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Legalizing Marijuana Essay

4041 words - 17 pages

Abraham Lincoln once stated that, “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.” In today’s society, this statement still applies in reference to the illegal use of marijuana. Marijuana prohibition causes far more harm than marijuana itself. Keeping marijuana illegal, is expensive and causes crime. Out of four possible connections between drugs and crime, at least three would not exist if drug prohibition laws were repealed. First, crimes, which occur billions of times a year, are ...view middle of the document...

” Those people generally do not accept change or want anything to be different. Marijuana should be legalized, if not completely then at least for medicinal purposes. Many argue that legalizing marijuana allows anyone to grow, smoke, and use the herb. The Lakeland Police Department calls marijuana “a psychoactive drug which increases anxiety, depression, paranoia, delusion, lack of motivation, aggression, risky behavior, and depersonalization” (Marijuana Legalization Issues 1). People against legalization; say that marijuana can cause physical harm if ingested in great amounts for a long enough time. They argue that passing an amendment to legalize marijuana under the pretense of medicinal purposes gives all people, including children, felons, and prison inmates, a constitutional right to grow and smoke it for a headache, cold, or any other common ailment. Another argument is that unlike other drug addicts, the marijuana addict is slow to recognize his addiction. The gateway effect is well established in research. Use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are major factor for addiction and harder drug use. Yes, marijuana users are more likely to try and to use harder drugs than those who never smoked in the first place. Does that mean marijuana should not be decriminalized? Of course not. Like alcohol, marijuana use is only unhealthy if ingested irresponsibly or in mass amounts. An idea to ban marijuana based on addictive properties would hardly be consistent with allowing tobacco to be legal. By using dosage and quality controls, safety guidelines, and an age limit, marijuana can be regulated for medicinal or other beneficial usage. By letting others know of the conditions associated with marijuana use, such as any prescription drug’s side effects, people can choose whether they want to use marijuana and they maybe more careful. Marijuana should be legalized, but with caution. The cost for prohibition is high, regarding money and people’s lives. Since 1981, federal expenditures on drug enforcement have more than tripled from less than 1 billion dollars a year to 3 billion (Nadelman 8). According to the Drug Enforcement Board (DEA) and the Coast Guard have risen during the past 7 years from about $220 million to roughly $500 million. During the same period, FBI resources devoted to drug enforcement increased from $8 million a year to over $100 million; U.S. Marshals resources from $26 million to about $80 million; U.S. Attorney resources from $20 million to about $100 million; U.S. Customs resources from $180 million to about $400 million; and Bureau of Prison resources from $77 million to about $300 million. Expenditures on drug control by the military and the intelligence agents are more difficult to calculate, although by all amounts they have increased by at least the same magnitude and total hundreds of millions of dollars per year (8-9). Federal, state, and local government spend about $75 billion a year on law enforcement and criminal justice...

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