Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America, following tobacco and alcohol of course, and has been used by over 100 million Americans at least once. Around 14 million Americans use the herb on a daily basis despite that it is illegal. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it’s been in use, its known uses date back further than 7000 B.C, such as cloth, incense, food, rope, paper and much more. It was not until the early 1900’s that marijuana reached public awareness as a recreational drug. Shortly after the marijuana prohibition was put into play. “ Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes”, words spoken by Abraham Lincoln. The prohibition on marijuana has not only proven to be a waste of time but also a waste of money and useful resources. The legalization of marijuana will reduce crime rate and money spent on pointless incarcerations, generate enormous tax revenue, and give sick patients a new effective medicine for their needs.
Keeping marijuana illegal is quite expensive. In fact it’s more expensive to keep it illegal then it would be to legalize it. According to Harvard Economics professor Jeffrey Miron, the government would save about $7.7 billion a year if they didn’t have to spend money on policing and prosecuting marijuana activity alone(Moffatt). In 2006 more than 829,000 people were arrested in the United States for marijuana related offenses alone. Far more than half of those arrests were for simple possession charges. The government is spending billions, (our tax money), so they can prosecute people left and right on petty charges such as possession of marijuana. That money could be going to new technologies to solve murders, rapes, robberies etc. instead of focusing time and money on something that has never even harmed anybody in us history. Additionally, our country as a whole spends $68 billion a year on its prisoners, one-third of which are imprisoned for nonviolent drug crimes. About half of these criminals are marijuana offenders, which means one-sixth of our country’s prisoners, are in jail for marijuana-related charges. Legalizing the drug would mean spending $11.3 billion less a year on prisons (wolf).
Legalizing marijuana would also cut down crime rate. All the crimes related to marijuana would no longer be, therefore creating less crowded prisons. Less crowded prisons would overall lead to less fights and murders going on in the actual prison system.
The government has done a good job on misinforming the citizens of the United States about marijuana and its effects. The DEA has marijuana classified as schedule 1 drug making it one of the most dangerous drugs, Classified beside heroin and methamphetamine. Making marijuana more dangerous than cocaine and prescription drugs which are only schedule 2 drugs. Now how could marijuana, a drug that has never killed anybody and is used in over 20 states as a medical use, be a schedule 1 drug? It makes no sense. Makes you question who wrote these laws.
As Washington lawmakers struggle to find ways to balance the national budget, there might be a solution right under their nose. The federal legalization of marijuana would offer a large new revenue income, according to research from the Cato Institute. According to a 2010 study from Cato, legalizing marijuana would generate $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenue annually (Fairchild). The researchers assumed that legalized marijuana would be taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco and that the income earned by pot producers would be subject to standard income and sales tax.
Taxes aren't the only source of revenue that would come from legalizing weed. State and local governments also stand to save billions of dollars that they currently spend regulating marijuana use. Washington and Colorado, both states