Pot Paper

Jerold Greenfield
Composition I
Term Paper

It Is Time To Legalize Marijuana.   Or Is It?

Harry J. Anslinger hated marijuana.   In the 1930s, as head of the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the forerunner of today’s Drug Enforcement Agency, he waged a furious campaign against the use of marijuana, known at the time as hemp.   The attitudes and policies he fostered influence the Federal government’s policies on marijuana to this day.   Since the information and research available today has advanced exponentially over that of 80 years ago, those laws must be changed.
However, revising and updating those longstanding policies and attitudes is not without consequence.   The legalization of marijuana in America will create issues that are economic, social, and political.
From an economic standpoint, there is little question that legalization will generate at least a $2 billion windfall in tax revenues from the very first year (Smith & Brown).   Moreover, costs of enforcement and interdiction of smuggling activities will decrease considerably, possibly as much as thirty per cent (Jones).   And the rate of incarceration for minor drug offenses will likely be cut in half (NORML.org).   In fact, over 50% of prison inmates in America are jailed for possession of small amounts of marijuana (citation).   It is also obvious to most authorities that legalization, or at least decriminalization, will take the marijuana trade out of the hands of organized crime and Mexican cartels (citation).
Socially, it is expected that marijuana will be used in much the same way as alcohol (citation).   Of course, the introduction of another intoxicant into our culture will undoubtedly create its own set of problems and issues, but the fact is that over 40% of high school seniors have smoked marijuana at least once (citation), so the drug is already present;   its use has expanded by over 35% since 1990 and will continue to do so (citation).   The difference is that it is much easier...