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To Legalize or Not to Legalize Marijuana

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There is a lot of controversy about legalizing marijuana. There are two sides of the story just like with everything else. Some people are all for making it legal. Then there are others that are totally against it. There are many aspects to look at when looking at the issue. There are going to be positives and negatives in both aspects of the issue. There are many states that have legalized marijuana for medical use. There is also the economy that should be looked at. The government wastes so much money trying to control the whole drug trafficking issue that it is unreal. Then, there is the negative side. People in the drug trade are not just involved in using and selling drugs, they are also involved in other crimes that are committed. This will not help keep the drugs off the street. Let’s take a look at both sides of the issue.

If the government were to legalize marijuana, it would definitely reduce the population in the prisons. “Instead of wasting the money that the government has, why not just turn it around? There are 500,000 people in prison are in there for drug offenses. That includes tens of thousands of people in prison for marijuana related charges.” (Ward, P. (2010) Is that unreal or what? The government is holding non-violent offenders and letting the violent offenders off on probation and/or parole. Why let murders out on probation and/or parole when we have non-violent offenders going to prison for years. What a huge waste of money. Syracuse, N. Y. (2011) states, “Why not legalize marijuana and start making a profit? The United States could make billions every year by legalizing, selling, and taxing marijuana.” The government in Nevada has a proposal that would work in all of the states. Spillman, B. para 6(2010) states, “That there is a group that wants voters to authorize 120 retail outlets for marijuana and 50 wholesale growers. The proposal would call for $50 per ounce excise tax at the wholesale level and sales tax would apply on retail.”

There are many reasons that marijuana should be legalized. Legalizing marijuana would free up our communities resources to fight crime against people and property. If the government legalized marijuana the police could worry more about protecting innocent people from the people that would still commit crimes that have nothing to do with marijuana. It would also clear up the court system. There just is not enough judges to handle all the cases upon cases. This would entirely clear out the tens of thousands of court dockets across the United States. It would also clearly reduce the official corruption problem that we have in the United States. There are so many crooked cops in the United States that it is ridiculous. There are police officers that make deals with drug dealers and some that confiscate drugs and turn around and sell them for their own profit. Legalizing marijuana would put a damper on organized crime. It is like when alcohol was illegal. Manufacturing alcohol was a big deal. They set up distribution networks, bribing officials, and taking the chance of shooting policeman or competitors once in a while. It was just like the drug life is today.

Legalizing marijuana would save tax money. The taxes that the people of the United States pay are wasted. “The cost of drug trafficking alone is $6.2 billion in 1986. If we added in incarcerating users, traffickers, and the ones that commit crime to pay for their drugs it would cost well over $10 billion dollars.” (The Pragmatist para 6 (1988) Legalizing marijuana would make it a lot safer for consumers. Right now there is no telling what could be put into the marijuana that people buy off the streets. If it were legal it would have all the consumer safety features. It would have everything from warning labels, warning labels, manufacturer accountability, product quality, and instruction sheets. Then, of course there are reasons why the government should not legalize marijuana. Los Angeles, Calif para 7(2010) states, “A study conducted in several localities showed that between 4% and 14% of drivers who sustained injuries or died in traffic accidents tested positive for delta-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

Because marijuana negatively affects driver’s judgment, motor skills and reaction time, it stands to reason that legalize marijuana would lead to more accidents and fatalities involving drivers under the influence.” This is just like drinking and driving. Belling, T.para 3(2010) states, “People in the drug trade do not just commit drug related crimes, they are involved in any and all crimes that they can possibly make money at. They will continue their criminal behavior. They will not disappear.” There is reason to believe that drug dealers will continue to sell drugs to underage children. That would cause a huge conflict in the communities in the United States. The government will also overtax marijuana just like they have done alcohol and tobacco. This will still give dealers the chance to keep on going with the illegal selling of marijuana. There is also the fact that yes marijuana will meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.

