End the Prohibition on Marijuana

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Thesis Statement: Legalization of industrialized hemp and marijuana benefits our economy, decriminalizes a 35 billion dollar a year industry, creates jobs, and makes sense for the environment. I. Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since the Marihuana Stamp Tax Act was enacted by congress in 1937 A. A Brief History

B. Marijuana Cash Crop

II. The prohibition of marijuana contributes to a black market system, which increases violent crime, and contributes finances to the criminal element. A. Violent Crime
B. Underground Drug Trade’s Negative Contributions
C. The Marijuana Policy Project

III. Marijuana prohibition is costing the Federal Government roughly 2 Billion dollars per year on the Federal level, and up to 5 billion dollars on State and Local levels. A. The War on Drug’s Impact on Taxpayers

B. Possible Tax Revenue
C. Marijuana Arrests
D. Marijuana Widely Available

IV. Industrial hemp has over 25,000 uses. Hemp products are widely used, legalizing hemp creates jobs for America’s farmers, and is beneficial to the U.S. economy. A. Industrial Hemp Facts
B. Industrial Hemp’s positive environmental effects

Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since the Marihuana Stamp Tax Act was enacted by congress in 1937. Since then, between the “period 1965-2007 there were 19,342,363 arrests for cannabis offenses, 89% of them for the possession of a small quantity of cannabis.” (St. Pierre, 2008) Much like the prohibition of alcohol, prohibiting the use of Marijuana has failed. It is time to put an end to this failed policy by legalizing Marijuana. At an estimated $35.8 billion, marijuana is by far the largest cash crop in the United States when compared to the average production values of other crops from 2003 to 2005. (Gettman, 2006) According to a national survey conducted in 2010, America had 17. 4 million who admitted to using Marijuana. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,, 2011) The fact that this drug is so popular and accepted amongst our population is proof in itself that legalization of the drug could work. Why should we continue to make Marijuana illegal? The use of it seems to make people happy, and does not pose a serious threat to our nation. In fact, it only stands to make America a better place, creating jobs, infusing cash into our economy, and simply making people feel better. Prohibition: Creation of a Black Market

The prohibition of Marijuana creates a dangerous black market for the drug, which in turn causes an increase in violent crimes. The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement affairs summarizes it here: "The cross-border flow of money and guns into Mexico from the United States has enabled well-armed and well-funded cartels to engage in violent activities. They employ advanced military tactics and utilize sophisticated weaponry such as sniper rifles, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and even mortars in attacks on security personnel. DTOs have openly challenged the GOM through conflict and intimidation and have fought amongst themselves to control drug distribution routes. The results led to unprecedented violence and a general sense of insecurity in certain areas of the country, particularly near the U.S. border. Between January and September 2009, there were 5,874 drug-related murders in Mexico, an almost 5 percent increase over 2008 (5,600)." (United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, 2010) If the government chooses to continue to criminalize marijuana, these black markets will continue to wreak havoc on our country. Illegal grow operations are heavily armed, and populated by dangerous criminals, that will protect their multi-million dollar crops by any means necessary. Prohibition is leading to the...
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