per [unit]” (Moffatt, 2012).
The interesting thing about the street price of marijuana is that it remains the exact same price, it never changes. However, the demand for marijuana would change if it was to become legalized. Legalization of marijuana would eliminate the risk of drug dealers and drug users being arrested if caught selling or buying marijuana. Prisons have become overcrowded over the years and the price of keeping a person in jail is very costly. Why are we wasting tax payer’s money on housing those in jail that are only convicted of simple marijuana possession? Because of the high crime rates and the law choosing to make not so wise decisions on who to imprison people with non-violent marijuana offenses are being convicted which is making the prison population higher. If the government would look into the cost being spent on housing these non-violent marijuana dealers and users they would see that some type of change needs to be made possibly legalization. This would cause the demand of marijuana to increase which would make the government profit and the economy and resources would gain from it but only if the government was to legalize marijuana.
Drugs are a taboo subject in the United States, mostly because people are not educated or misled by government education. In the early 1970’s until present we were always told that marijuana destroyed brain cells, lowered sperm count, and led to breast development in males (Grinspoon, 139). So far, there has not been a single case of lung cancer reported due to marijuana use (Grinspoon 139). Marijuana has many medical benefits and has been proven to help with certain diseases and pain such as, Glaucoma, chronic pain, epilepsy, migraines, AIDS wasting syndrome...
References: Clendaniel, M. (2012, November 13). The Insane Economics Not Legalizing Marijuana In One Handy Infographic: Retrieved from http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679641/the-insane-economics-of-not-legalizing-marijuana-in-one-handy-infographic.
Crosley, H. (2012). Will Washington Legalize Weed? Retrieved from http://theroot.com
Grinspoon, Lester. “Should Marijuana be Legalized as a Medicine? Yes it’s a Beneficial Drug.”
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