November 5th 2012
Legalization of Marijuana
The word “marijuana” is an ear raiser in almost every Michigan household today. People who oppose legalizing the use of marijuana commonly believe its use is to smoke the plant, and those that do not choose to use marijuana tend to want to keep it illegal. Diverse views on decriminalization of marijuana has caused a lot of turmoil over the past half-century and still remains a hot topic in today's society. There have also been many negative attacks against marijuana usage because of a biased and benighted view on the part of the general populous.
The decriminalization of marijuana in Michigan would radically reduce drug cartel activity, crime in cities, marijuana related arrests and create tax revenue. It would also create jobs through programs on marijuana education, regulation, taxation, and cultivation. The war on drugs effects taxpaying citizens everyday on many different levels and walks of life. The Michigan government spends large sums of money to enforce laws, curb usage, and protect the overall public from the dangers of many different drugs. In 2007 marijuana arrests accounted for 19,691 arrests, or 56% of all drug related arrests in Michigan (Gettman, J. 2009). These numbers are astounding considering second in drug popularity according to arrests in 2007 was Opiates and Cocaine, which accounted for 9,788 arrests, or 28% of the total arrests. Instead of spending large amounts of money on marijuana related arrests, keeping marijuana related criminals out of jail (huge money saver), and court fees, the Michigan government could create education programs with that money. These marijuana education groups would be just like any other informational organization, it would be called: Educate, Regulate, Cultivate; ERC for short. Keeping marijuana related arrestees out of jail would save billions a year. How so? Every tax dollar you spend on keeping a marijuana arrestee in jail, the jail makes money by doing nothing but keeping him there. And YOU pay for his food, healthcare, and security. Tax payers go every year paying more and more for marijuana related defense spending. Remember that guy down the block that sold your neighbor some pot and got arrested? Yeah, you're paying for his cell, food, and healthcare. It costs money to keep that dangerous blood curdling pot dealer in jail.
The major reason many Michiganders are pushing decriminalization is because of government overspending. In 2006 there were 353,335 arrests with 19,973 of those being marijuana related. That's only 5.65% of arrests being marijuana related, which amounts to a total cost of $326.02 million (Gettman, J. 2009). “Marijuana legalization would reduce government expenditure by about $8.7 billion, while also yielding $8.7 billion annually”. Miron, J. A., & Waldock, Katherine (2010). With that being said, marijuana is a cash crop that can be controlled and made profitable.
Ever since the early 1980's marijuana use has slowly gone up, while government spending on marijuana related enforcement has blown way out of proportion. More money than ever is being spent on marijuana law enforcement, whether it's taking care of an inmate, probation costs/fees, and raids. Marijuana could become the United States' number one cash crop by far. If legalization happens, experts predict that government spending will go down because marijuana will generate billions of dollars a year, eventually cutting the deficit dollar by dollar.
“Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug (15.2 million past-month users) according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)” NIDA (2010, September) With that being said, almost everyone in the continental United States knows or has heard of marijuana. It is one of the safest, commonly used drugs out there.
Obviously inhaling burning plant matter isn't safe by any means, but it is safer than injecting yourself with