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Paper Discusses The Positive Aspect Of Legalizing Marijuana. The Essay Covers Fiscal Reasons As Well As Health Reasons.

1162 words - 5 pages

Marijuana Legalization"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."These are the words of Jimmy Carter during an address to Congress on August2, 1977. Our own president supported reformation of marijuana laws over twenty years ago, yet the issue of legalization still remains a hot topic. According to the U.S. department of Health and Human Services, more than 76 million American adults have admittedly tried marijuana. It confuses me that the majority of our country has tried this harmless drug and it is still illegal. I believe there is to much good that Marijuana can produce to keep this plant illegal.Marijuana is derived from the dried leaves of a strain of hemp plant called cannabis sativa. Common nicknames of the drug include cannabis, weed, and grass. Already legal for medicinal use in California and Arizona, many are trying to make marijuana available to all Americans of legal age. Due to Congress' great opposition, this issue has been difficult to resolve, despite the multitude of arguments supporting the legalization of marijuana.Money plays an important role in supporting legalization. Possession of marijuana as a criminal offense costs the taxpayers billions of dollars. According to the Federation of American Scientists Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin, Americans are paying $1.2 billion per year to keep marijuana offenders in jail. This does not include the cost of arrest and prosecution. That can cost anywhere from $7.5 to $10 billion annually. With the U.S. Federal Deficit predicted to be at an all time high of $477 billion this year, the government can use every penny they can get. The $11 billion dedicated annually to marijuana criminals can be used for more important domestic issues like health care, education, or other important social ills. The fact that an outstanding 88 percent of the arrests are solely for personal amounts of possession is mind boggling. Economically speaking, 88 percent of $11 billion is approximately $9.7 billion. That is $10 billion dollars annually that can be given to any needy social programs. After reviewing the numbers, only the most conservative proponents of marijuana laws would disagree with the law's reformation. The buck doesn't stop there. According to a study of the state justice department budget, the state of California saved nearly $1 billion dollars from 1976 to 1985 by decriminalizing the personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.Many argue that the harm of the drug outweighs the potential good. The need to keep marijuana illegal stems from the belief that it is a gateway drug. It has been proven that the habitual use of marijuana can lead one to experiment with harder more serious drugs. By keeping marijuana illegal it will discourage kids from trying the drug at a young age. The earlier a child gets involved with...

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