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Legalizing Marijuana

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From 1979 to 1998 there were 380,000 deaths from alcohol and only 44,000 deaths from illegal drugs (Texas). Marijuana should be legalized in the United States. If marijuana is legalized there will be less people in prison meaning that taxes spent on prisoners could be spent on other things. Legalizing marijuana would bring more money into the government in the form of excise taxes. This move would also make marijuana easier to regulate and keep out of the hands of kids. Another reason marijuana should be legal is simply because prohibition doesn't work. There are other things that are legal that are just as harmful as marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized for the many health benefits it provides. The legalization of marijuana will also lead to a decrease in the crime and violence associated with the black market.

If the United States were to legalize marijuana there would be less people in jail. In 2004, 684,319 people were incarcerated in the United States for possession alone, according to the U. S. Department of Justice (Saunders). These arrests were only for possession, nothing else. 97 percent of marijuana arrests are for an ounce or less (Texas). If 40 percent of Americans use marijuana on a regular basis why is it illegal? 61 percent of Americans oppose arresting and jailing nonviolent marijuana smokers (Saunders). If over half of Americans agree on something shouldn't it be the law.

America should legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana. If America legalized marijuana the government would be spending less money on enforcing laws and more money on important things like drug education and rehab (Saunders). 8 billion dollars is spent on enforcing laws and this number is increasing by 1 billion dollars a year while importation also increases. This just causes more organized crime, drug related murders, and more people in jail (Texas). 480 million dollars in taxes are spent on marijuana arrests each year. If marijuana was legal, this money saved could be used to reduce the national debt.

Making drugs illegal doesn't keep them out of the hands of children (Texas). Some people think that keeping marijuana illegal makes it harder to purchase (Hedman). This is not true, marijuana is available almost everywhere, even in schools. According to Texas Monthly, "kids can't buy hard liquor, but hard drugs are as available as candy." If marijuana was legal the government could regulate it and make sure that it doesn't get to kids. Parents also have a concern with legalizing marijuana. Most parents will ask, "How do I protect my children from marijuana?" Pierre responds, "How do you protect your children from tobacco [or alcohol]?" (Saunders)

The United States government should legalize marijuana because prohibition doesn't work. The supply of marijuana is so plentiful that the price has actually fallen (Marshall). Prohibition is not working because not everybody agrees with it. In fact, a large number of people think that it is acceptable to smoke marijuana and 18 million people use it at least once a month. There are more people willing to spend money on buying marijuana than there are people willing to pay taxes to help fight against it (Marshall). People care more about getting the drugs than people care about stopping drug use. The market for marijuana is growing faster than the police force that is working to stop it.

Cigarette smokers expose millions of people each year to the dangers of lung cancer and heart disease (Marshall). Cigarettes are legal. Why should marijuana be any different? It makes no sense to punish the occasional user by making it illegal to all. 75 to 80 percent of those who use drugs are not addicted to them (Marshall). This situation is like gambling. Some people will bet without regard until all of their money is gone. These people only make up a small percentage of the people that gamble, but the government doesn't outlaw gambling in order to protect the minority. In some cases marijuana has been classified as a "gateway drug" (a drug that will lead the user to other, more dangerous drugs). "There is no evidence to support the belief that the use of one drug will inevitably lead to the use of any other drug (Marshall)." People that do become addicted to marijuana should not be treated like criminals and punished. They should be offered treatment, just like those who are addicted to alcohol. In this affect marijuana should be treated like alcohol, it should be illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana but not the use. John Stuart Mill says that the government should only regulate the aspect of drugs that affect society (Marshall).

A man named Robert Randall, who is suffering from glaucoma, goes to a pharmacy in Washington, D.C. once a month a collects a silvery can that is waiting for him. It contains 300 neatly packed marijuana cigarettes. The government intends for Randall to smoke this drug. This marijuana is cultivated on a farm run by the federal government in Mississippi. He uses marijuana to ease the pain of his illness. He won the right to this "marijuana therapy" with the help of his lawyers, who carved out an exception to the law (Marshall). Marijuana should be legalized for medical reasons. There are many disorders and diseases that it can help with. These include, but are not limited



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