Should Marijuana be Legalized?
Abraham Lincoln once said, Prohibition makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. This is true with the prohibition of marijuana: the use of marijuana should not be a crime, but prohibition makes it one. The real crimes being committed are those by the government. The spend billions of our tax dollars every year in the war against marijuana, lie to us about the harmful effects, and deny sick patients the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Joseph Califano and Thomas Constantine, two authors who analyzed this issue have two totally different opinions. Califano is against the legalization of marijuana and Constantine supports it. The use of marijuana is safe. Therefore, it should be legalized because billions of tax dollars would be saved annually, it serves several therapeutic uses, and it has the capability to increase the nation s income and bolster this nation s economy.
Many American citizens strongly advocate the fight to legalize marijuana. The Gallup Poll recently reported that seventy-three percent of Americans are in favor of removing the federal law against marijuana (Gallup Poll, 1996). Numerous studies show that marijuana has positive therapeutic uses for people suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, and a variety of other conditions (Constantine, 1996). The advocacy for the legalization of marijuana is obvious on the Internet where pro-marijuana web sites outnumber those concerned about drug abuse.
The legalization of marijuana could actually be a profitable endeavor for our country. The government would make money by taxing it while farmers and manufacturers would benefit by selling it. One acre of wheat on average, brings its owner $25.00, but, in Canada, one acre of hemp brings its owner about $225.00, (Constantine, 1996). Industrialized hemp has many different uses, from paper to clothes, to biodegradable car parts. If legalized, marijuana could be a very profitable product for America ( Latest Buzz on Hemp, 1-2).
Whatever harm (if any) marijuana does to its users cannot compare to the damage done by being arrested and punished for its illegal possession. First, after someone s arrested on the charge of possession, government officials can seize that person s property even if there is never a criminal conviction. At the present time, in more than half the states, anyone who is convicted of a marijuana offense will automatically have his or her driver s license revoked, even if the offense is not driving related. Under the Higher Education Act (HEA), if students are receiving federal aid and they are convicted of a marijuana charge they lose their loan and are expelled from school. Oddly, the HEA only applies to marijuana convictions, so if one is convicted of rape or sexual assault they are still allowed to attend the university with one s scholarship, (Drug Enforcement Agency). Being arrested can also jeopardize a person s job opportunities. President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and former House eliminated. It should be up to the individual to choose if he or she wants to engage in the use of this drug.