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Marijuana Legalization for a Better Nation

Evangelista, Ariel Angelo J.


B-2R
March 28, 2014

Thesis Statement: Legalization of marijuana will make a free market that will
increase tax
revenue and will stop the illegal selling of marijuana
by drug lords.

I.

Marijuana must be legalized in our country.


A. People will have a negative instinct on the mission of legalizing
marijuana.
B. Persuading people on stopping to smoke marijuana will be more
effective than prohibiting the use of marijuana.
C. Tax revenue would be collected by our government once marijuana is
legalized and thus, the crime rates would go down.

II.

Prohibition of marijuana is not working.


A. The black markets rise due to prohibition and make more problems to
our country.
B. Statistics show that prohibition has failed to achieve its goals.
C. Prohibition makes negative effects in our country.
D. Destruction that we get comes from the prohibition of marijuana, not
from marijuana itself.

III.

Legalization of marijuana is the alternative solution to our problems.


A. Legalizing marijuana will create many benefits.
B. Tax revenue would be collected by the government and new jobs would
be available to the people.
C. History of alcohol and tobacco are good comparisons to whats
happening on marijuana today, and would be used in order to prove
what legalization could make.

IV.

There are reasons on why the government continues to prohibit


marijuana, yet the reasons are fragile.
A. Using marijuana is immoral.
B. Legalizing marijuana would increase the crime rates.
C. Marijuana is not safe to be used.
D. The reasons being stated by the government is weak, doesnt contain a
strong compelling interest in order to continue the law.

V.

Prohibition is worse than legalization, therefore marijuana must be


legalized.
A. Police could focus more on hunting the real criminals and the
overcrowding in the jails would be prevented.
B. New jobs would be available and marijuana would be regulated well by
the government and the research on the medicinal marijuana could be
started.
C. The crime rates would go down and more money would be saved by
the government.
D. The black markets would vanish and the rise of a free market would
start and would be a source of tax for the government, and the tax
could be used in order to solve a wide range of problems.

Marijuana must be legalized in our country because prohibiting it only makes


our problems worse. Most of the people that will hear this will most likely have a
negative thinking and doubt the benefits of legalizing marijuana. The first thing that
will come into their minds is that drug addicts will increase once marijuana is
legalized and thus, will corrupt the citizens of our country. It is true that there will
still be problems when we legalize marijuana, but those problems predicted by
experts can be solved more easily compared to the problems prohibition has made.
According to Becker (2001), legalizing drugs is not the absolute solution on what
drugs have already caused but it will surely stop most of the corruption in the illegal
drug market. Putting an end into prohibition will make the liquor industry clean. For
sure, legalization will cause an increase on drug use and will lower street prices but
can be balanced through taxation. The whole sale prices of cigarettes, alcohol, and
gasoline are a hundred percent lower compared to their retail prices because of the
large taxes on them (as cited in Thornton, 1991). We can use the tax revenue
collected from drugs to rehabilitate addicts and educate the people about the
harmful effects of drugs.

People also dont realize that the problems we get from drugs is not from the
drug themselves, as Henderson (1991) states, the source of the problems that we
get from drugs is not from the drug itself but from the laws that concern drug use.
The right way on preventing the people from using drugs is not by imprisoning the
users, but is by persuading them to stop (as cited in Thornton, 1991). Some might
wonder, what is the crime that the drug lords make? How do they make crime rates
increase? They are not the ones who do the act of killing and stealing, but their drug

victims. To prevent crime was one of the goals of drug prohibition yet what happens
today is the opposite because drug addicts commit themselves to do crime so that
they will get the money they need in order to buy their expensive drugs (Machan &
Thornton, 1991).

So once we legalize marijuana, the illegal market will be converted into a free
market which will be regulated by our government. In addition to legalization,
marijuanas price would go down which means that drug users would stop the crime
they make in order to acquire money (Machan & Thornton, 1991). Also, the tax
revenue collected by the government from marijuana can be used to treat addicts
and educate the people about marijuanas benefits and bad effects. Summing up
some of the benefits, legalization of marijuana will make a free market that will
increase tax revenue and will stop the illegal selling of marijuana by drug lords.

