My Econ Paper - Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized

Discussion in 'Marijuana Legalization' started by Acid James, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. Whats up guys. I wrote this paper for my AP Micro class (I'm a senior in high school). We had to write a paper for our final, and it could be anything as long as we related it to economics.

    Why Marijuana Should be Legalized

    The leading cause of death in 2000 was tobacco, with 435,000 Americans dying from it's use. In the same year, 85,000 Americans died from alcohol consumption; however, there have been no credible reports of deaths induced by marijuana. (Heron) If marijuana were legal, enforcement and incarceration costs related to marijuana would be negligible, and the government could tax the production and sale of marijuana. Government expenditure would decline and tax revenue would increase. To better understand the rationale for legalization, one must first look at the history of prohibition.

    1937, the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana was criminalized. This is very similar to the prohibition of Alcohol in 1920. The 18th Amendment criminalized the production, sale, and consumption of alcohol. The result was horrible, an enormous crime wave was created, and organized crime significantly increased. In 1933, prohibition ended with the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th. Marijuana prohibition is not much different than alcohol's, though research has found marijuana to be much less dangerous. Recent studies conducted by the San Diego School of Medicine have found that even long-term heavy marijuana use doesn't damage the brain. (Kirchheimer) Furthermore, a 30-year study conducted at UCLA has concluded that smoking marijuana does not increase the chance of lung cancer. In fact, the THC in cannabis lessens the tumor-promoting properties of marijuana smoke. (Boyles) In 1973, President Richard Nixon launched a full out war on drugs, and created the Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1973, the DEA's fiscal budget was 101 million. In 2007, the DEA's fiscal budget was an outstanding 20 billion. Unfortunately, there are more drugs in the United States today, and at a lesser cost and better quality. (Booth) This shows that our current prohibition of marijuana simply isn't effective.

    Last year over 730,000 Americans were arrested for simple possession of marijuana. If marijuana were to be legalized, there would be no arrests for trafficking or possession, and our government would save an extraordinary amount of money. Our current prohibition of marijuana costs our government $7.7 billion dollars a year in prosecutorial, judicial, and incarceration expenses. ($5.3 billion in State expenses, $2.4 billion in Federal) (Miron) Another aspect of legalization is that our government would be able to regulate and tax the sale of marijuana.

    Despite being illegal, current estimates put marijuana as the number one cash crop in America. (Ling) If marijuana were to be legalized and taxed, our government could generate over $6.2 billion dollars annually. (Miron) That tax revenue, added with the lowered spending resulting from ending prohibition would net the US government almost $14 billion dollars annually. With the current economic situation, this is more important than ever. Legalizing marijuana would generate billions of dollars of revenue for the government, and private industry would prosper. It seems absurd that the prohibition of marijuana continues; it has been proven to be less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco, our current system of prohibition is failing, and legalization would significantly help the US economy.
  2. Booth, Kevin. American Drug War. Passion River, 2007.
    Boyles, Salynn. “Pot Smoking Not Linked to Lung Cancer.” WebMD. 23 May 2006. 15 Jan. 2009 <*/*pot-smoking-not-linked-to-lung-cancer>.
    Heron. Deaths: Leading Causes for 2003. Diss. 2003. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Drug War Facts. 2009. 15 Jan. 2009 <*?q=node/*>.
    Kirchheimer, Sid. “Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn't Damage Brain.” WebMD. 31 July 2003. 15 Jan. 2009 <*/*heavy-marijuana-use-doesnt-damage-brain>.
    Ling, Lisa. Marijuana Nation. Explorer. National Geographic. 11 Dec. 2008.
    - - -. Marijuana Nation. Explorer. National Geographic. 11 Dec. 2008.
    Miron, Jeffrey A. “Alcohol Prohibition.” Economic History Services. 25 Sept. 2001. Boston University. 15 Jan. 2009 <>.
    - - -. The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2005. Prohibition Costs. 2009. 15 Jan. 2009 <>

    This is my bibliography if anyone is interested. I actually think it's the strongest part of my paper. Instead of using NORML bs sources, I got my info from WebMD, Harvard Professors, and the National Geographic, among others.
  3. #3 amsterdamage, Jan 19, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2009
    actually according to the CDC the leading cause of death was heart disease.
    But how much of that was caused by tobacco?

    One other thing. It's very well written!
    And, the main problem with the prohibition are the murders that are committed to protect the incomes of the Mexican Drug Cartels who supply a lot of the weed into the U.S. These Cartels literally make billions annually from marijuana sales and they murder innocent people in order to send the government a message to leave their operations alone. Last year they murdered, beheaded and soaked in baths of acid more than 5,700 innocent people, including mothers, fathers and children.

    I believe it's essential to focus on these killings because it was the murders committed by Al Capone and other gangsters that made people demand the alcohol prohibition be ended. And the only reason the same thing hasn't happened to the marijuana prohibition before now is because its murders are committed in a foreign country.

    Don't overlook them, they are the biggest cost of the prohibition and should receive a LOT of focus.
  4. I've never seen citations after the period of the sentence they're citing. If that's a different style than MLA or APA then my bad, but I'd double check that.

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