Professor Sindy Finkelson
Argument and Persuasion
November 5, 2013
Ending Marijuana Prohibition
“Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce [28g] of marijuana.” ― Jimmy Carter
There is an injustice occurring right now in this country. Many people are suffering because of a prohibition that has unfairly punished and impugned the rights of the citizens of the United States. I am referring to the prohibition on the use and possession of marijuana. The government’s commitment to stop the use of this marijuana is a boondoggle. Marijuana has been proven over and over again to be safest of the three most commonly used recreational drugs in the United States. Everyone will agree that alcohol is addicting and becoming an alcoholic is physically, mentally and financially harmful to its users and their families. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths such as lung cancer, and heart disease. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Yet in our government’s wisdom they have allowed the use of both of these products. I am not contending they should be criminalized, rather just pointing out the
elephant in the room; marijuana should also be legalized allowing the people of the United States to make their own choice on the issue. The United States should act now to legalize the use, sale, possession of and the manufacturing of the herb (marijuana) because legalizing the herb would benefit the citizens of the United States financially, and improve the quality of life for many people.
Imagine now that the United States finally had the foresight to legalize weed (marijuana). What would be the immediate outcomes of this act? Well for starters all of the people that have been in jail for possession of marijuana could be at once pardoned and released. That’s an estimated 12% of state and federal inmates currently serving time in prison that would be released (Armentano). The burden that exists right now on our overcrowded prison system is an immense problem facing our country. In one fell swoop, we would reduce over crowding in our prisons by releasing non-violent marijuana smokers. Then lets not forget the economic boom that our country would benefit from this saving. It costs $47,102 to house one inmate in the California Prison System in the year 2008. That was five years ago so we can assume that it is now over $50,000 per year to house one inmate. Now lets estimate the immense amount of money our criminal justice system is spending to arrest marijuana users, and sellers. Then the amount of money it costs to have trials and lawyers and appeals. This whole process is estimated to cost our country and estimated 10.7 billion dollars. (Hardy) Yes, that is billion, with a “B”!
Legalizing ganja (marijuana) would indeed lead to the creation of an entire new industry. This industry would be a financial windfall in tax revenue for this country. I’d Venuto 3
like to take it step by step to point out the different avenues of business that would be created. Let’s start with the cultivation of bud (marijuana). Many but not all people know that growing bud could be considered a form of artistry as akin to cultivating a great tomato. Farms would spring up across the country growing many different types and strengths of bud. This would create revenue for green house and farm supply stores. It would of course create many jobs for farm workers and transport would help the trucking industry.
Manufacturing Mary (marijuana) would lead to an amazing array of new products and accessories. Think along the lines of Mary cigarettes,...
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Hardy, Quentin. “Marijuana’s $42 Billion Question.” Forbes Oct 1, 2007. Web. 8 Oct.
Katel, Peter. "Legalizing Marijuana." CQ Researcher 12 June 2009: 525-48. Web. 6 Nov.
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