In 2008 and overwhelming 97,800,000, or 39.8% of the American population age 12 and up, admitted to trying marijuana at least one time. There really isn’t a good reason that marijuana hasn’t been decriminalized in the United State. First I will explain the medical benefits, then the financial benefits, and finally tie it all together to prove that marijuana should be legal.
First it is important to understand how marijuana compares with other substances. Every year more and more American’s become addicted to smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes cause a variety of problems not limited to chronic lung disorder, stroke, and cancer. Despite the government’s efforts to curb tobacco abuse with a huge tax hike, cigarettes still kill 440,000 people a year. To put that in perspective, that is the equivalent of three 747 jets packed to full capacity crashing without a survivor EVERY DAY. But tobacco isn’t the only controlled substance annihilating the population daily. Alcohol abuse is a huge problem. It causes depressed immune system and liver failure while claiming 47,099 lives per year. In a recent study, 68% of the American public age 21 and up admitted to drinking at least once a month. Cocaine is not legal in the US for obvious reasons but still claims 11187 lives yearly while causing seizures, cardiac arrest, and heart failure. Marijuana on the other hand causes daydreaming, dry mouth, and short term memory loss. Not only are these symptoms near harmless, marijuana has some seriously positive effects. It is prescribed as medication in the state of California to treat glaucoma, anxiety, cancer, and nausea. It seems pretty obvious that marijuana should not be illegal, but it is even more important to note how much the government is spending to repress it.
Your tax money is being wasted on a failed war on drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spends $20,000,000,000 a year trying to repress drugs. It is estimated that of the 20 billion, about 11 billion is directed to the “war on marijuana.” Even in California, where marijuana is distributed legally to patients, the DEA is constantly harassing the shops. They raid the cannabis clubs because under US legislation the federal government supersedes the state. The taxpayers who voted to legalize it for medicinal use in California are watching their federal tax money go to the DEA who then comes in and refuses them their medicine. And this isn’t even the worse of it. Incarcerations are up twelve-fold since 1980 for possession of marijuana charges. People use marijuana to relax and instead get throw in jail with hardcore criminals. This negative influence experienced in jail is no good for society in general. Imagine if everyone who ever tried thc was thrown in jail. Over a third of the US population would be stuck not only draining tax dollars but being negatively influenced by criminals. Hemp is an extremely valuable cash crop that is not legal to grow. It is unfortunate to realize that the constitution was signed on hemp paper, but the government is so scared of the plant that it is not even legal to grow now. The plant can be turned into clothing, paper, rope, and fuel. Currently we import all hemp from other countries.
Let’s imagine the government decriminalized marijuana tomorrow. Imagine all the good we as a country could do with an extra $11,000,000,000 a year saved on the DEA. The money fund revolutionary changes in education and rehabilitate those addicted to hard drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Especially in hard economic times like these it seems like a no-brainer to legalize. And if those reasons aren’t enough, the medicinal benefits of THC could save us tons of money by replacing inflated pharmaceuticals and hemp oil can be used as a fuel, helping improve a country-wide energy crisis. The only way to legalize marijuana is to exercise your right to vote. There is a state proposition every two years that some way leads to the decriminalization. I urge you to write your congressmen and vote when the opportunities present themselves. Thomas Jefferson said “Every generation needs a new revolution.” Legalizing marijuana should be ours.