Legalization of Marijuana

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Legalization of marijuana

Morals and politics are what make up the structure of this country, so when an issue receives mixed responses coming from two different points of views it becomes contraversial. The legalization of marijuana is a controversial subject; however, there are many positive arguments to support the idea. First of all, it is very expensive to keep marijuana illegal. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana has also proven to contain positive medicinal uses for illnesses (Marshall, 67). In addition to its positive use, ignorance keeps the public unaware of the fact that alcohol and cigarettes are far worse. The American government is simply approaching this issue very poorly, because the benefits of legalization of marijuana outweigh the detriments by far. By defining all marijuana smoking as a criminal act, including that which involves adults smoking in the privacy of their own homes, we are wasting police and prosecutorial resources, clogging courts, taking up unnecessary prison space, and needlessly wrecking the lives and careers of genuinely good citizens. Every taxpayer in the country, regardless of how they feel about this issue, will end up paying for the cost it takes to keep marijuana illegal. "The U.S. government spends as much as $50 billion a year to stop the use of illegal drugs" (Croft, 18). This money that the taxpayers are giving to the governments goes to police patrols, helicopters to look out for drug smuggling, and drug abuse awareness programs such D.A.R.E. (Croft, 18). For every back-breaking dollar one makes to pay the government so it can provide a better education for his or her children; it can be assumed that a portion of that money is going toward the prohibition of marijuana instead. This system creates expenses that include criminal maintenance. The people have to pay for the health care within jails, for all the convicted "pot-heads." Then, for those who can't afford a thing once they've been convicted; the taxpayer will have already paid for the attorney fees, and if that's not enough the taxpayer is providing them with food to keep them alive. So in retrospect, taxpayers have more mouths to feed than they realize. The public is taking care of the same criminals they fear; the problem is that criminals convicted of marijuana related charges don't pose any type of real threat. Marijuana legalization offers important advantages over criminalization in that it allows for legal distribution and taxation of cannabis. In the absence of taxation, the free market price of legal marijuana would be extremely low, on the order of five to ten cents per joint. In terms of intoxicating potential, a joint is equivalent to at least $1 or $2 worth of alcohol, the price at which cannabis is currently sold in the Netherlands. The easiest way to hold the price at this level under legalization would be to impose an excise tax on commercial sales. An examination of the external costs imposed by cannabis users on the rest of society suggests that a tax of $.50 - $1 per joint is appropriate. It can be estimated that excise taxes in this range would raise between $2.2 and $6.4 billion per year. Altogether, legalization would save the taxpayers around $8 - $16 billion, not counting the economic benefits of hemp agriculture and other spin-off industries (Economics of Cannabis). Most Americans do not want to spend scarce public funds incarcerating nonviolent marijuana offenders, at a cost of $23,000 per year (Executive Summary). Politicians must reconsider our country's priorities and attach more importance to combating violent crime than targeting marijuana smokers: Approximately 400,000 people are serving sentences for violating drug laws. That is one-quarter of the total prison population in the United States. More than 16,000 federal prisoners with no previous criminal history are serving an average of six-year sentences for breaking drug laws, according...
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