There is always a great debate, for many years, on if marijuana should be legalized for all purposes, to include medical and recreational. The question should lie as to what is the actual harm that comes from making the drug legal. Why not legalize the drug and place a tax, just like the tax occurred on tobacco.
In the 1890’s, marijuana/hemp was replacing the cotton plantations and it was a major cash crop in the southern states. The product was being placed in some prescriptions; it was even listed on the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942. During this time, using marijuana for recreational use was not illegal. In the 1950s it was an accessory of the beat generation; in ...view middle of the document...
American prisons inevitably damage and scar their inmates, making many of them antisocial and unemployable. Some of those now imprisoned for marijuana offenses would be there for other offenses were marijuana legalized, but tens of thousands would not be. Marijuana prosecutions severely damage thousands of young lives every year and are cruel, unnecessary and probably likely to cause criminal behavior.
The costs to state and federal governments of investigating, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning persons for marijuana offenses are enormous. There are arguments that we could not only save enforcement costs by eliminating prohibition, we could also raise $6 billion or so annually by taxing the sale of marijuana. The total amount of money that could be saved is over 13.7 billion. (Huffington Post)
Marijuana distribution will be more efficient and the drug far less costly when producing and distribution it is no longer a black market operation. The current drug dealers that do not file taxes on that income would now have to file taxes every year.
The failure of marijuana prohibition is due in part to the plant’s ease of cultivation. It can be grown virtually anywhere, indoors and out, requiring little horticultural expertise or significant financial investment. In the same respect it resembles alcohol, which was widely homemade during its prohibition and was produced almost anywhere at very little expense. Both marijuana and alcohol, it is impossible to eliminate the drug’s source and efforts to interdict the smuggling of the drug have only marginal effects on price and consumption.
Because marijuana is so easy to produce, the price of legalized marijuana to the consumer could not be maintained at anywhere near its current leave by imposing high taxes. High taxes would create another black market and defeat many of the objectives of legalization. The price of legalized marijuana would have to be a fraction of its present black market price. When marijuana is regulated the consumer will feel more comfortable, morally, in buying and consuming the drug. It is almost certain that legalizing both the use and the distribution of marijuana would substantially increase consumption.
Even if marijuana use were...