First, why would we like to legalize marijuana? Whats the main reason behind
this? Is it really the right move to do? And lastly, whats the problem behind
prohibition and why would we like to repeal the status quo? As Klein (1993) said, the
prohibition of drugs created a black market of drug trade that our society cannot
manage to control (as cited in Thornton, 1991). But why cant the government stop
them? What characteristics does the black market has? Miron and Waldock (2010)
once declared that the black market is so powerful that preventing the citizens from
acquiring marijuana is not even working. Gangs and organizations continue to
become rich and at the same time being the cause of increasing crime rates. The
cannabis being consumed by Americans yearly has no proper labeling, has no

safety measures given by the government, is for sale to everyone, and didnt
undergo proper testing (as cited in Roffman, 2013).

Obviously, the marijuana that the black market sells is dangerous and will
only have a decrease in its potency once the government regulates the market.
Then there is this question on how will we stop the drug lords from doing the crime
they make. Is there a progress happening on drug prohibition? Machan and
Thornton (1991) believes that the prohibition of drugs didnt stop the people from
acquiring them because drugs are even available at the front of the Drug
Enforcement Administration, the Pentagon and in the Federal prison system, which
actually shows us that prohibition didnt achieve its goals.
Now lets take a further look on whats happening within prohibition. Seventy
years have already passed on drug prohibition yet the government couldnt stop
millions of people from acquiring drugs (Christiansen, 2010). With respect to
marijuana prohibition, the law has been unsuccessful at instilling enough social
disapproval to mitigate marijuana use; its expressive function has essentially failed.
Although marijuana has been legally prohibited for more than seventy years, in
2007 over 25 million people used marijuana (Dept of Health & Human Servs, 2007
as cited in Christiansen, 2010). Despite more than 12 million marijuana arrests
since 1965, over 95 million Americans have used marijuana at least once (Shapiro,
2004 as cited in Christiansen, 2010). Finally, despite a record of more than 800,000
marijuana arrests in 2006 (Criminal Servs. Info. Div., U.S. Dept of justice, 2006 as
cited in Christiansen, 2010), 2.1 million people tried marijuana for the first time,
roughly the same number of annual new users since 2002 (Dept of Health &
Human Servs, 2006 as cited in Christiansen, 2010). The statistics show us that

marijuana prohibition have failed to stop the people from acquiring and using
marijuana (Christiansen, 2010).
Not only did the drug prohibition have failed, it even gave more problems into
our country. But what are those problems?
Drug prohibition has created negative effects in our society that takes place
in different forms. First, sellers of illegal drugs control their own markets which harm
innocent people. Second, because of the expensive price of drugs, the number of
crimes done by buyers tends to increase in order to satisfy their use. Third,
revenues collected are being used to corrupt the politicians, police and other
businesses and companies. Lastly, the actions being made by the people in order to
isolate themselves from the crime establish more social costs (Paul & Wilhite 1994,
114 as cited in Thornton, 1991).
Prohibition was also the cause of increasing crime activities, high charges
because of high crime rate, overcrowding in the jail, and the disruption on the
relationship with other countries that supply the illicit drugs. The right thing to do is
to imitate the regulation system with cigarettes on marijuana, one of which is to
restrict the selling of marijuana with minors (Barro 1997, 143 as cited in Thornton,
1991). The black market gains their profits instead of the government acquiring tax
revenues. Prohibition has also caused the government to spend money in order to
prison the drug users which actually has non-violent offenses. More or less 113,100
crimes were reported by the police in whom 54% of them were considered to be
criminals because they possess marijuana (Brennan, 2012 as cited in Flister, 2012).

Huge money is being spent by the government on drug prohibition yet the
benefits that we get from prohibition are little. Once prohibition is repealed, tax
revenues would be collected by the government and can be used to regulate
marijuana in the right way. Like on cigarettes, marijuana usage must be discouraged
to everyone, especially to the youth. Legalization would create a strong policy on
marijuana possession and the people would be informed about marijuanas risks
and benefits, which would reduce the potential for abuse (Flister, 2012).

