Researches plead for legalizing marijuana

by samp on May 11, 2015 - 9:41pm

The Case for Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization and decriminalization is a fairly new phenomenon in the world. After decades of prohibition, many states are coming forward regarding this issue. Districts voted for the legalization of marijuana, others allowed the usage of cannabis for medical purpose. However, a vast majority of states in the United States still favor the prohibition of drugs. Since decades, America is involved in a ‘’War on drugs’’ with the objectives of eradicating illegal drugs such as marijuana out of the country. 51 billions$ are spent annually to fight against drug propagation. This major investment and severe policies toward drugs led to the imprisonment of 1.5 million Americans on the felony on non-violent drug charges (Drug War Statistics). A liberal approach to the issue is now emerging in North America and 4 states when forward regarding the pure legalization of cannabis. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington are now legally taxing and regulating marijuana (Drug War Statistics). For the concerns population, new polls among the American population suggest that a majority of Americans is in favor of legalizing cannabis for recreational purpose. In fact, 53% are favorable (Ferner, 2015). The favorable view regarding marijuana legalization seems to be trendy in United States because more and more people are favorable to the issue. Especially, teenagers and young adults are clearly liberal on this issue as more than 2/3 of teenagers are in favor of legalization (Ferner, 2015).[1]  Even citizens in states that legalized weed last year, such as Colorado, are still backing up the idea demonstrating that the situation is not chaotic in the process of making it legal. The wave of legalizing cannabis is hitting almost every state as more citizens can voice their opinions in ballots or referendums (Ferner, 2015).[2] To get a clear view on how the American public views the issue of making legal marijuana, an article in Times magazine, suggests that a vast majority of American are in favor of the legalisation of marijuana for adults. However, when it comes to legalising medicinal marijuana for children, only 36% of Americans agreed to the legalisation for kids. Furthermore, almost every adult thinks children should not be exposed to the image of their parents smoking pot.  Finally, the American public is by far more concerned about the health of their children and thinks that marijuana can be harmful to them. The standards regarding kids health are ‘’much higher’’ than standards for typical adults (Sifferlin, 2015).[3] Since many opinions are emerging out of the population, this essay will explain how research from economics, sociology and politics can help improve the issue of legalizing marijuana in a concerted and ethical effort to better understand the issue and its effects. 

From a political standpoint, the United States of America have been on war against drugs for decades. The drugs smuggled into the United States mainly come from the Tijuana Cartel. This group has a huge network of distribution across America and controls all illegal activities in this region. The war has disrupted the network. However, these actions led to an unprecedented bloody war between police officers, governments and cartels. In fact, more than 2100 individuals were murdered in the drug war (Are We Losing the War on Drugs?, 2009, p.1). The cash cow of the cartel is marijuana and the American government is still proposing tough regulations on weed and classifies cannabis as an illegal drug. The policies are clearly not working as smuggling is still popular nowadays and the American appetite for drugs continues to increase. Legalizing marijuana, in this case, would ‘’undercut the cash cow that supports Mexican drugs cartels’’, and reduce the horrible crimes committed by this organization (Are We Losing the War on Drugs?, 2009, p.2). From a political stance, it would reduce deaths and the chaotic situation close to the Mexican border and it would allow the policy makers to focus on hard drugs and the prevention rather than investing in an unwinnable war.

                From an economic standpoint, legalizing marijuana makes also a lot of sense. The billions of dollars in the drug wars could be invested otherwise of weed was to be legal. If policy makers implement taxation on marijuana, a lot of money could be made for the public sector out of this product. For example, cannabis taxation would generate 20billion$ alone in the Unites States, which represents 1% of all states budgets (Kleiman, 2014, p.34). If government controls production and price, it would maximize taxation revenues, creating a sustainable and effective manner to finance state projects and infrastructures (Kleiman, 2014, p.35). Production quotas could also be a viable options if put in auction to maximize the price of marijuana and its revenues (Kleiman, 2014, p.35). Reducing illegal revenues of criminal organizations and increasing revenues for the public sector and population make perfect economic sense. Equally, the usage of marijuana as a medicine can reduce future health care costs paid by the tax payers and remove a fiscal burden on the society. In this sense, the benefits outweigh the downside of legalization.  

                Finally, researches from a sociological standpoint demonstrate the future possible impact on society and drug usage in the case of a future legalisation of marijuana. The example of Netherlands is flagrant in Europe where the usage rates became lower than similar European countries after the decriminalization of marijuana (McVay, 1991, p.8). It proves that the legalisation of marijuana will not create a sudden increase in crime. A positive social aspect is that marijuana is a soft drug. In this sense, it will prevent individuals from choosing alcohol or hard drugs that are far more damageable. Similarly, less harm will happen to the users compared to a prohibition era. A couple of years would be necessary to calm society after the short-term hysteria that would be provoked by the legalization. The number of users would increases sharply at the beginning, but it will come back to its normal trend years later (McVay, 1991, p.8).  In the long-run the number of users will likely stay the same, although more people will admit consuming drugs. Also, the decriminalization will reduce the crime rate and will remove many individuals judged simply for the sole possession of marijuana.

                In conclusion, a liberal and favorable approach regarding the marijuana legalization and decriminalization is hitting the world and in a positive manner. Different sphere of researches were used in the political, economic and social field to measure the advantages of making cannabis legal. It will allow the financing of state programs and services, the reduction of the war on drugs implemented worldwide and especially in the United States of America, and it will remove money from organized crime. Furthermore, it won’t affect crime rates and the number of users and their consumption in the long-run, which is similar to what happen after the end of the prohibition of alcohol. It is therefore the role of citizens to push for taxing and legalizing marijuana to benefit society as a whole.

 

 

 

References List

 

Are We Losing the War on Drugs?. (2009). Virginia Quarterly Review, 85(4), 1-2.

Drug War Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-war-statistics

Ferner, M. (2015). Foes Of Marijuana Legalization Can't Like These New Numbers. Retrieved from                 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/14/marijuana-legalization-polls_n_...

Kleiman, M. (2014). How Not to Make a Hash Out of Cannabis Legalization. Washington Monthly,            46(3-5), 32-37.

McVay, D. (1991). Marijuana legalization: the time is now. The Drug Legalisation Debate.

Sifferlin, A. (2015). Most Americans Think Medical Marijuana Shouldn't Be Used By Kids, Poll Says.           Retrieved from http://time.com/3828072/medical-marijuana-pot-children/

 

Comments

I thought this is a very well written article and I agree that marijuana should be legalized. I grew up in The Netherlands so I'm very used to this debate. It seems like there have only been positive outcomes of legalizing marijuana, and I'm very positive that within the next 10 years marijuana will be legal in all of North America and Europe. Legalizing the drug will prevent people from choosing alcohol or hard drugs that are far more damageable. It will definitely be a long process before every country decides to legalize it but as soon as the States makes it legal other countries will jump aboard. Marijuana is already legal in Colorado and California, it's only a question of time when the other states realize that it's actually better for the community and it decreases crime rates. I find this a very interesting topic and believe that it's going to be in the news a lot very soon.