Justice Pinter, Giulia Bratosin, Elizabeth Ballman, Gabrielle Hernandez Mr. Green
AP English 11
October 25th, 2013
The drug war is failing, and people arrested and imprisoned for marijuana use are not cured of their habit during time spent in jail. Since 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared a war on drug abuse, the government has been ineffectual in their fight against illegal drug abuse. From 1997 to 2006, the New York City Police Department arrested and jailed more than 353,000 people simply for possessing small amounts of marijuana. This was eleven times more marijuana arrests than in the previous decade, and ten times more than in the decade before that. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that from 1994 to 2001 the number of 12th graders that had tried marijuana in their life had increased by 10%, and the number of 12th graders that used marijuana every day had increased by 42%. These statistics clearly demonstrate the futility of this proclaimed war on drugs. The numerous positive outcomes that will inevitably accompany the legalization of marijuana, compounded upon the failure of the war against drugs, make legalization of marijuana the obvious best choice for our country’s future. The legalization of marijuana would boost the economy, provide for social stability, and open new medical opportunities.
The illegal import of drugs into the United States is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, all of the profit going to criminals, killers, and dangerous organizations. If marijuana were legalized and regulated, the marijuana black market would be entirely eliminated and the immense expenditure on both the war on drugs and the sale of drugs could be turned to far more practical applications. Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Harvard University reports that the government would save $7.7 billion a year if it didn't have to spend money policing and prosecuting marijuana activity. Then, if the feds taxed marijuana at a rate comparable to cigarettes and alcohol, they would receive another $6.2 billion in revenue. Lots of that money -- both the cost savings and the tax money -- would go to the states that right now are facing budget crunches because of a slowdown in federal funds. The remainder would go to the federal government, which has deficits of its own. Miron further reports that the creation of a marijuana industry would generate more than 100,000 jobs. The taxes generated by legal marijuana sale would be more than enough to fully fund a thorough and expansive drug treatment program, helping those who wish to quit marijuana and other illegal drugs, and rendering aid to those who need it. The money saved on police budgeting from the war on drugs could also be more wisely spent, allowing police to focus on gangs, violence, organized crime, and the prosecution of dangerous, violent criminals. According to Whitney A. Taylor, the CSMP campaign manager, “Massachusetts’ taxpayers spend $29.5 million a year just to arrest and book marijuana offenders. Even more costly is the creation of a criminal record for the approximately 750,000 offenders arrested every year.” The legal sale of marijuana would be a significant financial boon both to private citizens who choose to enter the industry and the United States government who can, and should, tax the use of the drug heavily. When financially-strapped Midwestern farmers are selling corn for no more than a few dollars a bushel, it is apparent why they would turn to the growing of marijuana, which sells for more than 70,000 dollars a bushel. Though it is currently illegal, marijuana has replaced corn as America’s number one cash crop. Legalization of marijuana would not only cut funds required to control the illegal distribution and use of the drug, but would also provide an enormous economic boost to those who became involved in what would become a multi-billion dollar industry.
The legalization and mass distribution of...
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