Yes that is a good thing. But, there is still the fact that it could destroy lives. The government will get the money that people have stolen from their friends, family, neighbors, even strangers. That does not help with the robbery crimes that are going on in the United States. It is believed that there will still be street dealers. This will not help with the population in prisons. The numbers of addicts and abusers could and very well may go up. The drug related crimes may be replaced with property crimes, violent crimes, robberies committed by those addicts and abusers that are unable to make it in the job market. (Belling, T para 4(2010)

Legalizing marijuana for medical reasons has been quite the stepping stone for our country. There are still legal problems with medical marijuana. Yes, people have to have a medical card in order to possess and use marijuana. That does not mean that the people that do have a medical card are not sharing with their friends and selling to underage children. This is a big issue for people in the United States. What happens when these people that misuse their card? Getting the medical marijuana card is far from easy. So why would these people risk losing their card? They just do not care. They are doing whatever they can to make a little extra cash on the side. Until they get caught.

Once the government legalizes marijuana some people believe that the addiction rate and the abusive rates will go up. There will be a lot more people in the United States that use marijuana, most of these people will not be able to hold jobs. Will this put a strain on police, fire, medical, ambulance services? Due to the amount of people that will be using and driving this could happen. It will definitely make it harder for employers to find employees that are 100% drug free.

Another question that tends to come up when talking about legalizing marijuana is: What other illegal drugs will the government try to legalize next? There are other problems that come along with the other drugs. Cocaine, LSD, PCP, heroin, methamphetamine are all huge contributors to the crimes that are committed here in the United States. There are lots of people in jails, prisons, rehabilitation centers for all of these other drugs. More of the tax payer’s money paying for keeping drugs off the streets and attempting to help addicts and abusers change their lives. Yes, some of these addicts and abusers do turn around their lives after getting the help.

Legalizing marijuana would benefit the economy as long as it is taxed just like tobacco, alcohol, and even sugar. Crime would not rise because marijuana is not a narcotic. The money that the government spends keeping marijuana dealers and users behind bars could be used by states to improve education, roadways, health care. It could benefit the United States in so many different areas that it is unreal. The same kind of control that regulates tobacco and alcohol could easily transition the control of marijuana. Tobacco farmers are regulated heavily by the government. Why can’t the government do the same with marijuana? They control the sales to underage children by checking identification cards and requiring in some states that people that serve alcohol have a server’s license. That would help with keeping driving the under the influence.

There are classes that people have to take and a test that people in some states have to pass in order to sell or serve alcohol. The government could make a law that you must have a server’s license to sell or serve marijuana. There is a lot of different ways to approach legalizing marijuana. It looks like the positive really outweighs the negative in this issue. Yes of course, there is going to be negative things that still happen. People are not perfect and will not ever be perfect. People have a choice and they should be held responsible for the choices that they make. If they choose not to follow the laws then they obviously need to learn the hard way. It would be just like it is now with alcohol. Drinking and driving, smoking and driving the same thing the same consequences. Distributing to the delinquency of a minor alcohol or marijuana should have the same consequences. Really there would not be that much of a difference than what the government has done with alcohol. Think about it. The research proves that legalizing marijuana would definitely be worth the effort that the tax payers and the government have to put into it.


Belling, T. (2010) Why Legalizing Drugs Is A Bad Idea Retrieved from http://caselaw4cops.net/articles/legalizing_drugs.html California should just say no; legalizing marijuana through prop. 19 would only add to the state’s problems. (2010, Aug 25). Los Angeles Times, pp. A.17-A.17. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/746644631?accountid=32521 Legalizing marijuana to create new problems : Minister. (2011, May 19). Antara, pp. n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/901278956?accountid=32521 Legalizing marijuana would boost economy. (2011, Oct 31). The Post – Standard, pp. A.13. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/901278956?accountid=32521 Pragmatist (1988) Twelve Reasons To Legalize Drugs Retrieved from http://www.druglibrary.org/think/~jnr/12reason.htm Paula, R. W. (2010, Nov 06). Panel debates merits of legalizing marijuana use. McClatchy – Tribune Business News, pp. n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/762546348?accountid=32521 Spillman, B. (2010, Aug 01). Legalizing, taxing marijuana opposed. Las Vegas Review – Journal, pp. B.2. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/734576327?accountid=32521

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