Arguments about the danger of marijuana are being compared to alcohol and
cigarettes, yet behind all of those comparisons the biggest harm that marijuana can
inflict comes from the criminal sanctions of cannabis users. People who receive
criminal records would have his/her future opportunities affected in terms of
employment and travelling abroad (Riley, 1998; The Canadian Bar Association, 2011
as cited in Flister, 2012). Imbalances and unfair justices are surrounding prohibition,
just like if someone possess marijuana, he/she will be considered as a criminal and
therefore would have his/her career affected (Miron & Waldock, 2010 as cited in
Roffman, 2013).

The destruction that we get from drugs is not from the drug itself, but is from
the laws that make them illegal. Therefore, a free market for drugs must be
established in order to reduce the damage (Holcombe 1995, 158 as cited in
Thornton, 1991). Marijuana consumption as being the cause of violent actions and
crimes being done by people had no strong evidence. Studies conducted by the
doctors from the New York Academy of Medicine shows that there is no existing

cause and effect relationship between marijuana consumption and crime (Bonnie &
Whitebread, 1974 as cited in Christiansen, 2010).

Marijuana is currently on the list of Schedule I drugs, wherein drugs belonging


on that list has a potential for abuse, has no medical use, and lacks safety measures
when it is to be consumed (21 U.S.C., 2009 as cited in Christiansen, 2010). A
petition on reclassifying marijuanas schedule group was brought into the Drug
Enforcement Administration and to the Attorney General last 1980, and 2 years
later the DEAs Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young said that he
recommends marijuana to be on the scheduled II drugs (Blaine, 2002 as cited in
Christiansen, 2010). He also stated that each medicine has its own harmful and
poisonous effects but marijuana lacks those characteristics. There are no pieces of
evidence or records showing marijuana consumption being the cause of a death or
fatality (Young, n.d. as cited in Christiansen, 2010).

Enough are the reasons and statements given by experts in order for us to
believe that prohibition is not working. It cannot be avoided to think of another
alternative solution so that the problems concerning drug use will be solved. The
problems regarding drug use are numerous, but in this paper, we will focus on how
to reduce the crime rate, what to do in order to solve the budget deficit of the
government concerning drugs, how to regulate the drug industry once marijuana is
legalized, and how to stop the black market of drug lords.

First, where did the black market come from? We already know that they rose
due to the prohibition of drugs. To refresh ourselves on that information, Flister

(2012) stated that the prohibition of marijuana created a black market that
increased the violence and the formation of criminal organizations, causing a
responsibility for the government to chase and punish drug users who make nonviolent crimes, which increased social costs. In the 1920s, crime rates increased due
to the alcohol prohibition and started to decrease in the year 1933, the time when
alcohol was legalized. Criminal activities continued to decrease until the mid-1960s
(Machan & Thornton, 1991).
Analyzing the mission of prohibition, what it causes is the opposite of what it
wants to achieve. Rather than stopping millions of people from acquiring drugs, it
became worse due to the selling of illegal drugs by the black market. So, how can
we stop the black market if prohibition ironically makes them stronger? The obvious
alternative solution is to legalize marijuana.

What will happen once we legalize marijuana? Police, courts and prisons will
be able to focus on hunting real criminals and the crime committed to buy drugs will
be reduced. Opening of prison doors by the judges because of overcrowding would
be prevented. The policemen and the court could serve the country better. Gangs
on the street would vanish once their incomes from illegal drug sales are gone. The
producers and the process of making marijuana would positively change. The drug
lords would not survive on a free market. Marijuana will be produced and distributed
by legal companies nationally which means that marijuana will be made safer and
less potent. The people would be better informed about marijuana and the change
on it will be consumer-driven. People will acquire the freedom to demand the
producers when its necessary (Machan & Thornton, 1991). The amount of crime
would be reduced and the power of law enforcement would increase once we start

legalizing drugs. Persuading and setting an example will be more effective rather
than using the law in order to mold the citizens of our country (Friedman 1972, 104
as cited in Thornton, 1991).

People might be thinking at this point that once we legalize marijuana, users
would increase and therefore, the number of drug addicts would rise. It actually is
not that of a problem because marijuana users will not be that addicted compared
to tobacco and alcohol consumers as alleged by the U.S. Government (Joy et al.
eds., 1999 as cited in Weber, 2013). Machan & Thornton (1991) also stated that
before drug prohibition, alcohol, caffeine and nicotine were much safer. There were
heroin pills made by the producers of Bayer Aspirin that were safe to be used by
babies. Even the Coca-Cola Company had cocaine in its product. These products
were generally non-poisonous, non-toxic, and non-lethal. Alcohol, caffeine and
nicotine are safer today compared 10 to 30 years ago because their potency
decreases over time.

