Should Marijuana Be Legalized
The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic for several years in the United States. Those opposed to the legalization say that marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use and increases criminal behavior. The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes dates back to as early as 2737 B.C., where Chinese Emperor Shen Neng would prescribe marijuana tea for treatment of a variety of ailments (Stack, Suddath, 2009). Research shows that marijuana should be legalized in the United States because of the amount of money we are spending trying to prevent its use and lost income not collecting taxes, it is beneficial for medicinal purposes, and U.S. citizens want ...view middle of the document...
In 2012 in the United States there were 749,825 marijuana arrests 87% of which were for possession(Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2013). That is more arrests for marijuana than violent crimes in this country. In 2010 the average cost of one inmate per year was $31,307(CBS News, 2012). Even if each of these people only spent one night in jail we spent almost $65 million to house people for marijuana arrests. This is leading to massive prison overcrowding. In 2012 american prisons were 39% over capacity(Government Accountability Organization, 2012). This causes inmates to be double or triple bunked or even put in places that were not meant for housing inmates. This leads to a dangerous situation for the guards and other inmates as well as the general public. 48% of these criminals were drug offenders(GOA, 2012). In Philadelphia,PA they have to build a $400 million dollar prison facility because of overcrowding and at the same time close 23 public schools because of a $300 million dollar shortage(Stroud,2013). If the people in prison for marijuana related crimes were not in there this would not be necessary.
Not spending money on enforcing marijuana prohibition is not the only way legalizing marijuana will help the economy financially. By legalizing marijuana we will see an increase in tax revenue and creation of new jobs. Colorado and Washington both started selling recreational marijuana legally in 2014. In the first month of sales Colorado brought in roughly $2 million dollars in tax revenue(Rhodan, 2014) The voters on Colorado elected to tax the states recreational marijuana with a 12.9% sales tax and a 15% income tax(Rhodan,2014). The first $40 million of the excise tax is going to build new schools(Rhodan,2014).
The state of Washington which just started selling legal marijuana on July 8th, 2014 reported over $1 million in taxes revenue in the first month(Wasson,2014). Washington only had 6 retail stores of the possible 334 that regulators will allow opened on the first day, so the state is expecting a jump in revenue as new shops open up(Wasson,2014). The state of Washington is projecting to bring in $190 million of the next four years(La Corte, 2014).
Not only are these states seeing revenue from tax of sales on marijuana they are also seeing an increase in jobs in their economy. While a lot of the country is struggling with unemployment rates Colorado now has over 10,000 people working in the marijuana industry (Marijuana policy project, 2014). There are a variety of jobs in the marijuana industry ranging from growers to the dispensaries that sell the marijuana.
There are also a lot of ancillary jobs in the marijuana industry, such as lawyers, accountants and construction workers. One of the industries that has benefited the most from the legalization of marijuana in Colorado is commercial real estate. All of the stores and growing operations need places in which to operate. “Grow facilities range anywhere from a couple of...