Marijuana Legalization an Analysis of Opposing Arguments

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James Corbett
English 101-75
November 2, 2011
Essay 3 draft 1

The debate on the legalization of marijuana has been a long drawn out battle, these two articles, one from the CNBC website and the other from High Times magazine, reveal the many truths and misconceptions from each side of the argument. People who are advocates for the legalization of marijuana often end up being labeled as “pot heads” in society, while the people who are against the use and legalization of marijuana use misleading studies and information to support their argument. These opposing views often lead to heated debates with the marijuana advocates still being over powered by what the law says.

In the CNBC article by Dr. Robert L. DuPont he uses many statistics and studies to reinforce his ideals that marijuana should stay illegal. Dr. DuPont states at the beginning of his article “Contrary to the beliefs of those who advocate the legalization of marijuana, the current balanced, restrictive, and bipartisan drug policies of the United States are working reasonably well and they have contributed to reductions in the rate of marijuana use in our nation.” He then goes on to state that the use of marijuana has been reduced 54% in the past 29 years. “Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the U.S., and around the world,” DuPont stated after revealing that marijuana usage has significantly declined.

Dr. DuPont goes on to reveal many misconceptions that advocates for the legalization of marijuana use in their arguments. He states that “There is common misconception that the principle costs of marijuana use are those related to the criminal justice system… the percentage of people in prison for marijuana use is less than one half of a percent,” most people that encounter the justice system for drug related crimes benefit the offender, the justice system can lead people to treatment. DuPont then uses a study done by MacCoun & Reuter that show legalized gambling has not reduced illegal gambling, however it did increase. DuPont fears that the same would happen if the US legalized marijuana.

The profit for legalizing marijuana would be far less than most people realize. DuPont uses studies that showed alcohol related costs total over 185 billion dollars while the government collected only 14.5 billion dollars in tax revenue, and tobacco use cost 200 billion dollars but only 25 billion dollars in taxes were collected. By using these studies he tries to justify that legalizing marijuana would lead to what he says is a “economically disastrous trade off.” He also believes that drug impaired driving would increase drastically if marijuana were legalized.

DuPont states, “Reducing marijuana uses is essential to improving the nation’s health, education, and productivity. “ He says new policies can improve performance of prevention strategies, which has “protected millions of people from the many adverse effects from marijuana use.”

On the other side of the argument we have an article from High Times magazine giving 10 reasons marijuana should be legalized. The prohibition of marijuana has failed to control the use and production for many years. Marijuana is now used by 25 million people annually, and remains the largest cash crop in the U.S. and can virtually be grown all over the planet. High Times also reveals that a regulated market for marijuana could significantly reduce teen’s exposure to the drug and other controlled substances. The magazine also states “The illegality of marijuana makes it more valuable than if it were legal, providing opportunities for teenagers to make easy money selling it to their friends. If the excessive profits for marijuana sales were ended through legalization there would be less incentive for teens to sell it to one another.“

If Marijuana were to be legalized the economic effects would be beneficial. High Times also said “The legalization of marijuana would reduce the flow of money to...
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