Essay Legalization of Marijuana

Submitted By JanDuncan1058
Words: 3105
Pages: 13

Running head: Legalization of Marijuana

Legalization of Marijuana: For the Betterment of Society

Janice Duncan

SOC 120

David Strand

November 27, 2012

Legalization of Marijuana: For the Betterment of Society

The purpose of this paper is to use utilitarianism to show that the Legalization of Marijuana is indeed for the betterment of society. We will also contrast this view from the perspective of emotivism. Legalization of marijuana has been and still is a huge topic globally, but we are going to look at it more specifically on the American continent while focusing on policy in the United States and in part the effect on both Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. We will look at what the prohibition of marijuana is costing and the anticipated revenue that legalization would provide. Some of the medicinal uses will also be explored. The resources that will be used in this paper will be collected from a diverse array of sources including the Ashford University library through searches using EBSCOhost, ProQuest and JSTOR, as well as information from the internet on sites like,, and as well as any other sites where reliable and pertinent information is found. This information will be combined in a manner that flows as a cohesive paper. There are currently 18 states in the United States that have voter approval of medical marijuana. Washington state and Colorado have recently voted to legalize recreational use (NORML, n.d.). Congress has approved the medical use of marijuana in the District of Columbia as well (Pappas, 2012), yet it is still illegal and classified as a schedule 1 drug federally (Marijuana: Know the Facts, 2012). According to the Marijuana Fact Sheet (2012) rates of marijuana among 8th to 12th graders are higher than for any other illicit drug. 17.4 million people ages 12 and over were current marijuana users according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They also show that from 2008-2010, use of marijuana among young adults through age 25 climbed from 19.6% to 21.5%. There were 2.4 million new past-year users of marijuana in 2010 (Marijuana: Know the Facts, 2012). The Marijuana Fact Sheet (2012) also claims that marijuana is a schedule 1 drug which means it has high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. They also state that the average potency of marijuana has doubled since 1998 (Marijuana: Know the Facts, 2012). The government spends more than $51,000,000,000 yearly on the War on Drugs (Drug War Statistics, n.d). There were 1,638,846 people arrested in 2010 on drug charges alone and 853,838 of those were for marijuana (Drug War Statistics, n.d.). There were 750,591 of those arrests that were for possession of marijuana only. There were also 2,424,279 Americans incarcerated in 2009 in federal, state and local prisons and jails. This is noted as the highest incarceration rate in the world. Two thirds of those incarcerated for drug offenses are black or Hispanic, even though these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites (Drug War Statistics, n.d.). It is estimated that the state of California alone would raise $1,400,000,000 if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana (Drug War Statistics, n.d.). Federal tax revenue would yield $46.7 billion if currently illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco (Drug War Statistics, n.d.). In spite of continued increases in the amount of cannabis produced in the United States, there is still a large amount of marijuana available that is foreign produced. The primary countries that marijuana comes from are Canada and Mexico (Marijuana, n.d.). Juarez, Mexico is the epicenter of Mexico’s drug war. There were 3,111 murders in 2010, in Juarez alone, making it the highest