Legalization Of Marijuana By: Sam Montgomery Research Paper Emily Rodgers Legalization of Marijuana Why shouldn’t marijuana legalized? Are there actually good reasons for making it legal? Critics say marijuana is a gateway drug, but honestly, everything could be considered a gateway drug. People get high off of all kinds of things, and as soon as the high is over, they look for additional things that might give them the same effect. This includes common household products such as cough medicine, bleach, air dusters, and even permanent markers (Borba, 2012).
Alcohol is legal and caused 24,518 deaths as recent as 2009; while in comparison marijuana is illegal and no one has died from overdosing on marijuana. A lot of people drink alcohol to get that “buzz” or good feeling alcohol gives in drinking large amounts, especially when one’s life might be full of problems. They think it will help them feel better, but this is only a temporary solution to their problems. There is really nothing good about drinking alcohol and it is legal, but then on the other hand, marijuana does have some good aspects and is illegal!
This really doesn’t make much sense at all. Drinking alcohol is a choice made by us, and that is what marijuana should be. Similar to alcohol, the government needs to leave the responsibility for using marijuana to us. In this essay one will see that legalizing marijuana will optimize our liberty by limiting corruption, eliminate the cost to keep it illegal with the added bonus of monetary gains of making it legal, and will take out the failure to keep it illegal along with helping our country and government out for the better.
The first and most basic reason that marijuana should be legal is that there is no good reason for it not to be legal. Some people ask “Why should marijuana be legalized? ” when the question should be “Why should marijuana be illegal? ” From a philosophical point of view, individuals deserve the right to make choices for themselves. The government only has a right to limit those choices if the individual’s actions endanger someone else. This does not apply to marijuana, since the individual who chooses to use marijuana does so according to his or her own free will.
The government also may have a right to limit individual actions if the actions pose a significant threat to the individual, but this argument does not logically apply to marijuana because marijuana is far less dangerous than some drugs which are legal, such as alcohol and tobacco (Keeler, 2009). Legalizing marijuana would make free all those people in jail for possessing or smoking marijuana. Prison overcrowding is a serious, expensive, and persistent problem in our country. It makes the prison environment, violent and faceless to begin with, even more dangerous and dehumanizing.
Governments at all levels keep building more prisons, but the number of prisoners keeps outpacing the capacity to hold them. Those in prison for marijuana law violations are the largest single category (“Earth protector,”). Marijuana-related police corruption takes one of two major forms. Police officers either offer marijuana dealers protection in their districts for a share of the profits (or demand a share under threat of exposure) or they seize the dealer’s merchandise for sell for themselves.
There are known cases where police officers were indicted on charges of falsifying records of money and marijuana confiscated from dealers. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate this inducement to corruption, and help to clean up the police’s image. Eliminating marijuana law violation and corruption cases would further reduce the strain on the courts, freeing judges, and investigators to handle other cases more thoroughly and expeditiously (“Earth protector,”). Legalizing marijuana would immediately relieve the pressure on the prison system, and optimize the people’s liberty by cutting out the corruption.
Now, if you are diagnosed with cancer or something that causes so much pain it’s intolerable, would you want to be taking all kinds of pills that could hurt your body even further in the long run or smoke marijuana with really mild side effects? Researchers from Tel Aviv University say that smoking a little marijuana could help provide dramatic relief for the elderly who suffer from a variety of chronic ailments. The scientists tested the effects of marijuana treatment on 19 residents of the Hadarim nursing home in Israel.
During the study, the participants reported dramatic physical results, including healthy weight gain and the reduction of pain and tremors. According to the study authors, the elderly participants also experienced an immediate improvement in their moods and communication skills after smoking cannabis. Zach Klein, a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television Studies, said that the use of prescription medications was also significantly reduced as a result of using medical marijuana (Rannals).
The answer to the question is evident here, and that is why marijuana should have been legal for decades now. The second important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government more money than it would to keep it illegal. In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the “War on Drugs. ” The cost to interdict the marijuana traffic and the cost of incarcerating users and traffickers runs into billions of dollars.
The crisis in inmate housing would disappear, saving taxpayers the expense of building more prisons in the future (“Earth protector,”). These people get locked up in prison, and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to lock these people up. This is extremely expensive! The savings would be redirected toward better police protection and speedier judicial service, or it could be converted into savings for taxpayers. For a change, it’s a happy problem to ponder, but it takes legalization to make it possible.
In addition, if marijuana were made legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes. Two states, Colorado and Washington, became the first to legalize marijuana, sparking celebrations, distinct, but not mutually exclusive from those rooting for Barack Obama. The states could see a major economic boost because of the legalization. The new measure is expected to bring the two states more than $550 million combined, with more than 300 economists previously estimating that legalizing pot could save the U.
S. up to $14 billion a year (Bradford, 2012). The market for marijuana is already large and will almost certainly grow substantially. Large profits await savvy and successful growers, sellers, and entrepreneurs in associated enterprises such as fertilizer and grow-light vendors; pipe, bong, and vaporizer manufacturers and dealers; banks and other financial-service providers; not to mention munchie selling convenience stores and all-night diners (Worthington, 2012). In addition, a once-thriving hemp industry could again produce high-quality cloth, paper, nutritious oil, and biodiesel fuel.
