Should We Legalize Marijuana?
The plant Cannabis Sativa, a plant that has taken the spotlight of the world, it is a plant that has angered, confused, obsessed, and even mesmerized many people throughout history and today. This plant is otherwise known as Marijuana. Abraham Lincoln said, "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason, in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles, upon which our government was founded." This statement still applies in today’s society in regard to the illegal use of marijuana. The ban on Marijuana causes more harm than the plant itself. The legalization of marijuana could benefit the country medically and economically by increasing revenue and treating symptoms of many illnesses.
Thanks to the culmination of international laws, Marijuana is under new speculation, review, public image, and attention than ever before. Countries are legalizing it, whereas other countries are criminalizing it; some states are decriminalizing it while their country is against it! So it comes down to the argument of it all, and hope that enough people around the world will follow the correct path and stance on the subject. Marijuana should be legal because it is a natural herb that for thousands of years has been used, it is impossible to become physically addicted to, as well as impossible to overdose or die from, and it is far less harmful than alcohol or tobacco; yet those are legal. Why is tobacco, something that kills an average of 36,000 people in the United States a month is legal, while Marijuana is not?
I would say money, and economic reasons are behind that hideous truth. But imagine if Marijuana were legal, if one were to be of age to purchase it, they could go to a designated store and buy it legally. An estimated 1.4 billion United States dollars a year are spent on illegal Marijuana. If the government were to regulate it, they would get a cut too. Not only would the government save billions of dollars a year, but they would make millions a year! The country has spent over $400 billion throughout the course of the American drug prohibition attempt and at this moment might be a wise time to ask, "Are we making any progress?" The War on Drugs has unsuccessful, and the collateral damage of pursuing drug prohibition has left America in a horrible state, struck with both social and economic problems. US Arrests according to Get the Facts
“Within days of prohibition repeal, thousands of judges, prosecutors, and police would be freed to catch, try, and imprison violent career criminals who commit 50 to 100 serious crimes per year when on the loose, including robbery, rape, and murder.”(Ostrowski, 1991. para 3). While the intent of a “War on Drugs” may have been geared toward drug smugglers and “King Pins,” the US Dept of Justice (2010) website states over half of the 1,663,582 total 2009 arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana. It costs approximately $18,000 a year to keep a convict in Prison. So if Marijuana were to be legalized, not only would that drastically cut down the amount of undeserving prisoners we have in our overflowing prisons, we would also cut down the future amount of harder drugs users.
Taking a more in-depth look at the revenue some legalized uses of marijuana will create exemplifies its assistance to the economy. The government could tax marijuana that is sold in stores; by doing this they could ensure the increase of funds for the economy. A joint could cost someone five dollars, the government would tax this joint by five percent therefore making $.25 per joint. Research has shown that 19.4 million Americans used marijuana at least once a year, of which 3.1 million use it daily. Assuming that the 3.1 million users are multiple daily users of two-three joints per day, current national consumption can be figured to exceed 12 to 24 million...
References: ProCon.org. (2011, January 9). Deaths from Marijuana v. 17 FDA-Approved Drugs. Retrieved from http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000145#mjdeaths
"Crime in the United States 2009," FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2010), Table 29, http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_29.html and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations, http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/arrests/index.html.
Medical Marijuana and the Mind. (2010). Harvard Mental Health Letter, 26(10), 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
DrugWarFacts.org. (2011, October). Get the Facts. Retrieved from http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Marijuana#Total
Hanson, D. J. (2008). The Theory That Some Drugs Have a Gateway Effect Is Debatable. Opposing Viewpoints: Gateway Drugs. Retrieved from Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.
Ostrowski, J. "Legalizing Drugs Will Solve America 's Drug Problem." Current
Controversies: Drug Trafficking. Ed. Karin L. Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1991. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center.
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