Essay on Legalization of Marijuana
Cannabis has been around since the dawn of mankind. It is said that the plant originated from Asia, perhaps on the slopes of the Himalayas or the Altai Mountains to the north. The exact origin, obscured by Stone Age trails that cross the continent is not known. Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is a leafy plant which grows in many tropic areas around the world. It can be cultivated easily both indoors and out for the production of its flowering tops. The most common use of Marijuana is smoking these flowering ‘buds’, or sometimes eaten cooked with sweets. There are two main types of Cannabis -- Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica, which are usually interbred for recreational use. Besides its recreational purposes, Marijuana can be used in a variety of ways. You can make clothing, paper and even food out of hemp, which low-THC varieties of cannabis which are grown for industrial uses. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main active ingredient in the plant that produces the effects analgesic effects and can be utilized for pain relief and other medical purposes. Currently Both Cannabis and Tetrahydrocannabinols, the active chemicals contained in Cannabis plants, are Schedule I in the United States. They are federally illegal to cultivate, buy, possess, or distribute in all forms except synthetic THC (Marinol) which is Schedule III. In 1988, Judge Francis Young, an administrative law judge for the DEA “[…] Recommended that marijuana be reclassified as schedule II on the grounds that if a respectable minority of doctors endorse it, then it has a "currently accepted medical use" (DEA Judge Francis Young, Docket No. 86-22). Even though Marijuana is currently federally illegal in the United States, many reforms are taking place to legalize and tax the plant for the benefits of economy. Many other countries such as Argentina, Belgium and Nepal have legalized the production and use of the plant and utilize it as a general resource by taxing it and make use of its industrial uses. Marijuana is not a harmful drug to the body like cocaine or crystal meth is. It grows naturally and has little to none harmful effects, even in long term usage. It has been clinically proven to help cancer patients with pain and help people with glaucoma. Legalization of Marijuana in the United States would benefit the economy, reduce crime in our cities and help form a more productive society through its positive uses.
Government expenditures on criminalization of marijuana have been the least effective and most wasteful of resources compared to how they combat more serious drugs. Government prohibition of marijuana is subject of ongoing debate. One of the issues is regarding the spending of taxes and government budget on enforcement of laws prohibiting production and distribution of the plant. According to Jeffrey A. Miron, a professor of economics at Harvard University, “Reports estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition” (Jeffrey A. Miron, Executive Summary). $5.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $2.4 billion would accrue to the federal government. Taxation and legalization of Marijuana production would not only reduce these costs almost completely, but also benefit the economy in many ways, including helping current the budget crisis due to recession. Jeffrey Miron also estimates in his report that “Marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco” (Jeffrey A. Miron, Executive Summary). Advocates believe that prohibition will reduce marijuana trafficking and use and thus improving productivity and reduce ongoing crime and illegal drug traffic. It is said that prohibition of Cannabis has minor effects on the...
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