I believe that the time has come to end the prohibition of marijuana in the United States of America. If marijuana were a legal substance and taxed like alcohol and tobacco, billions of dollars in revenue would be generated that could be put towards paying down our national debt. Further stimulation of our economy would result from the thousands of jobs that would be created in order to grow, manufacture, process, market and distribute the product. Overcrowding in our prisons would be reduced, creating much-needed room for violent and aggressive criminals. Finally, there is evidence that the legalization of marijuana will yield certain health and environmental benefits to American society.
From a strictly economic perspective, a bill being considered by the Legislature of the State of California, which would legalize marijuana in that State, is expected to result in a $1 billion per year increase in tax revenue that would greatly aid California’s troubled economy. Nationwide, marijuana legalization could potentially generate annual tax revenues of $2.4 billion if the substance was taxed like other consumer goods (i.e., pharmaceuticals). If taxed at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco, it’s possible that the annual tax revenue from marijuana sales could rise to roughly $6.2 billion. In fact, some studies show that nationwide profits could even climb as high as $40 billion dollars per year (Miron, paragraph 4-5).
Across the nation our jails are packed with non-violent people who are there for misdemeanor drug convictions. The savings that legalization of marijuana would yield in reduced costs to penal institutions is in fact one of the leading reasons for minimizing penalties required of individuals found guilty of possession of marijuana. The reduction in governmental expenses for incarceration alone could be as much as $6.2 billion per year. According to the American Corrections Association, the average daily cost per state prison inmate in...
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