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Legalizing Marijuana Essay

2076 words - 8 pages

Are there advantages to legalizing marijuana in America? The issue of legalizing marijuana has long been a topic of discussion among state and federal government officials. Individuals on both sides of the argument vocalize great points for and against legalization. However, looking at the facts it would be very difficult to make a sound argument against the legalization of marijuana. Medical marijuana in California alone is estimated to be a 14 billion dollar a year industry generating millions of dollars in taxes for local and state government (Lacter 2011). With legalization there will be fewer individuals incarcerated for marijuana possession freeing up tax dollars and law enforcement resources otherwise wasted on this issue. It is clear that legalizing marijuana would help the American economy by creating a new tax revenue, reducing prison populations, and freeing up law enforcement resources.
The war on drugs has been a never ending battle that started long before it was called the war on drugs. This battle against marijuana is rooted in the passing of the Volstead act that banned alcohol and other drugs. States began to prohibit the possession and sale of marijuana to prevent drug users from switching to marijuana after the act was passed. In 1932 the government fully regulated but did not ban marijuana when congress passed the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act (“UNDA”). From 1932 to 1960 additional laws were set in place to further regulate marijuana. In the 1970’s congress completely outlawed marijuana and claimed it had no medical use. (Cole 560). Outlawing marijuana made possession of this substance a crime and punishable by a fine or prison time. Millions of individuals are incarcerated each year for marijuana possession. This translates into billions of dollars spent on food, lighting, prison space and manpower to detain these individuals, and for what purpose. It could be argued that drug users, including mild drug users, cause damage to property and commit crimes while intoxicated, but this could be said of alcohol users as well. If a crime is committed while possessing or intoxicated by marijuana, law enforcement officials should do their duty to arrest the individuals for their crime and not for the possession of marijuana. American tax dollars are wasted on incarceration of individuals convicted of crimes involving marijuana, these dollars could be saved and a new source of revenue could be created with legalization and taxation.
Legalizing marijuana has never been more important than right now. With rising debt and a slowing economy, legalizing and taxing marijuana is a good source of revenue for the American government. There are several goods or activities that were once illegal but are now legal, alcohol and gambling are two of those industries. These industries are now legal and bringing in huge tax dollars for the government. Gambling is likely the largest source of revenue from good and services that were once illegal. In Grass...

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