Essay on Legalizing Marijuana

Submitted By ethnicone
Words: 1117
Pages: 5

Over the course of the last several decades, there has been much negative press on the illegal substance marijuana. What many people overlook, however, is just how beneficial the legalization of this substance could be. Marijuana is useful in reducing pain, could be taxed to create excess profit, and would reduce the number of those being held in U.S. prisons.
According to Parade magazine, the U.S. is the most criminal country in the world, with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners. In the United States, more than $68 billion is spent on corrections, and one-third of those that are being corrected are serving time for nonviolent crimes involving drugs (Klein 12). In addition to that, America spends $150 billion on policing and courts, and nearly 48% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related. This all adds up to $218 billion, at least, this money, which is mostly nonfederal, is going to waste on nonviolent convicts when it could be better spent on schools or other infrastructure. FBI statistics show that one marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds, which means that in one day there will be more than 1900 arrests a day for marijuana related offenses (”Arrests”). If marijuana was made legal, the police and court systems would be able to take on more serious crimes rather than focus all their attention on nonviolent drug crimes, also, drug dealers would lose some or all of their business further freeing up the justice system and lower crime rates. There is great potential in the legalization and taxation of marijuana. Marijuana is estimated to be the largest cash crop in California with their annual revenue approaching whopping $14 billion. If a tax of 10% was put on pot, California would collect $1.4 billion from the tax alone. However, the legalization of this substance could have an even bigger economic impact, because there would be thousands of new jobs in agriculture, packaging, marketing and advertising. A study done showed that the average estimated price for 0.5 grams of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while it only cost about $1.70 to produce which means that there is a $6.90 profit being made. Stephen T. Easton, a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University in Canada, suggests that if marijuana was to be legalized that the excess profits caused by the risk-premium could be transferred from the growing operations to the government, “If we substitute a tax on marijuana cigarettes equal to the difference between the local production cost and the street price people currently pay—that is, transfer the revenue from the current producers and marketers (any of whom work with organized crime) to the government, leaving all other marketing and transportation issues aside we would have revenue (say) $7 per [unit]. If you could collect on every cigarette and ignore the transportation, marketing, and advertising costs, tis comes to over $2 billion…and substantially more from an export tax and you forego the costs of enforcement and deploy your policing assets elsewhere” (Moffatt). In 2000, over $11 billion was spent by users in the United States to obtain illegal marijuana. There are people that think that if marijuana is legalized, that it might open a gateway to legalizing other types of harder drugs, however, there is nothing to support this. There is no reason to apply the same policies to all pyschoactives. Many people support prohibiting marijuana but not caffeine, which is a defensible position. One of the main reasons that someone might be more willing to legalizing marijuana rather than other drugs is that it would not be as risky to legalize marijuana. Comparative to the other major drugs, marijuana enforcement is already quite lax, and as a result prices are much less inflated. Also, a dependence on marijuana is easier to break. It is far less likely to produce highly problematic increase in dependence than the legalizing of any of those other substances