Why is it the Best Choice for America?
Marijuana, the most abused drug in America, has had a lot of publicity recently. Marijuana has caused multiple economic problems within the U.S. A controversial question has arisen from the increased popularity and troubles of this drug. The question is whether or not the U.S. government should legalize marijuana possession and sale in the country. Many Americans believe that the drug should be legalized for various reasons; others, however, are against the legalization of the dangerous drug. While legalization has both pros and cons, the positives of legalizing marijuana for those people over the age of twenty-one far outweigh the negative aspects of legalization.
Marijuana is an emergent problem in the United States; the main reasons behind this problem are the extensive use of the drug and the federal government’s determination to put an end to the drug’s illegal sale and use. The government’s efforts to stop the use of marijuana inside the country have been ineffective and actually caused the problem to increase. Its efforts have only added on to an enormous national debt. Jeffrey Miron, a professor of Economics at the University of Harvard, estimates that the total expenditures of enforcing the ban of marijuana of local, state, and federal government combined to be 7.7 billion dollars in 2003. The U.S. government simply cannot afford these extra expenditures while struggling economically. The fact that the government is spending so much money in its attempts to stop the use of marijuana has actually helped to create another problem. Overcrowding in U.S. prisons is also on the increase; marijuana laws are a driving force behind the overcrowding. Eric Schlosser, in his 1994 article for the Atlantic Monthly, states that “Calculations based on data provided by the Bureau of Prisons and the United States Sentencing Commission suggest that one of every six inmates in the federal prison system- roughly 15,000 people- has been incarcerated primarily for a marijuana offense.” The government could alleviate both the prison overcrowding and the monetary issues of the prohibition of marijuana through one action.
The United States government, in order to solve the marijuana problem, needs to completely legalize the drug and place similar regulations on marijuana as it does alcohol. It should not only be decriminalized; decriminalization would only legalize the possession of marijuana. If the government chose to decriminalize the substance, it would still waste millions of dollars in prosecuting all other marijuana related crimes. Decriminalization would also fail to make the sale of marijuana legal in the country, thus losing a product with the ability to provide the country with a substantial source of revenue. Marijuana should be legal for sale to all individuals over the age of twenty-one. The reason for the age restriction of twenty-one is due to the similar effects of alcohol and...