The argument for legalizing marijuana has sparked much controversy in the US with many lawmakers and those who not only smoke it for purely pleasurable reasons, but those who smoke it for medicinal reasons as well.
President Obama recently touted the unnecessary need for marijuana, however for economic growth, it would have potential benefits to the country with increased revenue.
What is disturbing is the amount of arrests and people who are imprisoned by the usage of marijuana which has placed a huge economic burden on the penal system representing over half of it’s year operating budget.
Since 1992, approximately six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined.
Police arrested an estimated 723,627 persons for marijuana violations in 2001 alone, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ annual Uniform Crime Report. The total is the second highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprises nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States.
The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeds the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
During the prohibition of alcohol, bootlegging gangs led by the likes of Al Capone ruthlessly and violently held control over black market liquor distribution. If cannabis were legalized, it would lift a huge burden off the criminal justice system and cause a reduction in the costs, and a decrease in the size of gangs themselves who transport and sell drugs on the street.
Marijuana motivates criminal gangs to use guns to kill people in search of profit. If marijuana were legal, the government could implement a kind of Starbucks-like series of independent businesses that would sell it rather than criminal gangs, which would lesson the criminal activity on the streets, and bring much needed revenue into the economy. Not to mention the increase of jobs that would be created to meet the need for this type of business.
Northern California’s Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties — has increasingly become the haven for people looking to make a living growing marijuana. California state law allows anyone to grow a limited amount of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana growers in Mendocino County generate an estimated $1 billion a year. That makes the area home to a sizable chunk of a national market for marijuana believed to be in the tens of billions of dollars. With that kind of profit margin, marijuana is increasingly filling the gap left by other failing industries like lumber and fishing.
Not all drugs are equal, and comparing weed with alcohol and other drugs makes no practical sense, as well as making any presumptions that marijuana is a gateway drug. Alcohol and cigarettes alone have been the leading cause of death by any known substance worldwide, yet they are made legal by the US government.
Cannabis has been advocated as a treatment for nausea, vomiting, wasting, pain and muscle spasm in cancer, HIV/AIDS, and neurological disorders. Such uses are prohibited by law; cannabinoid drugs are not registered for medical use in Australia and a smoked plant product is unlikely to be registered. A New South Wales Working Party has recommended granting exemption from prosecution to patients who are medically certified to have specified medical conditions. This proposal deserves to be considered by other State and Territory governments, as the report suggests.
In the United States however, many researcher have found rather promising results from the use, and thus many states are passing legislation making medical cannabis legal.
Preliminary findings indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (consisting of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis), Migraine, Fibromyalgia and related conditions.
Medical cannabis has also been found to relieve certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries by exhibiting antispasmodic and muscle relaxant properties as well as stimulating appetite. Clinical trials provide evidence that THC reduces motor and vocal tics of Tourette’s syndrome and related behavioral problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorders.
The revenue that is generated from alcohol and cigarettes are regulated by the government which provide substantial tax revenue, and the kickbacks from those industries makes the selling of alcohol and cigarettes in the billions for the government.
In the US the drugs that are legal by and large promote economic activity, but arguably drugs that are illegal tend cause slackness and a philosophical questioning of ones state of mind and moral social conflict. In the days of prohibition, these social stigmas against alcohol were such that made it illegal until the government saw the cost effective ways to approach and enforced regulation and laws for it, and by doing such, created a taxable market with huge profits by making alcohol legal.
In Germany, marijuana is legal to such a degree that it is a major souce of business revenue that is generated by the supply of marijuana. In Germany, it is a multi-billion dollars revenue streams from the legalization of marijuana, to the degree that there are many stand alone establishments that sell the herb, and vending machines with marijuana that can be conveniently purchased. There are about 100 varieties of cannibis that are grown and supplied in Germany.
When the government realizes that marijuana is an extremely profitable commodity just as alcohol and cigarettes are, and shed light on the benefits of this herb toward the public realizing the gains of legalization, and the medical benefits that it offers, then the ‘corporate political system’ that is the US will be on the fast track to bringing an influx of billions of dollars worth of economic revenue, and new jobs that could be created, which might prompt some Americans to finally say, “Roll up a doobie, and spark it up dude, it’s finally legal!”.