- Posted April 10, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
iReport Debate: What’s your top issue?
Legalize, Regulate, and Tax it
Todays Marijuana laws are absolutely ridiculous. The fact is that the war on drugs is simply a war that you cannot win. Much like the prohibition of alcohol, prohibition of marijuana simply has not worked and has even worsened the so called "crisis." Now I've never smoked Marijuana and I never intend to, but here are some shocking statistics:
Over HALF of police spending is used on the enforcement of Marijuana laws.
It is an industry that produces over 3.6 BILLION dollars a year in the US alone.
The US makes up 5% of the worlds population but 25% of its prisoners.
Any kid who is charged with a felony (even simple possesion of a single joint) for marijuana cannot apply for student loans. However, if charged with murder or rape, one may still apply for student loans.
ONE marijuana plant can be sold for over 3000 dollars.
Over 50 million Americans have admitted to marijuana use. Famous marijuana users in history: Steve Jobs. Michael Phelps. William Shakespeare.
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln grew hemp.
Hemp and its strong natural fiber can produce clothing, paper, and can even produce a more efficient type of gasoline in your car that is less harmful to our atmosphere.
Marijuana has no chemically addictive properties (however it can be physiologically addictive. however anything can be physiologically addictive) and kills less people anually then peanuts. It kills 0 people annually.
And finally, the state of California has produced 21 prisons in the last two decades. But only one college.
I could go on for days telling you statistics, but the fact is that it's still illegal. But if legalized, regulated, and taxed, the US government could reverse the 3.6 billion dollar black market into 3.6 billion tax dollars. If legalized, the US incarceration rate would dramatically drop (pot alone accounts for almost 800000+ prisoners a year). This would also save the US about a billion dollars a year spent on prisoners. That's a total of 4.6 billion dollars, and legalization would open up tens of thousands of job opportunities for hard working Americans.
What could this surplus of money be spent on? It could be spent educating our children and ensuring that they graduate high school (California spends 50000$ per prisoner per year but spends about 8000$ per student per year). It could also be spent on scientific and medical research. We could even spend this money on more important law enforcement (Rape, Murder, Robbery).
Assuming Marijuana be legalized, regulated, and taxed, what other changes would there be?
For one, crime rates would dramatically drop. Gangs and drug lords would no longer be fighting over "territory" and there would no longer be any violence over weed; they could no longer make a profit off of it. Want to know something interesting? The drug lords don't want pot to be legalized. The fact is, that's how drug lords make their money. It's paradoxical that the people who are undermining the very law that they're breaking don't want it to be legal.
So where does this leave us?
We know now that Marijuana is a harmless plant that doesn't hurt anybody. If regulated and taxed, crime rates would heavily drop. The government would receive almost 5 billion dollars a year, and don't forget the tens of thousands of jobs that would open up for Americans. This surplus of money could be spent on more important and worldly things; such as education, health, research, and real crime enforcement.
My personal proposal is to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for people that are ages 21+. One point I would like to emphasize is that I want to keep it out of the reach of my children; there would be severe punishment for selling it to minors.
The question isn't weather Marijuana should be legalized. The real question is why hasn't it been legalized yet?