The citizens would also imagine that people would smoke Marijuana
everywhere and even inside of restaurants and fast-food chains. This is the false
stigma that people usually thought of because they fail to see the difference of
prohibition and private contractual regulations. Restaurants will have the right to
appeal their own law like prohibiting the use of drugs inside their place. Airlines,
railroads and other companies may also set a rule with their employees like not
allowing them to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana while working (Machan &
Thornton, 1991).

And in looking to the benefits that the government would receive, tax
revenues would be collected by the government if marijuana is legalized. The retail
price of marijuana is approximately $8.60 and only costs $1.50 in order to be
produced (Easton, 2004 as cited in Flister, 2012). A free market would be built when
we legalize marijuana and thus will decrease the price of marijuana in which will
cause the crime rates to go down. Flister (2012) also believed that when the illegal
market is converted into a free market, more entrepreneurs would be joining the
market, which actually means that the retail price of marijuana would decrease. On
the other hand, when the market remains illegal, the price of marijuana would never
go down since there would be no entrepreneurs joining the black market.
If the tax revenue to be collected is not that high, there is an alternative
technique that Flister suggests. Legalize marijuana and maintain its existing retail
prices so that it would generate large tax revenues for the government (Flister,
2012). Around 160,000 kilograms of marijuana are consumed per year in Canada as
Easton (2004) estimates which actually show that there would be approximately $2
billion to be collected by the government (as cited in Flister, 2012). More so, the
Government of Canada had a $1.3 billion tax revenue deficit in 2012. If the tax
revenues were to be collected from marijuana, there would be $2.7 billion revenue
surplus by 2014 (Government of Canada, 2012 as cited in Flister, 2012). On the
average, every Canadian has a health expenditure of $5,614 yearly, and if the tax
revenues were to be used, the annual health insurance of 356,252 Canadians could
be optimized (Health Canada, 2012 as cited in Flister, 2012).

More people would also benefit in terms of employment once marijuana is


legalized. As Machan and Thornton (1991) said, each drug has its own legal use and

most probably has some undiscovered benefits. So, legalizing drugs would open
new jobs for the people and they would be using marijuana (hemp) in order to
produce paper, medicine and other useful items. Marijuana is not sensitive when it
comes to climates and is being developed well even without the use of fertilizers.

To be surer on what might happen in legalization, we must not rely on the


hypotheses of the experts alone, and we must also consider the histories of alcohol
and tobacco prohibition, as the two drugs have parallel histories with marijuana.

Lets start with alcohol. Prohibition of alcohol in the United States began in
the year 1919 (U.S. Const. amend XVIII, n.d. as cited in Weber, 2013) and during the
prohibition, alcohol consumption declined but in contrast making rise to criminal
organizations of which sells the illegal liquors (Miron, n.d. as cited in Weber, 2013).
At the time of Great Depression, the prohibition became hated because it is at that
time when it became a convention to the people that legalizing alcohol would
generate huge tax revenues and will destroy the criminal organizations (Miron, n.d.
as cited in Weber, 2013).

Considering the fact that tobacco and alcohol are both more dangerous than
marijuana and is legal to be consumed today, it is logical to believe that prohibition
should be repealed since the law would control marijuana consumption, just like on
how it regulates alcohol and tobacco consumption (Weber, 2013). Alcohol and
tobacco are way more destructive than marijuana. The smoking of cannabis, even
long-term, is not harmful to health. It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as
less of a threat than alcohol or tobacco (The Lancet, 1995 as cited in Weber,

2013). Thousands of years have already passed and millions of people have already
used marijuana yet no one has ever died because of consuming it (Grinspoon, n.d.
as cited in Weber, 2013) while 100,000 and 400,000 people die yearly in the United
States due to alcohol and tobacco consumption, respectively (McGinnis & Foege,
1993 as cited in Weber, 2013).

