Rights of the People Essay

Submitted By Resilient2
Words: 1183
Pages: 5

Responsibility of the Citizens Marijuana is no more harmful than legalized drugs and has been proven less addictive than drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Attempts, like prohibition, to control the acts of irresponsibility that have occurred with these drugs are futile, as history has revealed. One person’s irresponsible actions should not dictate choices for the majority. The question then is not, should we legalize this particular substance, but instead, are we willing to address the added, negative societal implications that will result? Since marijuana is no different in strength or impact than existing legalized drugs, prohibition of this drug will forsake personal freedom. Legalization, on the other hand, will positively benefit our country’s economy, reduce crime rate, and open doors for medical breakthroughs. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard Economist, suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually in prohibition enforcement costs. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco. Over $14 billion of our tax money is used to pay for the imprisonment of drug offenders. The Unites States is now over $14 trillion dollars in debt with a large portion of that going to the incarceration of innocent people who were simply in possession of such a stimulant. The states that have made marijuana legal have gathered millions of dollars from sales taxes and license fees. With more demand for this product, states’ revenues will increase. As a result, our nation’s economic climate will improve. Does marijuana cause crime? No, drug wars, involving other severe and addictive drugs, cause crime. Illegal distributors arm themselves and create organizations that attempt to control territories. Alcohol prohibition created Al Capone and the Mafia while drug restriction has created even worse syndicates. States that have legalized marijuana, such as California, Washington, and Colorado, have documented a significant decrease in their crime rate, noting that crime is at historic low levels. These decreases are not only for possession of the drug substance, but also marijuana involved in violent crimes. This suggests that with a more available open market, underground operations that sold the drug in the past will begin to die out and drug disputes, resulting in homicides, will decrease as well. In April 2006, the FDA reported, “It had definitively established that marijuana had no medical use or value.” The statement implied that the agency reached its conclusion after a series of new serious analyses of the already existing scientific reports. But, contrary to this implication, these analyses were never reported in the medical literature and no identifiable FDA official took responsibility for this statement. It stands unsupported and uncorroborated by any reputable source. In complete opposition to this stance, seven years earlier in 1999, eleven distinguished scientists and physicians of the Institute of Medicine, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences (an organization chartered by Congress to provide independent scientific and technological advice) put out a lengthy report of its findings. They acknowledge that the medical uses of marijuana entail some risk of harm. For example, the inhalation of the drug cannot be good for the lungs and at that time, they were not sure whether or not an abuser would reap psychological side effects. But they concluded that these risks were not terribly high. Along with these risks, they announced the possibility of marijuana being addictive and serving as a “gateway drug,” which was an overstatement that had no proof. But when they examined the medical assets, it was shown that these minor risks are offset by benefits that include the potential to relieve nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy, appetite stimulation for cancer and HIV