For my assignment I chose to speak for the legalization of the controlled substance marijuana. I will address the monetary strain it causes by keeping it illegal, marijuana vs. alcohol, briefly quoting the Harm Principle', and debunking the gateway drug' argument. By covering these four points, I hope to bring the awareness to my audience that it would make sense financially, health-wise, and constitutionally for our society to make cannabis legal.
First things first, let's address the obscene amount of money put towards arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of marijuana users, and how it could be put to better use. In 2002, 45.3 percent of the total arrests for drug abuse were for marijuana, a figure that comes to 697,082 people. In June of 1994, the RAND Corporation released a study that found we get seven times more value for our tax money by drug treatment programs than by the incarceration of drug addicts. So what does that show? A smarter and much more effective way of using our funds would be to take that money away from the war on drugs and use it towards making drug treatment available upon demand, enabling us to focus our (scarce) resources on the problem users, those who are driven by drugs to commit other crimes, such as violence or theft. A recent federal financial analysis showed that legalization of the now illegal drugs would save a net 37 billion dollars annually, on the conservative side. In addition, at this moment there are approximately 1.5 million people in state and federal prisons or jails throughout the US. There are currently 24 states under federal court orders to relieve prison overcrowding. The conclusion is clear: We are spending far too much money, and wasting much needed jail space that could be used for more serious offenses.
Some may say that though the costs of keeping marijuana are expensive, it is well worth it to help keep America safe from such a dangerous' drug. But let's... [continues]
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