Millions of dollars are spent annually for advertisements that persuade people
to stop smoking cigarettes (Humphries, 2009 as cited in Weber, 2013) and the
group Alcoholics Anonymous was once court-ordered to convince the people to quit
their practice of drinking (Buddy T., 2011, as cited in Weber, 2013). There were also
campaign advertisements like these for marijuana but are not that common
(Weinman, 2008 as cited in Weber, 2013) and campaign advertisements like these
are actually not needed once marijuana is legalized since cannabis is not that
addictive compared to other drugs inclusive of caffeine (Gore & Earleywine, n.d. as
cited in Weber,2013). There was a study conducted by the Harvard University
Economist Jeffrey A. Miron saying that $7.7 billion are being spent by the
government yearly in order to implement marijuana prohibition (Miron, 2005 as
cited in Christiansen, 2010). Furthermore, if it were taxed similarly to alcohol and
tobacco, marijuana would provide $6.2 billion in additional revenue each year, for a
total potential annual budget increase of nearly $14 billion (Miron, 2005 as cited in
Christiansen, 2010). It only means that the government could save money once
marijuana is legalized because campaign advertisements in order to persuade
people to stop smoking marijuana wont be needed since marijuana is not that
addictive.

Therefore, the legalization of marijuana would generate some positive effects


since its addicting content is not as the same level with alcohol and tobacco. Some
of these include the declination for the social costs in terms of campaign
advertisements for marijuana, marijuana addicts will not be as frequent as alcohol
and cigarette addicts, social costs in terms of healthcare with marijuana will be less
compared to the costs being spent for alcohol and tobacco healthcare, and the
violent actions to be done by marijuana consumers will be less (Weber, 2013).
Considering the history of marijuana in the United States, it is obvious that it
similar to that of alcohol and tobacco. Just like in the prohibition of alcohol, in which
it caused the black market of drug lords to rise and sell illegal drugs, which has the
same situation on marijuana today. The parallelism of these histories advocate that
these drugs in terms of the law should be treated similarly (Herman v., 1855, as
cited in Weber, 2013).

Now isnt it questionable on why does the government still prohibit marijuana
given all of these facts and reasons of experts? An analysis and inspection would be
done to the federal government once the court applies the strict scrutiny, which
means that the federal government should state its reasons on why they would pass
the law (Wade, 1973 as cited in Weber, 2013). The three main reasons being stated
by the federal government on why they prohibit marijuana are: first, marijuana use
is immoral (Glucksberg, 1997 as cited in Weber, 2013); second, marijuana use is
related to crime (Burbine, 1986 as cited in Weber, 2013); and lastly, marijuana
use has negative effects on health (Goldfarb, 1975 as cited in Weber, 2013).

Now lets take a look on these 3 reasons of the government and investigate if
it is reasonable to continue the prohibition of marijuana.

A reason that the government could state in order to persuade the people is
by using the conscience on morality (Glucksberg, n.d. as cited in Weber, 2013). It is
a fact that the courts are doubtful and unconvinced when the reasons to be stated
by the government concern the conscience on morality (Texas, 2003 as cited in
Weber, 2013). The government violates the rule of separation of the state and
church once it uses the concept of morality within its concerns (U.S. Const. amend.
I., as cited in Weber, 2013). Hence, the government would most likely fail its
compelling interest on why they would like to regulate the prohibition of marijuana
once they apply morality within their reasons (Union Pac. Ry. Co. v. Botsford, 1891
as cited in Weber, 2013).
The government may also say that they prohibit marijuana because it
decreases crime rate and violence (Burbine, 1986 as cited in Weber, 2013). But, in
the 1970s, a study conducted by the jurisdiction on marijuana decriminalization
shows that little have changed on the usage patterns on marijuana consumption (L.
Johnson et al., 1981 as cited in Weber, 2013). Boyum and Kleiman (2002) also said
that a marijuana user who is high will not be violent (as cited in Weber, 2013). Due
to the belief of the government on the relationship of marijuana with crime, they
spend huge amount of money in order to strengthen the law that marijuana is
prohibited (Bates, 2004 as cited in Weber, 2013) wherein these amount of money
could be spent better in some other things (Weber, 2013). Obviously, it would be
better if the government would decriminalize marijuana possession, as it would also
decrease the crime rate (Weber, 2013).

