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Should mariajuana be legal - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Class Date Marijuana Should Be Legal The controversy regarding the legalization of marijuana has endured for at least half a century. Though 17 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, the federal government still considers growing, buying and using it a criminal act…
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Should mariajuana be legal Research Paper
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Download file to see previous pages Proponents point to the harms caused by criminalizing a medically useful and largely benign substance that grows naturally. The war on drugs has been fought for 40 years costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars while filling up prisons, ruining the lives of people who have committed no harm and has escalated organized crime. There is very little separation between the various types of drugs in the minds of those opposed to legalization of marijuana but for those that choose to understand the nuances of the issue the differences are vast. Knowledge is the chasm that separates the two sides. One side is fearful of what they don’t choose to understand, the other has been pleading for a common sense approach to marijuana, one that will cause the least harm to American citizens. The drug war, the prohibition of marijuana, has caused innumerable harms to millions of Americans. Many advocates for legalization have said that the criminalization of marijuana fails to learn from the past. The days of alcohol prohibition did not stop consumption; it just drove it underground and allowed criminal gangs to prosper. That’s true but alcohol is a much more dangerous substance. Alcohol prohibition at least made sense on some level although in practice it was a dismal failure meaning the prohibition of marijuana of beyond the comprehension of any reasonable, rational person. The only explanation for this logical disconnect is that more lawmakers drink than use marijuana, both in the 1930’s and today. Nearly one million Americans are arrested each year for various marijuana violations, about 90 percent for simple possession. Alcohol, a physically addicted substance, as opposed to marijuana, accounts for approximately four percent of fatalities worldwide. Alcohol causes more deaths than violence or AIDS yet is legal, taxed and socially acceptable. Roughly 2.5 million people die from alcohol related reasons worldwide every year. “If we can ignore this fact year after year, that legal drugs are so much more damaging than marijuana, why is it such a stretch to legalize a drug with so many benefits?” (King, 2012). President Nixon started the “War on Drugs” in 1970 with a budget of $15 million. Today the money spent on this futile effort has reached $15 billion per year. More than one trillion dollars of taxpayer money has been wasted in total. We learned nothing from the dark days of alcohol prohibition (1919-1933). People then and now had their lives ruined from consuming an unlawful substance that someday will be legal. Their reputations will never recover from a criminal past, however. Alcohol or marijuana prohibition means spending money and allocating law enforcement to increase the criminal element. That’s not the intent but is certainly the result. Gang violence slowed dramatically after alcohol was legalized and the same will happen with marijuana. Legalization will encourage a new market where locally owned businesses will need to hire thousands of employees. Taxing sales will generate millions in tax revenues for local and state governments. Some of that new tax money can be spent of drug education and rehabilitation facilities which will reduce usage and harms to society. This initiate has already been proven to work. Part of cigarette taxes over the past 30 years has gone to educating youths resulting in a dramatic drop in tobacco use among teens. “If these reforms were adopted, we would be on our way to lessening tragic street violent ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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