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Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use

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Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use
Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use One hundred sixty-two million people use marijuana on an annual basis; making it the most widely used illicit substance in the world (UN World Drug Report). For millennia the cannabis plant has been used for spiritual purposes. It is only in recent years that the usage of marijuana has come to bear the negative connotations that it does today. The prohibition of marijuana is often compared to the prohibition of alcohol and it has had similar results; a rampant underground market with little decline in usage. The legalization of marijuana for recreational use would be beneficial to the American populace because of the increase in annual revenue, the plants medicinal benefits, and the reduction of drug related crimes. In this current period of economic turmoil the monetary benefits of legalizing the cannabis plant for recreational use outweigh the social benefits of maintaining its status as an illegal substance. In North America alone there are an approximate 29,400,000 users of marijuana annually, this is 10.3% of the population age 15-64 (UN World Drug Report). The economic stimulus of a new taxable crop used by such a large portion of the population would be immense. This is exactly what Ex-Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders who served under President Clinton believes “There are better uses for our resources, legalize marijuana for adults. Tax it; use the money for better things” (CNN). The taxation of cannabis is not the only reward that would result as an outcome of legalization; the American government spends seven billion dollars annually enforcing the prohibition of marijuana (Macmillian). If legalization were to occur, these funds could be relocated towards education and healthcare; areas that are currently seeing further budget cuts on an annual basis. Though the additional revenue to the economy would be of great use there are many other reasons that the legalization of cannabis would be


Cited: “Medical Marijuana.” Current Issues: Macmillian Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale, 2010 Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. United Nations. “2006 World Drug Report.” United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2006 Web. Elders, Joycelyn. "Former Surgeon General Calls for Marijuana Legalization." Interview by The CNN Wire Staff. www.cnn.com. Cable News Network, 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. Reefer Madness. Dir. Louis Gasnier. Perf. Dorothy Short and Kenneth Craig. Motion Picture Ventures, 1936. www.hulu.com. Hulu. Web. 29 Apr. 2011. Obama, Barack H. "Obama: Inhaling Was the Point." Interview. Www.cnn.com. Cable News Network, 26 Nov. 2007. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.

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