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If Marijuana Were To Be Legal


The illegal usage of drugs is very prevalent in our country
today. The problem has gotten so severe, that many options
are being considered to control it or even solve it. The
war on drugs does not seem to be accomplishing enough, and
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repealed prohibition and alcohol taxes were increased.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 would 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 large amount of money
spent on enforcement every year. Drug dealers and users are
one step ahead of 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 quadrupled since 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 have no end. "In 1989, a Republican
county executive of Mercer County, NJ, estimated that it
would cost him as much as one 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 debate..
 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. One way would be that 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.



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