College of the Desert
Introduction Recreational marijuana should be regulated by the government in the United States. Why should we decriminalize it when people are going to smoke it or eat it whether it is legal or illegal? In short, the war in drugs over the past 40 years has failed. So we need to take another prospective; Rather than totally legalize marijuana or prohibit it, in my opinion, there are other strategies, such as regulation. Marijuana should be legal for adults (21 and over), and the amount and places where any individual can smoke or eat it should be limited. Cannabis, usually known as “marijuana,” as well as other innumerable names, is a preparation of the cannabis plant intended for use either as a recreational or medicinal drug. It is the third most popular recreational drug in America (behind alcohol and tobacco,) and according to the United Nations 158.8 million people around the world use marijuana (more than 3.8% of the planet’s population). As stated by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH,) in 2007 ninety four million people in U.S. have admitting using marijuana at least once, and 2.1 million people abused it for the first time.
Law Enforcement There are three main claims why, in my opinion, recreational marijuana should be regulated in the United States by the government. The first one is the law enforcement issue. Crimes are acts that are so bad—they inflict such severe harm on others—that the offender deserves to be arrested, dragged through court, jailed, and saddled with a criminal record that will pose barriers to employment, housing, and education. Labeling an act a crime is no light matter. At least, it should not be, if we expect our criminal laws and those sworn to enforce them to be respected and criminals to be deterred. Despite its illegality, though according to a survey made by NSDUH nearly one out of two American adults admit to having smoked marijuana. Of these, about ten percent of Americans have smoked marijuana during the past year. The majority of marijuana smokers, like most other Americans, are good citizens who work hard, raise families, pay taxes and contribute in a positive way to their communities; many successful business and professional leaders, including even professors, many state and elected federal officials, admit they have smoked marijuana. They are certainly not part of the crime problem in this country, and it is terribly unfair to continue to treat them as criminals when they get arrested for simply possession. Even if we take a look to some of the criminals’ backgrounds, we could affirm that these people committed crimes before they smoked marijuana, what support that their need for drugs cannot have caused their initial criminal career (Currie, 2009.) Put simply marijuana prohibition destroys the careers of hundreds of thousands of good, hard-working, productive citizens each year in this country. More than 693,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges last year, and more than 5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses in the past decade. Almost 90 percent of these arrests are for simple possession, not trafficking or sale. I do not think is fair to criminalize millions of people just because they choose to consume a substance that it safer than either tobacco or alcohol. On the other hand, by legalizing marijuana the crime could go down as happened in Colorado since the government implemented its legal recreational cannabis law. Violent crime in the state has decreased by 2.2%, burglaries are down 9.5% and overall property crimes decreased by 8.9%. Still some people could claim that driving under marijuana influence increases the risk of fatality accidents, but there is little evidence to support this claim, on the contrary, a 2002 review of seven separate studies involving 7,934 drivers reported, “Crash