Research Paper Marijuana Legalization
Abstract Marijuana is the people’s drug of choice; it’s the most popular drug of all the drugs. Made famous in movies (Cheech and Chong), hit an all-time boom in the 60’s when smoke to rebel against law enforcement. It is popular even though it is illegal in the United States; I explain in this paper why we should take advantage of its popularity and help our struggling economy. How we can use the way Amsterdam regulates its recreational marijuana, and implement it in the United States. Violence will drop dramatically especially in the towns close to the Mexican border.
These are more than enough reasons as to why we should legalize marijuana, there is nothing but benefits. Jose Silva Brittney Carman English 102-06 Research Paper November 8, 2011 Marijuana or also known as Cannabis is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa. (Yacoubian, G. S. (2007), pg 18) This drug contains a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol or also knows as THC. The mind reacts to THC, it alters the mind. All forms of marijuana have this affect on the user. Overall the drug contains over 400 chemicals some of which are carcinogenic.
Though marijuana is widely popular in the states, marijuana didn’t originate in the states. “The Cannabis (marijuana) plant is native to Central Asia, possibly on the Himalayas or the Altai Mountains it is said that around 2000 B. C. , the Egyptians used cannabis to treat sore eyes. ” (Webley, K. (2010 pg. 22) Believe it or not, the United States at one point even encouraged the growth of Cannabis, was grown as a source of fiber. Something interesting is that the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, material from the Cannabis plant aka Marijuana plant.
The Cannabis plant was such a popular crop that in 1890 it was the major cash crop in the southern state, yes even above cotton. Such endorsements slowed and eventually became nonexistent after 1937, when the Marihuana Tax Act effectively banned the drug in the U. S. (Webly, K. (2010 pg. 22) After many years of prohibition marijuana was legalized in 1996. Not legalized for recreational use but for medical use in the State of California. Used to treat such diseases as cancer, AIDS, chronic pain etc. This caught on in the states and by January of 2010 “New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize the drug” (Webly, K. 2010 pg. 22) Marijuana hit an all time boom in recreational use during the 1960’s when college students decided to smoke marijuana as a way of rebelling against law enforcement. From then on it hasn’t stopped since. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug, beating out drugs such as Cocaine, Meth, Heroin, etc. Anyone from teens to adults use the drug recreationally to get a “high”. A large number of people ask to legalize recreational use of marijuana, before you think that this is a ludicrous idea wait and hear me out. If we were to legalize marijuana how much money would the United States earn in taxes?
How much would we save as a country not having to pay taxes on inmates who are in jail for possession of marijuana, a non violent offense? How many lives would be saved if we legalize it and stop the drug wars that occur on the borders? Thinking about it I would agree with legalizing marijuana for recreational use, let me further explain. The prohibition of anything is going to lead to violence because there is always going to be dealers fighting for the power of markets against dealers. Perfect example is at the borders where the drug wars are currently going on.
Yes the majority of the violence is occurring on the Mexican side of the border but slowly it is coming into the United States. In late October 2011, police officers in Port Isabel pulled over a vehicle during a routine traffic stop. To the officers’ surprise, one of the vehicle’s occupants was Rafael Cardenas Vela, the nephew of Osiel Cardenas Guillen, the jailed uber-drug lord who headed the infamous and brutal Gulf Cartel. (Longmire, S. (2011, November 8) They found an illegal immigrant in the United States not only was he illegal but was a part of a huge drug business apart of the “Gulf Cartel” known for their brutality.
This is only one violent person that lives among us, just guess how many more live among us. Deaths to United State citizens have occurred during this terrible drug war. According to a MSNBC article (S. O. (2010, April 22) the number of United States residents has increased from the year 2007-2010. In 2007 35 U. S residents died, in 2009 79 died, and in 2010 106 residents died. This isn’t counting the people that have gone missing; the number of deaths can easily be higher. The problem with this is the majority of the people that being killed are innocent people that just happen to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A perfect example of this is when an “American missionary Nancy Davis and her husband, Sam, were driving their 2008 Chevrolet pickup on a highway near San Fernando, about 70 miles south of the Mexican border city of Reynosa when killers opened fire on Jan. 26, hitting the 59-year-old woman in the head. Mexican and United State authorities said the gunmen were likely cartel thugs bent on stealing the couple’s truck. ” (S. O. (2010, April 22) All this is occurring because drug cartels in Mexico are trying to flex their muscles to the other drug cartels and show how powerful and reckless they are.
Killing people for no apparent reason, chopping off heads to show off how strong they are, I find this unbelievable. Legalizing marijuana would dramatically change what is currently happening. It would eliminate the drug trade between Mexican drug cartels and the United States, marijuana would be legal to obtain.. Dealers would no longer feel the need to flex their muscles and show other dealers how strong they are, innocent lives would be saved, and violent immigrants won’t feel the need to live in our neighborhoods. Not only will legalization of marijuana make it much safer for the American people but would help our struggling economy.
