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Legalization Of Marijuana Essay

1832 words - 7 pages

What could the United States do with an extra 7.7 billion dollars? What could the state of Michigan do with 5.3 billion dollars? How could the nation get this much money in one year? The legalization of marijuana would bring such revenue. Replacing “marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save approximately $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement -- $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels” (Miron, “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibitions in the United States). The money generated from this could be used for so many needs of the nation. For example, one immediate use would be to help restore the infrastructure of bridges and roads. The United States economy is currently suffering and the simple act of legalizing marijuana would help stimulate the economy. This act also will help many ailing citizens with debilitating conditions reduce their suffering. There are numerous benefits to legalizing marijuana including eliminating a portion of the wasteful War on Drugs, stimulating the United States economy, and helping many patients alleviate their pain.
In order to truly understand the benefits of legalization of marijuana, it must be discussed why it was made illegal in the first place. In 1914, the Harrison Act “represented the first time drug use had ever been defined as a crime” (Goodwin 42). This law set the precedent for twenty-seven states to make marijuana illegal. These states made marijuana illegal because they mistrusted the incoming Mexican immigrants who brought marijuana with them (Goodwin 42-43). Therefore, these laws were not enacted for safety or health reasons, but merely racism. In 1937, the U.S. Congress proposed making marijuana illegal. Curiously, the time devoted to the discussion was ephemeral and debate about this law lasted only three days and very little of it was spent on testimony discussing the benefits and drawbacks of marijuana (Goodwin 43-44). Most of the testimony was disparaging towards marijuana, therefore the U.S. Congress made it an illegal drug. The brevity of this testimony shows that not enough effort was given in defense of marijuana’s many benefits. This law started the stigma against marijuana, which continues to this day.
The stigma that marijuana users are hardcore criminals is still practiced in law enforcement today. In the year 2000 alone, there were 734,500 arrests for marijuana possession (Rosenthal, Kubby, and Newhart 16). This over zealous policing of non-violent crimes is consuming too much state and federal money. If marijuana were made legal, police could focus on more serious criminal acts. “Nationwide, there were more arrests for marijuana than there were for arson, manslaughter, rape, stolen property, vandalism, and sex offenses combined…The sheer number or marijuana violators overwhelms some law-enforcement agencies” (Rosenthal, Kubby, and Newhart 20). All of this adds up to that 7.7 billion...

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