The third reason that the government could use concerns the health of
people, stating that smoking marijuana is dangerous (Goldfarb, 1975 as cited in
Weber, 2013). Smoking is not the only way on how to use marijuana (Marjiuana
Tincture, 2013 as cited in Weber, 2013) and can be used safely in some right
conditions as stated by The American College of Physicians (Taylor, 2008 as cited in
Weber, 2013). Marijuana has also some health benefits proven by a successful
patent application (U.S. Patent No. 6,630,507, 2003 as cited in Weber, 2013) and
once again, no one has ever died due to marijuana usage (Grinspoon 1999, as cited
in Weber, 2013).
The most damaging part about marijuana is not within using it, but is within the
treatment on users as a criminal which will affect his/her career and life in the future
(Grinspoon 1971, as cited in Weber, 2013). In conclusion about the health concerns
of the government, their argument is weak because it is already proven that alcohol
and tobacco, which are legal today, are way more harmful compared to marijuana
(Weber, 2013).
Based on the facts and pieces of evidence given, the arguments of the
government on prohibiting marijuana are pathetic. Using morality will damage the
argument, since the courts are simply doubtful when morality concepts are the
reasons being used in order to regulate a certain law. In addition to that, the
conception of the division of the state and the church would be violated. More so,
saying that marijuana prohibition will lessen the crime rates seems to be ironic.
With respect to the given facts and records, decriminalizing marijuana possession
would decrease the crime rates, and the money being spent by the government on
enforcing marijuana prohibition could be spent somewhere else. And on the

argument on health, scientific evidences also prove that marijuana is not that
harmful compared to some legal substance today like tobacco and alcohol (Weber,
2013).

The present law on marijuana is not working because people arent following
the law and the prohibition on marijuana didnt achieve its goals. Legalization is
obviously the best alternative solution to be done as it will give a lot of benefits.
Adapting to the social standards of the citizens of the country is the best way to do
as it would gradually decrease the social costs of the government as well as the
crime violence being sanctioned to the people. The policemen would be able to
focus on hunting real criminals and the overcrowding in the jails would be
prevented. The number of criminals would decrease and the criminals to be hunted
are the ones that are really immoral. New jobs will be open to people and marijuana
can be used on producing paper and other kinds of useful items and the selling of
marijuana would be regulated by the government. As time goes by, the potency of
marijuana would decrease and possibly, it has some medical benefits that are not
yet researched since it is currently illegal to possess it, thus, the legalization would
open up the path on studying the medicinal marijuana.
Marijuanas price would go down as entrepreneurs would be joining the
market in which it would grant the effect of decreasing crime rates because the
victims would stop their evil acts of stealing and killing in order to get money and
buy their drugs. The government currently spends huge amount of money in order
to enforce the law of prohibiting marijuana. If marijuana is to be legalized, the
government wont even need to launch advertisements and campaigns in order to
persuade the people to stop smoking marijuana because based on many studies,

marijuana is not that addictive. Therefore, money would be saved by the


government and could be spent on other problems. Legalization would produce
large tax revenues for the government rather than the black markets of drug lords
acquiring their money. The tax revenues to be collected would replace the budget
deficit and could actually generate a budget surplus. It could be used on educating
the people about marijuana and on launching scientific researches on the medicinal
marijuana. The budget surplus could also be used by the government on other
social issues, and by looking at the effects of legalization; it would create a good
domino effect since the government will acquire the money needed in order to solve
economic problems.

Undoubtedly, legalization is the key, even though it sounds awful to others.


Legalization would not solve the problems 100%, but it would make a huge change
in our society and would give a lot of benefit. The black market of drug lords would
vanish, as they would not survive on the free market and the negative effects that
they cause in the society would also fade away. There will be no more drug victims
that are hooked on doing their crimes in order to satisfy themselves. The existence
of criminal organizations that caused a negative impact to the country would
disappear and the rise of the free market would start. The free market will be
regulated well by the government. They would follow the laws concerning the
selling of marijuana and marijuanas status can be better looked out by our
government. The illegal businesses of the drug lords would die and the free market
would enter, which could be a source of the government for tax revenues. The tax
revenues to be collected could be used on the social problems of our country, not

only on the problems within drugs, but as well as on the problems of the country as
a whole.

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