Legalize Marijuana

Cassandra - Wood River, Illinois
Entered on September 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

In the year 2006, more than 829,000 people were arrested for marijuana related offenses alone. That’s one every forty five seconds, usually for simple possession. Eighty-nine percent of people arrested for cannabis related charges are for small amounts of marijuana and/or paraphernalia. The number of marijuana related arrests far exceeds the arrests for aggravated assault, forcible rape, manslaughter, armed robbery and murder combined. Prohibition has done nothing but put innocent and normal people behind bars.

I believe marijuana should be legal, because most users are normal everyday people who do not break any other laws. They love their family; they work and live a normal life. Since marijuana has only been illegal for 1% of the time it has been in use, why does our country continue to arrest a person for using something that grows in the ground? In 1937 our country created the Marijuana Tax Act, which was originally meant to require a license to sell marijuana, but eventually led to marijuana being illegal, even though it used to be one of Americas most popular crops.

There are many reasons I believe marijuana should be legal, but the main reason, and this affects all of us, is the cost of jail and prison. As a taxpayer, we pay to feed people, to clothe them, and to keep the buildings running. Not to mention, we have spent 8 billion dollars a year to advertize against the use of marijuana. America could save billions of tax dollars if we quit arresting people for simple possession, and just legalized marijuana, and taxed it like cigarettes.

We hear all the time about the war on drugs, and how people who smoke or ingest marijuana are bad people, but how so? How many newspapers have a header that reads, “Child killed by stoned driver,”? I have never read that before, but alcoholics kill people everyday drunk driving, but that is legal and not natural. The bigger majority of people that smoke marijuana do not hurt anybody. Actually, less than one percent of hospitalization is in any way related to marijuana.

Many people will try to say that marijuana is dangerous to the body, especially the lungs, but actually the chance of contracting lung cancer from marijuana is minimal. Tobacco smokers smoke a pack a day, while marijuana smokers do not smoke the large enough amount to blame cancer on marijuana. It has also been said that marijuana is habit forming, addicting, and full of dangerous chemicals, which may be true, but caffeine has about 1,100 more chemicals and is much more habit forming.

Marijuana has been blamed for years for the downfall of society, but I believe our nation would be much better off if we legalized marijuana. It would add billions of dollars in tax money, and would save many people that get arrested for simple possession and paraphernalia. The government could control the substance, since many minors find it easier to obtain illegal drugs than to get alcohol and tobacco. The legalization of marijuana would benefit many people, including ill people. It is very obvious the benefits it would have on society as a whole. That is why I believe in the legalization of marijuana.