Legalizing Marijuana Will Boost the Economy Thesis

Pages: 5 (1620 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Drugs

Marijuana

The Practical and Economic Benefits of Decriminalizing Marijuana

The United States is in a state of serious recession. States, municipalities and the nation as a whole are struggling with diminished revenue, loss of jobs and a decline in productivity. As the federal government resorts to expensive bailouts, our budgetary scenario remains frighteningly precarious. Simultaneously, the United States has dedicated billions of dollars, thousands of lives and countless yards of prison space to a war on marijuana that fails logic on a broad spectrum of points. As an invaluable cash crop with various positive health benefits, few proven drawbacks and the capacity to significantly reduce the crisis of American debt, marijuana should more rationally be embraced by the American government. The potential benefits to the United States of decriminalizing marijuana are practical, economical and humane, and in the context of this discussion, may be a significant curative answer to some of America's economic problems.

Indeed, this is a perspective which is increasingly popular even with lawmakers, who previously would be wary to appear weak on a politically sensitive issue such as drug laws. However, at this juncture, "state officials are beginning to acknowledge that they can more productively spend their budget funds on cracking unsolved cases or ensuring better police protection than on keeping pot smokers in prison" (Cohen, 1) This helps to highlight two of the most important and intertwined justifications for decriminalizing marijuana, denoting that there are distinct opportunities both to refocus the efforts of law enforcement personnel, court systems, prisons and the legal system in general away from non-violent offenders and to acknowledge the irrational nature of marijuana's current legal status.

To the first point, it is interesting to note that even those who would object for ethical, political or ideological reasons to the legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use do concede to the likely economic benefits. An article by a self-declared retired drug counselor, composed in 2009 draws up various objections to the legalization of marijuana before conceding as a final point that "decriminalizing possession of small amounts does reduce police and court costs." (Thompson, 1)

The resolution supported here to proceed toward a decriminalizing policy on marijuana is also rooted in the realities of the failure of the war on drugs, which has been a massively expensive and generally failed policy. Indeed, the aggressive pursuit and prosecution of the drug trade both within America's borders and in the various elaborate chains of drug trade that are propagated over the borders of Mexico and Canada has filtered an enormous sum of taxpayer money into the obstruction of a substance that actually has the capacity to achieve exactly the opposite. A study published by economist Stephen Easton on the potential revenue which could be generated by the Canadian government in the legalization and taxation of marijuana revealed an incredible opportunity for profitability in a market which already thrives against the pressure of legal obstruction.

Easton's study "estimates that the average price of 0.5 grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of production was only $1.70. In a free market, a $6.90 profit for a unit of marijuana would not last for long. Entrepreneurs noticing the great profits to be made in the marijuana market would start their own grow operations, increasing the supply of marijuana on the street, which would cause the street price of the drug to fall to a level much closer to the cost of production." (Moffatt, 1) This speaks to the point that the competitive nature of legalized marijuana trade such as that which occurs even today in California, where marijuana has been legalized medicinally, indicates a very strong likelihood for the reduction of crime. Those trade activities today which are categorized as illegal or which must occur in illicit contexts are characterized thusly because of marijuana's legal status and owe little to actual or empirical evidence of its relationship to negative health properties or behavioral outcomes which are threatening to law and society.

Ironically, this contrasts tobacco and alcohol, which are variously linked with empirical certainty to heart disease, cancer, addiction and a wide array of conditions which lead to premature mortality. However, both remain legal and generate no small sum of income for city, state and country. And as to the above-noted point that its legalization would produce a reduction in its involvement with illegal or underworld activities, alcohol serves as a useful point of comparison. Quite to the point, "lcohol was legalized -- in part -- in order to deprive organized crime of money. Over time, the war on drugs has had little impact on drug use. By abolishing the war we would not only save billions of dollars in expenses, we could earn billions through taxing marijuana. Every scientific study shows that on-demand and court-ordered drug-treatment programs cut drug use more cost-effectively than programs attempting to cut access to drugs." (McKeehan, 1).

It would also cost a great deal less to spend taxpayer resources -- yielded from the legal sale of marijuana no less -- on rehabilitation facilities rather than the lengthy process of criminal prosecution and incarceration. Connecting these practices to a substance which legitimately has not proven to bear a direct connection to criminal behavior, which has never been empirically demonstrated to have chemically addictive factors and which in its pure form has few of the chemically harmful ingredients that are found in tobacco products is irrational. That is has been connected to closely to objections of the moral variety is counterintuitive to the nature of the substance which, though characterized erroneously as a 'gateway drug,' is often misunderstood by those who have never used it. Quite certainly, the vast majority of individuals advocating the maintenance or strengthening of laws against its usage fall into this category.

For those draw policy hawks in the United States who fear that a more lax drug policy of any type could be socially destructive, there are many examples in the world community of the success which can be there achieved. One example which was encountered in the research process here was Portugal, which like many nations in Western Europe has largely taken a policy of tolerance or decriminalization where marijuana is concerned. The outcome has been uniformly positive from a taxation perspective with little evidence of the frightening consequences declaimed by conservative American lawmakers. To the point, "the success of Portugal's approach was the subject of a piece by Salon writer Glenn Greenwald commissioned by the Cato Institute that was widely read and commented on earlier this year, and last week it earned kind words from a most unexpected place: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which could find little to complain about for its 2009 World Drugs Report." (DWC, 1)

This is a perspective which is also increasingly more acceptable in the United States, where even the current president of the United States has admitted to having sampled marijuana during his time in college and, accordingly, has taken a decidedly less aggressive approach to the war on drugs than his predecessor. By contrast to the conservative President George W. Bush, "when Obama was campaigning, he had said several times that it was a waste of federal money and resources to go after medical marijuana states with the Drug Enforcement Administration . . .and recently, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to end raids on medical marijuana clubs in those states, which is a big change in policy from the previous administration." (Rizzuto, 1)

This is a perspective which underscores a clear wave of coalescence on the part of the nation's more liberal states to adopt a progressive policy on marijuana laws. As shown in the visual aid contained by Appendix A, there is a broad trend which is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Legalizing Marijuana Will Boost the Economy.  (2009, July 5).  Retrieved December 17, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/legalizing-marijuana-boost-economy/518848

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