If Marijuana Were Legalized

Drugs are a major influential force in our country today. The

problem has gotten so out of hand that many options are being

considered to control it or even solve it. Ending the drug war seems

to be a bit impossible. The war on drugs seems to be accomplishing a

lot but this is not true. Different options need to be considered.

Legalization is an option that hasn't gotten a chance but should be

given one. Although many people feel that legalizing marijuana would

increase the amount of use, marijuana should be legalized because it

will reduce the great amounts of money spent on enforcement and it

will increase our country?s revenue. There are also many benefits

that can be uncovered to help people if legalization of marijuana is

given a chance.

Legalizing marijuana would increase our economy's revenue.

During Prohibition alcohol use was still sold and used, but people

were doing it illegally. The 21st amendment repealed prohibition and

alcohol taxes were increased. The same thing should happen with

drugs. Marijuana should be taxed heavily to increase our revenue.

Marijuana and other drugs would be made by the same people who make

aspirin so the quality would be assured, containing no poisons or

adulterants. Sterile hypodermic needles will be readily available at

corner drug stores. These could be taxed heavily because the users

will be assured of "clean drugs."

Making drugs legal will reduce the great amounts of money

spent on enforcement every year. Drug dealers and users are one step

ahead on the enforcement process. If one drug lord is caught, another

one will show up somewhere else. We cannot win. ?In 1987, 10 billion

dollars were spent alone just on enforcing drug laws. Drugs accounted

for about 40 percent of all felony indictments in the New York City

courts in 1989. This figure is quadruple what it was in 1985. . Forty

percent of the people in federal prison are drug law violators? (Long

114). One can only imagine what this figure would be like today. Too

much money is wasted on a cause that seems to be no end to. ?In 1989,

a Republican county executive of Mercer County N.J. estimated that it

would cost him as much as 1 billion dollars to build the jail space

needed to house all the hard-core drug users in Trenton alone? (Long

128). All of this money could be used on better things.

By lifting the ban on marijuana use and treating it like other

drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, the nation would gain immediate and

long-term benefits. This change in the law would greatly improve the

quality of life for many people. Victims of glaucoma and those needing

antinausea treatment, for example, would find marijuana easily

available. Also, the cloud of suspicion would disappear, and doctors

could get on with investigating marijuana?s medical uses without fear

of controversy. In the essay, ?Drugs?, Vidal states, ? Nevertheless

many drugs are bad for certain people to take and they should be told

why in a sensible way? (321-322). It might become possible to discuss

the dangers of marijuana use without getting caught up in a policy


Meanwhile, the black market would disappear overnight. Some

arrangement would be made to license the production of marijuana

cigarettes. Thousands of dealers would be put out of business, and a

secret part of the economy would come into the open. It is difficult

to say whether this change would reduce crime because criminals would

probably continue to sell other drugs. But it would have an impact on

the amount of money flowing through criminal channels, and this might

weaken organized crime.

The legalization of marijuana would benefit the federal budget

in two ways, the federal revenues would increase, because marijuana

cigarettes would be taxed at the point of sale. In return, the

companies that make the cigarettes would also pay income taxes..

Second, there would be a reduction on the amount spent on law

enforcement efforts to apprehend and prosecute users and sellers of

marijuana. The drug enforcement authorities might reduce their budget

requests, or, more likely, focus more intensely on hard drugs and

violent crimes. The courts would be relieved of hearing some drug

cases, as well.

The most important gain would be in the quality of government.

The sorts of temptations and opportunities that lead to