Marijuana Boon Or Bust Essay

2265 words - 10 pages

document of our nation to be recorded on it. Hemp at one point compromised 50% of the
world’s agriculture and was used to make not only clothing and ropes, but also lighting
oil and medicines. Durable soft, strong and easily replenishable, hemp is an eco friendly
alternative to trees (Canciano 2010). The earliest settlers to America relied on hemp to
provide them with many of their essentials and it was in 1619 that the first marijuana law
was enacted in the Jamestown Colony; which encouraged hemp crops to be grown.
(Canciano 2010). The first question that needs to be answered is why was marijuana
made illegal in the first place understanding that goes a long way to clearing up ...view middle of the document...

A farmer could only produce if they obtain a tax
stamp, which were not granted. WWII brought about a new round of scrutiny towards
this plant, and hemp enjoyed a period of repopularization as materials needed for
parachutes, uniforms and other necessities for our troops were in short supply (PBS
History of Marijuana). In an odd twist, congress in 1948 looked at cannabis law again in
light of new studies showing that marijuana did not cause violence or ‘reefer madness’,
indeed research showed it caused quite the opposite. Opponents of marijuana then
decried cannabis as a tool of the communists who wanted a passive American populace
who would be easy to conquer and indoctrinate with communist ideals, and so marijuana
remained criminalized for the opposite reason it was criminalized in 1937 (Canciano
2010). Cannabis use and legalization has been a controversial issue for much of the last
century. As a nation are we ready to stand together regarding decriminalization of this
potential cash crop?

Today cannabis remains shrouded in controversy even as we have stepped firmly
into the 21st century and embraced many issues that were once taboo. The question that
most deserves an answer is: is the legalization of cannabis going to be beneficial from a
financial perspective even with all of the possible negative social externalities? At this
time, law enforcement spends an estimated average of 7.7 billion for the enforcement of
marijuana related drug enforcement (Mirin 2005). Assuming that marijuana would be
taxed like other ‘sin items’ such as tobacco and alcohol nearly 6.2 billion dollars would
be realized in taxes alone. There is of course a give and take that would most likely
occur if it was legalized, meaning that demand schedules would shift because of the
substitution effect. Less money would be spent by consumers on alcohol or tobacco so in

all likely hood, the tax concentration would shift slightly. Even with a shift in demand
away from tobacco and alcohol, marijuana taxes are forecast to be in the neighbor hood
of 6.2 billion dollars annually (Mirin 2005). Currently 20 states have some form of
legalized marijuana law and only two: Colorado and Washington have made it essentially
legal to possess varying amount of the plant. The federal government still maintains its
‘war’ on marijuana and so legally speaking the states are in violation of federal drug law
(White house 2013). President Obama has recently said in not so many words that the
federal government would allow states to determine how they were going to handle
marijuana legalization and as long as they had a regulation program in place, the federal
government would allow them to operate. The recession we are coming out of has
spurred in part the legalization effort. After real estate proved to be a less than solid
option, new areas of economic growth are being explored. Colorado, is one of the states
that has already legalized marijuana is...

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