A Dope Idea: Legalizing Marijuana

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A Dope Idea!

The legality of Marijuana has been subject to debate and controversy for decades. Cannabis is illegal to consume, possess, trade, cultivate and transfer in most countries. Since the beginning of mass Marijuana prohibition most countries have not re-legalized it for personal use although 10 countries have decriminalized its use in limited quantity. Medicinal use of cannabis is legal in a number of countries including Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel and 16 states in the United States of America. Over the years the number of people supporting the legalization of Marijuana has increased. Some advocate legalization of Marijuana believing that it will reduce crime, reduce illegal immigration as well as increase tax revenue. This essay will attempt to examine all three of these factors but also investigate other factors that legalizing Marijuana will benefit.

Firstly Legalizing Marijuana may increase tax revenue and consequently increase the number of jobs. California already earns around 14 billion dollars a year and it is estimated that legalizing Marijuana could generate between $1.5 to $1.4 (from taxing the drug) in revenue for California (Wolff). Additionally our country as a whole spends $68 Billion a year on its prisoner’s one third of which are imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. According to an article written by Madeline Wolff in the Daily Sundial about half of these criminals are in Jail for Marijuana related crimes. This means legalizing the drug would mean spending less then $11.3 billion less on prisons (Wolff). Legalizing Marijuana would mean generating this lost income and using this money and harnessing it to pump it back into the economy. In addition to the added tax revenue, legalizing Marijuana would also create jobs. The distribution path from the field to the smoker is a long one. Retail Marijuana would create jobs in growing cutting, processing, distribution and sales (Illegal Immigration Statistics). Furthermore additional jobs would be created at the state and federal levels as governments may take on inspectors in order to oversea the production of Marijuana in dispensaries. The combination of creating more jobs as well as the increased tax revenue may help the United States get out of the recession it was in.

However if we legalize Marijuana some people may start smoking in the work place. This may ultimately jeopardize the efficiency of the working environment and consequently production may decrease. In order to prevent this we must establish certain regulations with smoking Marijuana just like we’ve established regulations with smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. Another problem we can encounter is that if we legalize Marijuana the dealers that sold the drug may resort to harder drugs to sell. Nevertheless the hidden benefit of job creations is ultimately the reduction of crime. According to a paper published by the United States Government Accountability Office it found that in a study that higher levels of unemployment are associated with higher levels of property crime (Nilsen) In other words someone who is struggling to support his or her family is more likely to turn to criminal activity then someone in a stable environment. The government would be senseless if it turned its back on a new market by legalizing Marijuana that would create thousands of new jobs as well as restore hopes to the communities hit hardest by the recession. Furthermore in 2007 the Justice Department reported that there were 1,841,182 drug arrests in the United State. Marijuana arrests accounted for 47.7% of those. Additionally it costs a further $22,000 a year to house one inmate in one correctional facility. This means criminals who’ve possessed Marijuana house the majority of correctional facilities. If we legalized Marijuana we can make room in the correctional facilities for people who’ve committed much serious crimes as well as people who’ve possessed much harder drugs....
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