Legalization of Marijuana
The legalization of marijuana would greatly reduce drug violence in cities, reduce spending by law enforcement, and taxation of marijuana would greatly help the economic system of the United States. Legalization is a large topic of debate in today’s society. America’s overall view of marijuana is pessimistic however, more and more people are beginning to step forward and express their support for legalization. People are becoming more tolerant of marijuana use; a study by Office of National Drug Control Policy indicates “perception of risk is declining to 30.7%”. The oldest know written record of marijuana dates back to the Chinese Empire in 2727 B.C. Not until 1611 with the arrival of Jamestown settlers did marijuana reach North America (medical marijuana). After the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Mexican immigrants flooded in and introduced marijuana into the American culture. Not until the 1930’s did the word “marijuana” spread throughout the United States. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which effectively criminalized marijuana. The 1960’s brought widespread popularity of marijuana to the youth of the United States (Timeline). Marijuana is a mixture of shredded leaves, stems, seeds and flowers of Cannabis sativa aka the hemp plant. (What is Marijuana?). The main working ingredient in marijuana is a psychoactive called THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. (Cox). Cannabis is generally smoked and once inhaled the 400 chemicals spread throughout the body. The THC binds with the cannabinoid receptors inside the hippocampus, part of the brain with the highest concentration of cannabinoid receptors and interferes with the recollection of events (Bonsor). There are many uses for marijuana such as increasing appetite for those suffering from cancer treatments, help with glaucoma, migraines, muscle tightness, and shakiness. (Marijuana Overview).
Survey taken by the Office of National Drug Control indicate 8.2%, users aging from twelve to seventeen, report smoking at least once a month(Marijuana Legalization). Marijuana use is continually growing every year, in 2011 three million new users of marijuana were reported.(Drug Facts.) “A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.” (Caulkins et al.) Ages between 18-32 show most support with 65% legalization rate.(People-press) As of March 2013 , nearly 48% have tried marijuana with 30% of those users being medical users.(People-press) “As of August 1, 2013, a total of 20 states plus the District of Columbia have what are called “effective” state medical marijuana laws”(Drugwarfacts.org). This results in nearly 2.5 million registered patients in the United States.(Green)
Marijuana legalization would bring many benefits to the United States and its residents. Law enforcement costs would be greatly reduced. Marijuana is currently listed under the DEA’s drug scheduling list as a schedule 1 drug.(drug schedules) “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”(drug schedules) First time possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor with a penalty of one year incarceration and a max 1,000 dollar fine.(norml.org) ”Almost one in five inmates in state prisons and half of those in federal prisons are serving time for drug offense,” says the Times. Federal and state prisons hold 1.6 million prisoners at an average cost of $25,000 a year per prisoner. That’s $40 billion.”(Richardson).Legalizing would bring “nation’s largest cash crop” under rule of law.(drugpolicy.org) Nearly 40 billion dollars would be made by the legalization and taxation of marijuana, also new sources of jobs in stores and farms.(Richardson) Agriculture production would increase , helping farmers with their current crops they are harvesting. “By allowing the legalization of marijuana, the funds used to fight