If Marijuana Were Legalized
Drugs are a major influential force in our country today. The
problem has gotten so out of hand that many options are being
considered to control it or even solve it. Ending the drug war seems
to be a bit impossible. The war on drugs seems to be accomplishing a
lot but this is not true. Different options need to be considered.
Legalization is an option that hasn't gotten a chance but should be
given one. Although many people feel that legalizing marijuana would
increase the amount of use, marijuana should be legalized because it
will reduce the great amounts of money spent on enforcement and it
will increase our country's revenue. There are also many benefits
that can be uncovered to help people if legalization of marijuana is
given a chance.
Legalizing marijuana would increase our economy's revenue.
During Prohibition alcohol use was still sold and used, but people
were doing it illegally. The 21st amendment repealed prohibition and
alcohol taxes were increased. The same thing should happen with
drugs. Marijuana should be taxed heavily to increase our revenue.
Marijuana and other drugs would be made by the same people who make
aspirin so the quality would be assured, containing no poisons or
adulterants. Sterile hypodermic needles will be readily available at
corner drug stores. These could be taxed heavily because the users
will be assured of "clean drugs."
Making drugs legal will reduce the great amounts of money
spent on enforcement every year. Drug dealers and users are one step
ahead on the enforcement process. If one drug lord is caught, another
one will show up somewhere else. We cannot win. "In 1987, 10 billion
dollars were spent alone just on enforcing drug laws. Drugs accounted
for about 40 percent of all felony indictments in the New York City
courts in 1989. This figure is quadruple what it was in 1985. . Forty
percent of the people in federal prison are drug law violators" (Long
114). One can only imagine what this figure would be like today. Too
much money is wasted on a cause that seems to be no end to. "In 1989,
a Republican county executive of Mercer County N.J. estimated that it
would cost him as much as 1 billion dollars to build the jail space
needed to house all the hard-core drug users in Trenton alone" (Long
128). All of this money could be used on better things.
By lifting the ban on marijuana use and treating it like other
drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, the nation would gain immediate and
long-term benefits. This change in the law would greatly improve the
quality of life for many people. Victims of glaucoma and those needing
antinausea treatment, for example, would find marijuana easily
available. Also, the cloud of suspicion would disappear, and doctors
could get on with investigating marijuana's medical uses without fear
of controversy. In the essay, "Drugs", Vidal states, " Nevertheless
many drugs are bad for certain people to take and they should be told
why in a sensible way" (321-322). It might become possible to discuss
the dangers of marijuana use without getting caught up in a policy
Meanwhile, the black market would disappear overnight. Some
arrangement would be made to license the production of marijuana
cigarettes. Thousands of dealers would be put out of business, and a
secret part of the economy would come into the open. It is difficult
to say whether this change would reduce crime because criminals would
probably continue to sell other drugs. But it would have an impact on
the amount of money flowing through criminal channels, and this might
weaken organized crime.
The legalization of marijuana would benefit the federal budget
in two ways, the federal revenues would increase, because marijuana
cigarettes would be taxed at the point of sale. In return, the
companies that make the cigarettes would also pay income taxes..
Second, there would be a reduction on the amount spent on law
enforcement efforts to apprehend and prosecute users and sellers of
marijuana. The drug enforcement authorities might reduce their budget
requests, or, more likely, focus more intensely on hard drugs and
violent crimes. The courts would be relieved of hearing some drug
cases, as well.
The most important gain would be in the quality of government.
The sorts of temptations and opportunities that lead to corruption
would be significantly minimized. The illogical pattern of law
enforcement, which now treats marijuana as more dangerous as alcohol,
would end. It would set more achievable goals for law enforcement, and
this would lend strength and credibility to the government. In the
essay "drugs," Vidal states, "It is possible to stop most drug
addiction in the United States within a very short time, Simply make
all drugs available.