ECON 210 Microeconomics
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Dr John Mundy
May 12 2009
The call to legalize marijuana has been going on for decades, but it is only recently that support for the move has been gaining on Capitol Hill. As more and more states have put fourth legislation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana prominent politicians such as former presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep Loretta Sanchez (D-Calf.) have made comments in support of legalization. There are a number of reasons why. First there are the economic reasons, national security reasons, and health reasons. [The Hill, 2009]
Let’s start with the economics, it cost the tax payers an estimated 10 billion dollars annually to enforce the prohibition of marijuana and it has resulted in more than 872,000 arrests. This is more than the total number of people arrested for violent crimes like rape, murder, robbery and assault. 89 percent of those arrested were charged with possession only. As the country is dealing with prison overcrowding. Think how the situation would be if you eliminated the non-violent drug offenders from there population? This would also free up law enforcement officers for more important duties. It is estimated that Americans spend 58 billion dollars on marijuana annually. If this industry was regulated by the government, they would stand to make a sizeable profit from tax revenue. Additional monies could be saved and cut from law enforcement budgets and military budgets as well. [NORML, 2009]
Now let’s take a look at national security. With all the problems we are having in the US-Mexico border region the drug cartels have tremendous amounts of money and resources, if marijuana was legalized it would strip the cartels of these. By doing so it would greatly improve our ability to secure our borders and give us the ability to concentrate on stemming the flow of more dangerous drugs into the country. This would also free up our military assets to protect our country.
On the medical front, marijuana and its medicinal value has been around for centuries and the laws are keeping it out of the hands of tens of thousands of patients who would otherwise benefit from its use. Research has found that marijuana is a valuable aid in the treatment of a number of clinical applications. These include treating pain from nerve damage, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a strong appetite stimulant which is effective in treating people suffering from HIV, AIDS wasting syndrome, and dementia. There is also some research that suggests that marijuana protects the body from some types of tumors. Currently are there 60 health organizations worldwide that support patients having legal access to medical marijuana under a doctor’s supervision. [NORML, 2009]
Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug, right behind alcohol and tobacco. As a new generation comes into power more and more people are starting to realize that the safest of the three is the illegal one. Marijuana is fast becoming America’s cash crop, more valuable than cotton, corn, or wheat. Hemp a form of marijuana that contains less than 1%of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the active ingredient in marijuana, it has many uses such as textiles, paper, paint, clothing, cosmetics, and plastic, to name a few. Hemp has a higher yield per acre than its substitutes; such as cotton and they require fewer pesticides, add that to the fact that it has a shorter growing season. So we can add agriculture to the many benefits that are apparent results of the legalization of marijuana. Hemp is grown in over 30 countries around the world including European unions, Japan, and Canada. [NORML, 2009]
Two of the last three presidents – Bill Clinton and President Osama-have publicly admitted to smoking marijuana. In a recent internet town hall meeting President...
References: Yager, Jordy (2009, April). Pot advocates see their once-smoldering issue heating up. Retrieved May 8, 2009, from The Hill web site:www.thehill.com/coverstory
Comp, Nathan (2009, April). An End to the War on Weed? Retrieved May 8, 2009, from the In These Times web site:www.inthesetimes.com/article/4370
About Marijuana. Retrieved from the NORML web site: www.norml.org/index.cfm?group_id=7305
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