Obviously, all of these businesses will need employees, providing another boost to the economy. There is nothing but gains for legalizing marijuana; so, we should hop on the train sometime soon, and it will be beneficial. The third major reason that marijuana should be legal is because prohibition does not help the country in any way, it just causes many problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use (the “forbidden fruit” effect, and easier accessibility for youth).
One unintended effect of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools; because marijuana is available to everyone that has friends. You don’t have to be 21 to buy marijuana. Marijuana dealers usually don’t care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids (Pope,2011).
If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should focus on open and honest programs to educate the youth, good regulations to keep drugs to protect underage persons, and continue to improve treatment programs for people with drug problems. The current prohibition scheme does not allow such reasonable approaches to marijuana; instead we are stuck with ‘DARE’ in which police officers are not telling the truth about drugs in schools, and policies that result in jail time rather than treatment for people with drug problems.
The considerable police efforts now expended against marijuana activity; marijuana related crimes could be redirected toward protecting people from those who commit real crimes. The police could protect us more effectively by focusing resources on catching murderers, rapists, and the other perpetrators of crimes against people and property. Our country tried prohibition with alcohol, and that had failed miserably. We should be able to learn our lesson and stop repeating the same mistakes. If you are accused of a crime, it takes months to bring you to trial.
Guilty or innocent, you must live with the anxiety of the impending trial until the trial finally begins. The process is even more sluggish for civil proceedings. There simply aren’t enough judges and staff to handle the skyrocketing caseload. Since it would cut crime and eliminate marijuana use as a type of crime, legalization would wipe thousands of cases off the court dockets across the country, permitting the rest of the court cases to move sooner and faster. Prosecutors would have more time to handle each case and judges would make more considered decisions.
Improved efficiency at the lower levels would have a ripple effect on higher courts. Better decisions in the lower courts would yield fewer grounds for appeals, reducing the caseloads of appeals courts; and in any event, there would be fewer cases to review in the first place. Next discussion is about how traffickers are well prepared to defend their crops against intruding government forces. Legalizing marijuana would affect organized crime and subversion abroad as much as it would in the United States.
A major source for guerrilla funding would disappear. So would the motive for kidnapping or assassinating officials and private individuals. Once again people could walk the streets and travel the roads without fear of marijuana-related violence. Countries would no longer be paralyzed by smugglers. The United States continued pressure on foreign governments to fight their domestic marijuana industries has clearly reinforced the image of America as an imperialist bully, indifferent to the concerns of other peoples. To marijuana farmers, the U. S. overnment is not a beacon of freedom, but a threat to their livelihoods (“Earth protector,”). Legalizing and regulating marijuana would remove some of the reasons to hate America, and deprive local politicians of the chance to exploit them. The U. S would have a new opportunity to repair its reputation in an atmosphere of mutual respect. In summary, all of these factors related to legalizing marijuana would help our government and our country in dealing with a very difficult problem for our society while providing many benefits during this time in history.
In conclusion, the information provided proves how legalizing marijuana would solve many of our current problems associated with enforcing the marijuana laws. Legalizing marijuana will optimize our liberty by improving the justice system through removal of the numerous court cases involving marijuana and to allow the courts to better focus on the hard crimes, increase the efficiency of the prison system by providing much needed space for the real criminals in the overcrowded prison system, remove the difficult task of law enforcement agencies to enforce marijuana laws hile reducing the potential for corruption. Each of these changes would produce a major cost savings to the government while opening a brand new business market with taxable revenue which would create substantial monetary gains for the government and business. There would some costs involved in regulating this new business market, but the gains would clearly outweigh the costs.
Legalizing marijuana would also eliminate one component of the drug market that is very difficult for the government to enforce the laws and has been an epic failure in the past. In addition, changing the United States stance on marijuana to match that of neighboring countries would most likely benefit foreign relations with those countries. Ultimately, legalizing marijuana would improve our government and our country. All of these pieces of evidence provide a strong argument for why marijuana should be legal.
I don’t even smoke marijuana, and I still think our country is wrong for not having legalized marijuana by now, when you consider all of the facts. The United States needs to change its old-fashioned thinking and stop being close-minded about issues like this and start looking at solving these problems from outside the box. It is time for a real change, Obama, and one that actually will benefit all of us American citizens! Reference Page Adams, J. (2008, August 18). latimes. com. Retrieved from http://www. atimes. com/features/health/la-he-marijuanapro18-2008aug18,0,3084928. story Bradford, H. (2012, November 07). 14 ways marijuana legalization could boost the economy. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/11/07/marijuana-economy-14-reasons_n_2089107. html Borba, M. (2012, May 31). 13 dangerous (and stupid) ways teens get high. Retrieved from http://www. micheleborba. com/blog/2012/05/31/dangerous-and-stupid-ways-teens-get-high/ Earth protector. (n. d. ). Retrieved from
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