America is losing the war on drugs. The time has come for a serious change in marijuana-related policy. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, and is also the least harmful. It is arguably less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. The federal legalization of marijuana can be achieved by modeling policies that already exist in several states in this country, namely California. The federal government stands to save billions in law enforcement expenditure, and also to gain even more money in tax revenue. The statistics of marijuana use are staggering. The government is sitting on a solution to the budget crisis that could change the bleak outlook of the country almost overnight. It is time for a change.
It is estimated that one in three people has, at some point, tried marijuana. It is further estimated that one in ten people actively use marijuana on an occasional basis. But, astoundingly, one in twenty American people are estimated to be heavy marijuana users. It is incredible to know that 33 percent of the people in this nation have engaged in marijuana-related behavior, considering it is illegal. One in eight people incarcerated in U.S.A. are in prison for marijuana-related crimes, and this figure alone costs American people over $1,000,000,000 annually in taxpayer money. In a recent issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, Tim Dickinson reported that “the White House leaked word that President Obama considers the four-decade-long crackdown [on marijuana] to be a failure” (Dickinson, 2012). The American government is fighting a losing battle against marijuana use, and it is widely believed that we, as a people, have reached a point in our history in which it is time to seriously re-evaluate the legal stance on marijuana, and potentially decriminalize it completely.
One should first have a brief understanding of the inner workings of the marijuana plant and why it has the