Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

Should marijuana be legalized for recreational or medical use? This is a debate that has been happening for quite some time and this is not just a debate that is happening among people. There are many that have taken sides including medical personal and government officials. Currently in the United States there are two states in which recreational use of marijuana is legal; Colorado and Washington. There are three states currently that have pending legislation to legalize recreational use; California, Maine, and Oregon. On the other hand there are 21 states in which medical use of marijuana is legal; Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode island, Vermont, Washington. While there are four states with pending legislation to legalize medical use of marijuana; Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Although federal laws still state that possession and use of marijuana is illegal, the federal government has stated that it will not pursue or prosecute in states that have legalized the use of marijuana.
There are valid pros and cons on each side of the debate to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Supporters state this could provide a revenue boost in new taxes for the sales and distribution. For example, in Colorado analysts believe the taxes on the drug could raise an additional 5 to 22 million dollars annually (drugrehab.us, 2013). The legalization of marijuana would not only provide a revenue boost but would also take away profit from the illegal drug trade. For instance, let’s assume that 25% of the United States population smokes marijuana on a regular basis, and according to statistics this is a low assumption. With the population right at 300,000,000 that would mean that 75,000,000 people would be buying and consuming marijuana which is sold by weight. Let’s also assume that marijuana costs $15 a gram and of those 75,000,000 people smoking they smoke 5 grams a week. After calculations of 5 grams a week at $15 a gram times the 75,000,000 people that use, the total revenue would be $5,625,000,000, most of which if regulated by the government would be profit. Would it be more beneficial to society for this substantial amount of money to continue to be made by the illegal drug trade or the economy? Legalizing marijuana would also create jobs. The government would need to employ many Americans to produce and regulate the sales and distribution of the product. Facilities to grow and sell the product would be required and therefore people to run the facilities would be required. Another bonus is the fact that law enforcement can focus on other more serious crime issues within the community, instead of utilizing time and resources on marijuana. The number of people arrested yearly for marijuana offenses outweighs the total number arrested for violent crimes including murder,...

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