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Cailin Essay

1169 words - 5 pages

Marijuana is a drug formed by drying out the shredded flowers, stems, and leaves of the Indian hemp plant. It is also the most common illegal drug used in the United States, and the second most- used drug in the world, behind alcohol. According to one national survey, approximately 6,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time every day. Marijuana has been proven to positively affect some illnesses, and the Medical Legalization Movement has made great progress in the US (randomhistory.com ©2007-2014). However, should the drug be approved for recreational purposes? Several significant reasons lead me to believe it should be.
One major reason is the income. California, where marijuana is legal for medical use, finds the substance to be a substantial source of revenue. “The marijuana crop here is valued at 13.8 billion dollars annually, nearly double the value of our vegetable and grape crops combined (Marijuana Policy Project, www.mpp.org).” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger believes that an additional $1.5-4 billion dollars could be collected, if the drug were taken from the criminal market and regulated and taxed (2013). Now take a moment to realize that this is one state, selling the drug to only those with prescriptions. Imagine the sheer eminence of the money to be collected if all 50 states were to sell it to anyone of the legal age. Marijuana is also costing us money in other ways; ways that would be all but obsolete if it were legalized. In 2012, California’s “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting”, or CAMP, expunged about 2.9 million marijuana plants. CAMP and other similar organizations have yet to reduce the availability of the drug. However, what they have managed to do is cost the taxpayers millions of dollars to pay for the “thousands of person-hours of effort and the use of helicopters and other expensive equipment” (www.mpp.org) that are involved in the eradication of these plants. That’s not the least of it. Approximately 70 percent of the plants annexed by CAMP were on public lands; usually outlandish corners of parks, national forests, and other hinterland-areas (www.mpp.org). Growing a plant like this on public grounds may be unsafe for the surrounding ecosystem as well as hikers or visitors to the park. Legalizing the drug would get rid of any motives to cultivate such illicit farms. This would effectively save millions in efforts to rid of these plants and environmental clean-up costs (www.mpp.org). California’s taxpayer’s are also shelling out for law enforcement officers to chase down and arrest marijuana consumers. “According to FBI statistics, California arrested 74,119 people on marijuana charges in 2007 - nearly 80 percent of those were for simple possession (www.mpp.org).” In 2010, over 52 percent of all drug arrests in California were marijuana-related, which is the highest it’s been since 1995. Despite all the efforts by law enforcement officers and the exponential sum of money paid by taxpayers, “chasing down people...

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