14 February 2013
The Positive Effects of Legalizing Marijuana
The word "marijuana" has been a concerned topic in almost every American home today. Marijuana, whose botanical name is cannabis, has been used by humans for thousands of years. It was classified as an illegal drug by many countries in the 20th century. Over the past two decades, there has been a growing movement to legalize marijuana, primarily for medical purposes. Opposing views on the subject of decriminalizing the plant has caused much controversy over the past twenty years and still remains an important issue. The legalization of marijuana in the United States would drastically reduce crime in our cities and help reduce some of the national debt through its positive uses.
The war on drugs touches every level of society. Despite the fact that marijuana effects are far less harmful than those of most other drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, it is the most common drug that over 20 million Americans have been arrested and charged with its use since 1965. Every year, the U.S. government spends large amounts of money to control drug use and to enforce laws that were created to protect society from the dangers of certain drugs. Some argue that the fight against marijuana is wasteful spending and that society has already lost the war. Some believe the only way to solve the problem is to end the fighting altogether by decriminalizing the use of plant. Our country spends $68 billion a year on prisoners, one-third of which are imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. About half of these prisoners are marijuana offenders. This means that one-sixth of our countries prisoners are in jail for marijuana related charges (Wolff). Legalizing the drug would free up much needed prison space for more violent crime offenders and also saving the country over $11 billion a year. In the 2010 edition of “The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition,” Jeffrey Miron, director of undergraduate studies at
Cited: Alliance, Drug Policy. Drug Policy Alliance. 2013. 13 2 2013. <www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/10-facts-about-marijuana>. Booth, Martin. Cannabis: A History. London: Doubleday, 2003. Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 10 Janurary 2012. 13 February 2013. Reuteman, Rob. The Cost-and-Benefit Arguments Around Enforcement. 20 April 2010. 14 2 2013. Wolff, Madeline. "Legalizing marijuana can reduce crime, increase revenue for state." Daily Sundial (2009).