Everyone knows this great country of ours is in a huge deficit. “Mr. Obama’s budget projects that 2011 will see the biggest one-year debt jump in history, or nearly $2 trillion, to reach $15. 476 trillion by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. ” (Dinan, S. (2011, February 14) None of this is looking like it’s going to go away anytime soon, the deficit is only going to get worsse with time. Think about it, what is in high demand and would be as popular as Facebook. Marijuana is what comes to mind when I think of the deficit we face. The high demand for marijuana is unbelievable; in 2009 16. million Americans have used marijuana. That is a lot of people using marijuana illegally that the United States is not charging taxes on, which means they are not earning money. When I speak about money I don’t mean pocket change, no I mean billions of dollars. We can learn something from Canada, “Production cost of (government-sponsored) marijuana is roughly 33? a gram” (Easton, S. (2009, March 26) Assuming the cost of distribution and retailing marijuana is the same as cigarettes the U. S could make from anywhere to $40 billion to $100 billion. Not only will we make money by selling legal marijuana but also save money.
You are probably thinking, “How in the world are we going to save money? ” All of the people either held in prison, probation, or parole for use of marijuana have the government pay taxes for holding them in cells or having to supervise them. Imagine the millions of people that would be out of legal trouble, and the extra money the government would have in handy for whatever is needed in this country. When I say marijuana charges I mean possession charges, not attempt to distribute charges. “Legalizing drugs would save roughly $41. 3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. ” (Lucente Jr. , T. J. 2010, October 31) $41. 3 billion saved from just simply legalizing marijuana, sounds like a good idea to me. This is just one year, saving $41. 3 billion a year for every year from now on that sounds like a good plan if you ask me. Adding the money earned from taxes and the money saved would total up to at least $81. 3 billion. Marijuana arrest from 1965-2007 The fourth amendment states that we have the right to privacy. This same amendment helped the case of Roe v. Wade, you’re probably wondering what case it is that I speak of. Let me explain, this is case that was taken to the Supreme Court to fight whether abortion should be legal.
After all the hearings the courts came to a conclusion that abortion should be legal because the fourth amendment protects it, specifically the right to privacy. Abortion is now legal but marijuana remains illegal? I don’t seem to understand why, killing an innocent fetus is ok but smoking marijuana isn’t? We have the right to privacy, if people decide they want to smoke marijuana I believe they should, I believe this would fall under right to privacy. I find it unbelievable that abortion is legal (which it harms a fetus, another being) but marijuana is still illegal and does harm to others.
Marijuana does have its affects just like alcohol, and cigarettes. Why it is that marijuana is the only illegal one of the three? I have no clue why and don’t understand; cigarettes affect your lung, marijuana is just like cigarettes in which both contain chemicals. Alcohol hurts the liver when being used they affect the body so why are they legal, marijuana should be in the same boat as both cigarettes and alcohol and become legal. I’m sure many questions are arising such as, “How we will possibly be able to regulate the use of marijuana,” well people trust me it isn’t impossible to regulate it.
Amsterdam has made it legal to smoke in “coffee shops” where a menu of different marijuana is given to them. They have been doing it this way for many years with no problem whatsoever, why can’t the United States do this, we can, and we should. Amsterdam sees the use of marijuana as a health matter, just like cigarettes and alcohol. The reasons for legalizing marijuana are to reduce harm to the users, by limiting how much they are allowed to buy and smoke, to try and slow down the disturbance of public order and safety to the community. Last but not least is to stop trafficking and to combat the production of the drugs.
Not to forget the money their government wins from taxing the marijuana. They decide to divide drugs into two different groups the “soft drugs” and “hard drugs” groups. The hard drugs are drugs that are considered very dangerous such as “cocaine, LSD, morphine, heroin” (Skelton, P. (2011, November 15) those drugs are forbidden in the Netherlands. The “soft drugs” consist of “cannabis in any form (marijuana, hashish, hash oil)” (Skelton, P. (2011, November 15) In Amsterdam you are not allowed to buy as much weed as you like, you are given a limit of 5 grams. Not only that but it is only sold to adults no minors whatsoever.
The weed can only be smoked in “coffee shops” where no minors are allowed, and to avoid minors from trying to obtain marijuana they decide not to advertise the sale of marijuana. These regulations have worked for Amsterdam with no problems; of course there is the occasional person who decides to drive under the influence of marijuana, but that’s the equivalent of someone driving drunk. It’s going to happen, but the United States will do everything in their power to try and stop that from happening by creating regulations that will prevent this from happening.
Marijuana I believe is not as bad as people make it to be, cigarettes are just as bad but yet they are legal. Considering all of the benefits of marijuana especially the financial benefits, the United States should legalize marijuana for recreational use, we should put regulations on it just like Amsterdam does and the system would work perfectly. If we put effort into legalizing marijuana and using Amsterdam’s blueprint we will make billions of dollars that will help our struggling economy, protect the 4th amendment by giving us our right to privacy, and become a country that will lead the push for other countries to legalize marijuana.
Only positives can come from legalization of marijuana.
Dinan, S. (2011, February 14). Federal deficit on track for a record this fiscal year – Washington Times. Washington Times – Politics, Breaking News, US and World News. Retrieved November 15, 2011, from
http://www. washingtontimes. com/news/2011/feb/14/debt-now-equals-total-us-economy/