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Marijuana Should be Legalized in the United States

Marijuana Should be Legalized in the United States

Despite all of the laws, regulations, and punishments the United States to keep its citizens from using marijuana, America has over 83 million marijuana users. This ranks the U.S. at 9th highest rate of marijuana use in the world. Yes, this even beats the Netherlands, where marijuana is virtually legal. What does this mean? If prohibiting marijuana was intended to keep marijuana use under control, then it means that prohibition is a complete failure. Making marijuana illegal did not do what it was intended to do, which is to prevent people from consuming it. On top of this, prohibition is responsible for the growth of the dangerous marijuana substitute, “K2”. It can also be blamed for marijuana’s status as a gateway drug, not to mention a loss of opportunity for the government to obtain billions of dollars worth of taxes. The prohibition of marijuana is based off of misconceptions the government had about marijuana almost 100 years ago. All of these have been proven wrong, and the laws should reflect that today.  Marijuana should be taxed, regulated, and legalized for those 21 or older in the United States.

You have probably heard of “K2” or “Spice” recently. It is all over the news, or maybe you’ve seen it in person being sold at the local gas station. What “K2” is, is a mix of herbs sprayed with a dangerous chemical ten times stronger than marijuana. It is sold as incense, and because it is not recommended to be used as a drug, it is legal. It is being sold at a relatively cheap price all over the country, and feels just like marijuana, only stronger. This drug is responsible for many hospitalizations, accidents, and even overdoses resulting in death. Teens assume that because this drug is legal, it must be safe. This is far from the truth. The chemicals in the herbal mixture have never been tested on, but the hundreds of hospitalizations say the chemicals are probably very bad for you. If marijuana was legal, nobody would have to worry about any of this. There wouldn’t be any scientists attempting to make mind altering chemicals like this if marijuana was legal. They would not have to sell a substitute that can actually kill you if the real thing was legal. Policy makers have strictly taken marijuana, which never killed anyone, out of the market. Now they are allowing a drug that has been linked to many hospitalizations into the market. If marijuana was legalized today, the young adults that were using K2 fearing legal consequences will begin to smoke marijuana instead. Remember, marijuana is a lot safer than K2.

Teenagers who try or use marijuana are much more likely to use cocaine and heroin. This is a fact.  The only reason for this, however, is because it is illegal. Because marijuana is illegal, teens must go to a drug dealer to get it. It is the drug dealer that will introduce them to other, harder drugs. If marijuana was legalized, teens will go to a gas station or a smoke shop to get marijuana. This will get a lot of teens and young adults away from the black market. One, because they won’t need to buy weed from a drug dealer, and two because there will be a substantial decline in drug dealers all together. Yes marijuana is illegal, but that doesn’t stop 83 million people from using it. This is 83 million people that can be smoking things that they don’t intend to. Marijuana from the black market can be laced with PCP, cocaine, and even heroin. If marijuana was legal, that risk will be eliminated. Now for some reasons to legalize marijuana that the government will care about.

Legalizing marijuana will make the United States billions of dollars. According to Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor from Harvard University, the government could save about 7.7 billions of dollars a year if marijuana was legalized. This is because they would not spend money on prosecuting those who break marijuana laws. When marijuana is taxed, it could bring in another 6.2 billion dollars. Almost 14 billion dollars could be made. This money could go towards anti drug organizations. The legalization could also help the economy in other ways. Marijuana shops or bars could generate income, and create jobs. An entire marijuana industry could prosper and help the economy. For real, this would be one popular industry.

Saying that marijuana should be legalized is a totally separate thing than saying that it is safe. Marijuana is not safe, but keeping it illegal is obviously not getting that message out. A drug does not have to be safe to be legalized. Take a look at alcohol and tobacco. What legalization will do however is ensure marijuana does not get any more dangerous.  It will inform people what they are ingesting. It will tell people how strong the stuff is that they are smoking. It will provide warnings to maximize the safety of the user. This regulating activity can never be accomplished if marijuana remains illegal. Illegal marijuana is like illegal fast food. There are too many people that engage in the activity for it to remain illegal effectively. Prohibition has obviously backfired on so many levels. If marijuana is not legalized any time soon, things will just get worse. There will be more harmful substitutes, more people introduced to other drugs, and even more drug dealers. It is not the 1920s anymore, let’s legalize marijuana!


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