The legality of Marijuana has been subject to debate and controversy for decades. Cannabis is illegal to consume, possess, trade, cultivate and transfer in most countries. Since the beginning of mass Marijuana prohibition most countries have not re-legalized it for personal use although 10 countries have decriminalized its use in limited quantity. Medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel and 16 states in the United States of America. Over the years the number of people supporting the legalization of Marijuana has increased.
Some advocate legalization of Marijuana believing that it will reduce crime, reduce illegal immigration as well as increase tax revenue. This essay will attempt to examine all three of these factors but also investigate other factors that legalizing Marijuana will benefit. Firstly Legalizing Marijuana may increase tax revenue and consequently increase the number of jobs. California already earns around 14 billion dollars a year and it is estimated that legalizing Marijuana could generate between $1. 5 to $1. 4 (from taxing the drug) in revenue for California (Wolff).
Additionally our country as a whole spends $68 Billion a year on its prisoner’s one third of which are imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. According to an article written by Madeline Wolff in the Daily Sundial about half of these criminals are in Jail for Marijuana related crimes. This means legalizing the drug would mean spending less then $11. 3 billion less on prisons (Wolff). Legalizing Marijuana would mean generating this lost income and using this money and harnessing it to pump it back into the economy.
In addition to the added tax revenue, legalizing Marijuana would also create jobs. The distribution path from the field to the smoker is a long one. Retail Marijuana would create jobs in growing cutting, processing, distribution and sales (Illegal Immigration Statistics). Furthermore additional jobs would be created at the state and federal levels as governments may take on inspectors in order to oversea the production of Marijuana in dispensaries. The combination of creating more jobs as well as the increased tax revenue may help the United States get out of the recession it was in.
However if we legalize Marijuana some people may start smoking in the work place. This may ultimately jeopardize the efficiency of the working environment and consequently production may decrease. In order to prevent this we must establish certain regulations with smoking Marijuana just like we’ve established regulations with smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Another problem we can encounter is that if we legalize Marijuana the dealers that sold the drug may resort to harder drugs to sell. Nevertheless the hidden benefit of job creations is ultimately the reduction of crime.
According to a paper published by the United States Government Accountability Office it found that in a study that higher levels of unemployment are associated with higher levels of property crime (Nilsen) In other words someone who is struggling to support his or her family is more likely to turn to criminal activity then someone in a stable environment. The government would be senseless if it turned its back on a new market by legalizing Marijuana that would create thousands of new jobs as well as restore hopes to the communities hit hardest by the recession.
Furthermore in 2007 the Justice Department reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United State. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47. 7% of those. Additionally it costs a further $22,000 a year to house one inmate in one correctional facility. This means criminals who’ve possessed Marijuana house the majority of correctional facilities. If we legalized Marijuana we can make room in the correctional facilities for people who’ve committed much serious crimes as well as people who’ve possessed much harder drugs. Legalization will also reduce violence because it reduces the profit incentive for the dealers.
When the price of an item is legal. The price of the item will go down because it’s easier to get. This will also give authorities the ability to better control the use of the drug. Selling the Marijuana to legitimate traders will make it harder for children to obtain instead of it being available on the black market where it is much easier for children to obtain. Furthermore legalization of Marijuana may reduce peoples need to resort to harder drugs. The reason for this could be because the availability of a drug that can get you high will be enough for users of other harder drugs.
Marijuana is known to be a psychoactive drug and is quite strong depending on how much one consumes. Therefore if a person wants to get really high Marijuana has been known to produce the same euphoric yet safe sensations as other drugs. Additionally, rehab centers may be able to use Marijuana as a treatment option to help ease those addicted to harder drugs off of them. As a result we can see that Marijuana has some medicinal benefits, according to www. cannabis-med. org. Cannabis can be used to help patients with chemotherapy as the active ingredient in Cannabis, THC, reduces vomiting and nausea and also alleviates pretreatment anxiety.
Marijuana can also be used to help people with anorexia as well as people who have been diagnosed with AIDS. The THC increases the appetite of the user causing them to eat more, users have been known to maintain a stable body weight when smoking Marijuana and then consuming food. Marijuana has also been known to alleviate depression, reduce the chance of epileptic seizures, prevent glaucoma and help people with Asthma (“Medical uses of cannabis and THC”) Another problem we face when legalizing Marijuana is that it may lead users onto using other harder drugs.
According to Maia Szalavitz, who’s a writer for Times magazine she states in her article that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse a person who smokes marijuana is 104 times as likely to use cocaine then someone who has never smoked pot (Szalavitz) The problem here however is that correlation should have nothing to do with cause. For example Hells angles motorcycle gang member is probably 104 times as likely to have ridden a bike as a child but that doesn’t indicate that riding a bicycle as a child is a gateway for entering a motorbike gang.
It just means that most people ride bikes and the people who don’t probably won’t ride a motorcycle. Additionally scientists have long decided that marijuana isn’t in fact a gateway drug according to a report commissioned by the congress, scientists stated that underage alcohol and cigarette consumption before marijuana use might be the cause for the use of other illicit drugs (Szalavitz). One cause nevertheless between marijuana use and other drugs is taste.
People may want to get more out of what they are consuming and try to alter their consciousness for example if one is a music fan they wouldn’t just listen to one band or just one genre instead they would listen to other varieties that would give them the same feelings and emotions that they initially felt. Another reason why people move onto harder drugs is because of legality. Users tend to find harder drugs through marijuana dealers as a result if the government legalizes marijuana the supply of users to the dealers will decrease and consequently they wont have anyone to sell the harder drugs to.
A Final point for the Legalization of Marijuana is that it can prevent illegal immigration. The ability of drug cartels to move over the boarder relatively easy has resulted in over 100 billion dollars worth of drugs being brought over the boarder and being sold through over 11,000 gang members each year (Wooldridge). 80% of the daily supply of Marijuana and methamphetamines, cocaine and heroine come from Mexico (“US illegal Aliens”) this causes a problem as the drug cartels bring in gang members with them as 618,000 illegal immigrants have been convicted of committing a deadly crime on American citizens.
Furthermore 2. 2 kilograms of cocaine is brought over from the Mexico-Texas border each year (Pope). If we legalized Marijuana like mentioned in the previous paragraph, we will diminish the market that is available to the drug cartels and prevent them from entering the United States. Furthermore we can use the remaining fund that was used to prevent Marijuana from entering our country and use it instead to prevent the drug cartels from shipping cocaine and other illegal and harder drugs into the country. In conclusion legalizing Marijuana is an extremely controversial topic.
We do not know for sure if it will benefit out society for the good. But as the evidence has suggested legalizing Marijuana will not only decrease crime rate but it also be very profitable and can also have medicinal benefits to individuals and it is for those reasons that the government should attempt to legalize Marijuana.