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Legalizing Marijuana: A Bust or No Bust


If you have been living under a rock or just having been paying attention to anything going on in the world, there is a drug out there known as marijuana. It can be smoked or eaten to acquire a “high”. Many people use this drug for different intentions whether it may be legal or illegal. Some may use it for medical purposes but many more use it for its recreational purposes. Presently the United States has laws against possessing, transferring, obtaining, and basically anything that has to do with marijuana illegal. If the government was not so busy dealing with apprehending people with the possession or the distribution of marijuana, the government could spend that money and time to prevent more serious crimes. As a nation, the United States should legalize marijuana because it would free the police force from paperwork and busywork to actually busting the real bad guys in the streets. The government would not have to pay for all the ads and all the countermeasures needed to control marijuana. It is comparable to the past history of our nation where the government banned alcohol during the Prohibition. This eventually led to the promotion of organized crime and corruption in the police force. Looking at the parallels in history one can see it is a similar case with marijuana. Homicides are committed all the time and small gangs are forming everywhere. If marijuana was legalized it would help get rid of many small time drug dealers. There would not be as many teenagers in juvenile detention, jail or on probation. To many people marijuana is not as serious as the government thinks it is. It just does not make sense to be going back and forth to control marijuana. It will always be around no matter what. Some nations have legalized marijuana and there are no major complications because of it. What's more is that there really has not been much news about the detrimental effects of legalizing marijuana in these countries. In addition it can become a great source of money for the government through taxation similar to the taxation of cigarettes. Essentially the United States should legalize marijuana in order to help the nation overall.

Recently, the citizens of Denver, Colorado have voted to legalize the possession of anything less than an ounce of marijuana. It is currently a hotly debated issue in this city because the courts are still adhering to the state and federal laws. Eric Footer, a man that was being prosecuted after the ordinance took effect, fought his case with the help of attorney Brian Vincente (Herdy A.01). Vincente said that, “Marijuana arrests are a waste of taxpayer dollars and divert police from more serious crimes, such as those dealing with violence or property theft” (Herdy A.01). Footer’s case was dismissed on the grounds that he was searched unlawfully. But, his lawyer Vincente clearly stated what many people feel about the laws over marijuana. From his perspective, the government is diverting much wasted tax dollars to an unproductive cause. However, even though the citizens have voted to legalize marijuana in Denver, Colorado, all the time and effort has been put to waste. Judges at this time are still using the state and federal laws as a guideline. There is still a long road ahead for the legalization of marijuana as a nation.


Looking at it from a medical perspective, patients are finding that marijuana is giving them aid and relief from the pain experienced from various health problems. People are finding that other medications for pain like OxyContin and Talwin have too many nauseating side effects (Lofholm A.01). Gunnison County Sheriff, Rick Murdie, involved in many different disputes over marijuana in Denver, Colorado states, “It's an ambiguous law at best. It seems to be the trend that marijuana is in the same position now that alcohol was in during Prohibition” (Lofholm A.01). The community is realizing that there needs to change in the laws and the sooner the better.


Across the Atlantic, many countries have legalized marijuana. For example, the Netherlands allow the sale of small amounts of marijuana but enforce that it is still illegal to grow, store, or transport it. Currently, lawmakers are looking to legalize this because of the growth of organized gangs and smuggling (Dilanian 1). This emphasizes the point that people will find ways no matter what to obtain marijuana and a point earlier made about how crime will follow to help obtain illegal goods. However by legalizing it, the public can be free of the criminal nature associated with it. The government could also find ways to tax it helping the country and its people.


Many times the public is misinformed about the effects of marijuana. Unlike alcohol, it has never been proved that people could die from an overdose. It also does not have the addictive properties of tobacco (Wall Street Journal A.15). People must realize that the short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential to the long-term effects of criminal records. Teenagers are being convicted all the time and find their lives being turned upside down.

It has also been shown that the usage of marijuana is higher in the United States than any other European country (Wall Street Journal A.15). Individuals can conclude from this that illegalization sometimes makes items more appealing and popular in a psychological way. It is true for alcohol too because in Europe the drinking age is lower than the United States. My friend has visited Europe and people are not heavily into drinking. Their drinking habits are nothing compared to an average college student. Parents worried that marijuana would be rampant with many teens have to sit back and realize that it would probably lose much appeal after its legalization. History has proven this over and over again with many different products. Additionally, it has been proven by the recent trends in America compared to Europe over marijuana.


Furthermore, it is ridiculous how people can look at underage drinking as less of an offense than the possession of marijuana. Driving under the influence of alcohol is very deadly yet it is considered a misdemeanor in many states but the selling of marijuana is considered a felony. Logically, to some people that does not make sense at all. After hearing so many tragic stories of DUI drivers killing innocent people, it seems as though the government is being irresponsible in its enforcement of it. How many times have you heard of someone dying from driving under the influence? If alcohol is legalized, it seems senseless to me that marijuana is not legal at all.


To actually see the legalization of marijuana is going to take a lot of time and effort by everyone. There are many groups out there that would love to see it become a reality and other groups that would not. To me it is only a matter of time before it becomes legalized. I hope people realize the potential positive effects of such an action. Everyday, the United States is getting closer and closer to legalizing it. It seems highly likely that in yours and my lifetime that we will actually see it become true.


Nancy Lofholm Denver Post Staff Writer. Denver Post. Denver, Colo.: Jan 30, 2006. pg. A.01


Amy Herdy Denver Post Staff Writer. Denver Post. Denver, Colo.: Jan 19, 2006. pg. A.01


Ken Dilanian, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Washington: Jan 1, 2006. pg. 1


Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Jul 24, 2002. pg. A.15

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