Legalization of Marijuana
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The legalization of marijuana has been questionable for many many years now, but
the government just seems to always decline. I feel that marijuana should be legalized.
There are many reasons for and against legalization, but the arguments for it outweigh the
arguments against it. I believe marijuana should be legalized for three main reasons.
Legalization will bring in much needed tax dollars, it will free up prisons and their
resources, and it will save the U.S tons of money.
If marijuana is legalized, it can be taxed by the federal government, like alcohol
and cigarettes are now. If this is done, not only will the government save millions of
dollars on searching for marijuana, the government will make billions of dollars off the sale
of marijuana which can be used for drug education programs to help educate the youth of
America. In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local
authorities) participate in the "War on Drugs." We currently spend billions of dollars every
year to chase peaceful people who happen to like to get high. These people get locked up
in prison and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health
care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to lock these people up. This is
extremely expensive! If you must know, it costs taxpayers like you and me $42,000 a year
to keep just one criminal in jail. That's more than twice the amount citizens spend on
sending their children to school. Taxpayers only spend a dissapointing $13,000 a year for
public schooling. We could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if we stop
wasting money locking people up for having marijuana. In addition, if marijuana were
legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more
money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes.
According to The Report of the Task Force on Cannabis Regulation to the Center for the
Study of Drug Policy, "marijuana is one of the largest tax-exempt industries in the country
today." 10-15 billion dollars a year could be made simply by legalizing cannabis. Hemp,
the nonpsychoactive version of the plant, has many, many uses but is outlawed by the U.S.
government. Hemp is an incredibly strong fiber that can be used for ropes, clothes and
cloth. Its seed can be used in many industrial applications. The seed can also be used for
animal and human consumption. Paper can be made from the fiber of hemp. Legalizing
marijuana will allow our industries to grow and allow our government to make billions of
dollars annually off the taxation of marijuana and hemp.
According to a study done by Ethan Nadelmann and Jann Wenner, "approximately
500,000 people each year are arrested for possession, sale or manufacture of marijuana.
This money could go to drug treatment and prevention, but instead it goes to keeping
someone in jail." If these criminals were released, jails would be much less crowded and
the chances of rehabilitating a convict will only increase as crowding decreases. People
become more angry and are quicker to be become violent than if we are in an environment
that is not overcrowded.
For teenagers, one of the big kicks of using marijuana is that it is illegal, it is a
way to rebel against society. If marijuana is legalized, part of the thrill of using it will be
taken away. I am not trying to say that legalization will wipe out the use of marijuana, in
fact during the first few years of legalization, usage will probably rise. But as more and
more generations of people grow up knowing that marijuana is legal, less and less
people will start using it because it's "thrill of rebellion" will have been taken away.
The decriminalization and legalization of marijuana will benefit America by
increasing revenue for the government, decreasing the overcrowded prisons, and
taking the thrill of using our of marijuana are three main reasons for legalization.
Economy, prisons and rebellion among teenagers are not the only reasons marijuana
should be legalized, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
There is also the issue of all the Pro-Marijuana clubs and organizations, such as
NORML that exist today constantly trying their hardest to legalize drugs such as
Marijuana. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws also known as
NORML was founded in 1970, an advocate for legalizing marijuana. During the 1970s,
NORML led the successful efforts to decriminalize minor marijuana offenses in 11 states
and lower penalties in all others. Though the movement eventually fell victim to the "war
on drugs," NORML has remained the nation's principal organization dedicated to ending
marijuana prohibition. Today NORML serves as an informational resource to the national
media on marijuana-related stories; lobbies state and federal legislators to permit the
medical use of marijuana and to reject recent attempts to treat minor marijuana offenses
more harshly; and serves as the umbrella group for a national network of citizen activists
committed to ending marijuana prohibition. Also in Washington, hundreds of students
from all over the US gather for the "Student Leaders in Drug Policy and Justice
Conference?The DARE Generation Speaks Out", hosted by Students for Sensible Drug
Policy (www.ssdp.org), November 10 and 11, 2001. Ranging from high-school age to all
levels of university, kids and young adults packed the rooms at George Washington
University, listening to numerous freethinkers, politicians, and drug war reform advocates.
Organized by SSDP National Director Shawn Heller, with the help of Carolyn Lunman
and other SSDP volunteers, the rooms were filled with eager, attentive, youths all trying
to figure out ways for abolishing the war on some drugs and users. Topics covered in
lectures and breakaway classes included the Higher Education Act of 1998, which denies
students who've received drug convictions federal aid for college; harm reduction and club
drugs, engaging communities affected by the War on Drugs, international drug policy, and
zero-tolerance policies on campus.
Prohibition does not help the country in any way, and causes a lot of problems.
There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several
theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use. One unintended effect
of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools. Why?
Because it is available. "You don't have to be 21 to buy weed -- marijuana dealers
such as myself don't care how old you are as long as you have the cash. It is actually
easier for high school students to get pot than it is for them to get alcohol, because alcohol
is legal which is regulated to keep it away from kids." A student who wishes to remain
anonymous informs me of. If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should
focus on open and honest programs to educate youth, regulation to keep drugs away from
kids, and treatment programs for people with drug problems. But the current prohibition
idea does not allow such reasonable approaches to marijuana; instead we are stuck with
'DARE' police officers spreading lies about drugs in schools, and policies that result in jail
time rather than treatment for people with drug problems. The government tried
prohibition with alcohol, and that failed miserably.
In conclusion, Marijuana should be legalized because there isn't enough proof or
reasoning to label it as a bad thing. I think if God made it we should use it regardless of
what the government thinks. Maybe someday they will see it my way after all.
Freeman, Sally. Drugs And Civilization. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
Schleichert, Elizabeth. Marijuana. New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, 1996.
Nadelmann, Ethan and Jann Wenner of http://www.mpp.org/
DuPont L, Robert M.D. Gateway Drugs. New York: American Psychiatric Press, INC, 1984.