Paul Ryan, the United States Representative for Wisconsin is the chairman for the house budget committee. He states that as of March 13, 2013, the outstanding public debt is rounded to $16.7 trillion during his speech at the CPAC. (Moorhead, 2013) With that said, it is time for a change. The economy needs improvement and we have had the solution growing in our fields and basements all along. Right now 18 out of 50 states, plus Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and two states Colorado and Washington have legalized it for recreational use. Research and history have both shown that legalization of marijuana would have a positive impact on not only the economy, but also society as well.
It is forecasted that the U.S. can save over $13.7 billion per year by legalizing marijuana just by eliminating the Prohibition enforcement alone. An economist named Stephen Easton even reported to BusinessWeek that the financial benefits might even be greater than that. Reducing the amount of marijuana related crimes can save the U.S. almost $1 billion a year according to the figures in 2012. This will help a small portion of the debt from increasing while we work on decreasing it. Colorado, a legal state, estimates $60 million in state revenue and savings from dispensaries while Washington, another legal state, estimates $500 million in state revenue and savings. California’s biggest cash crop is marijuana. It brings in about $14 billion a year. Imagine how much tax and revenue can be made from a $14 billion market. In 2011, Oakland County brought in more than $1 million which is 3% of the cities sales tax from medical marijuana alone. Also, as the supply and demand increases the jobs will increase; from working the fields and cultivating the gardens down to selling the products at the dispensaries. Another increase will be the opening of more hydroponic stores creating around 75 jobs indirectly. (Huffington Post)
Although with any drug, prescription or nonprescription, misusing it can lead to severe illness and even death. If a person is looking for that “good time” some believe that marijuana is a safer way to go. In an article to Alice posted in the Columbia University website a person asks, “What is overall safer for your body: alcohol or marijuana?” (Alcohol vs. marijuana; which is safer.2013) In her reply she states that marijuana can lead to short-term cognitive impairment, memory loss, dependency, and if smoked, smoking-related problems such as cancer and respiratory problems. On the other hand, alcohol can lead to impaired judgment, memory loss and academic, work or personal problems. Plus the long term effect of alcohol can cause liver damage, heart disease, peptic ulcers, and physical dependency.
Another class of drugs includes opiates. Opiates are powerful painkillers and include Vicodin, Morphine, and Codeine. Right now these opiates are the FDA approved pain killers people are using instead of marijuana. Long-term side effects of opiates are weakened immune system, dependency, increased tolerance and severe problems with vital organs. ("The Long Term Opiate Effects", 2012) Opiates come in the form of capsules, tablets, syrups, solutions, and suppositories, with the addictive nature of the opiate; misuse of this drug is very common. When they have built a tolerance to the prescribed amount they might up their own dose without the doctor’s approval. Also when looking for a more intense reaction of the drug, some people will crush the pill and snort it or even dissolve it in a little bit of water, heat it, and inject in into the vein. This produces a high that will make the person forget about the pain. At times this high feeling becomes so overwhelming they want to experience it over again leading to addition. Once they become immune to this high, some people then turn to a more illegal form of the opiate to get a more power high, and an addiction is then created.