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Legalizing Marijuana Pros and Cons

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Legalizing Marijuana: Pros and Cons
The debate regarding marijuana legalization in the United States and around
the world is a contentious and multifaceted issue that has grown in stature over the
years. However, countries realize that removing prohibitions on drugs such as
marijuana could have significant benefits for their economies. The Netherlands, for
instance, which is known for its legalization of retail sales of marijuana, prohibits
commercial production of the same (Caulkins et al. 2). Policymakers have to
formulate and institute regulations that not only address the legal aspect of the drug
but also consider concerns on its responsible use and macroeconomic benefits.
Since the war on drugs gained momentum during the 1980s, there have been
differing arguments and opinions regarding the legalization of marijuana for both,
medicinal and recreational purposes (Bergen-Cico 58). Researchers state that "Most
recently, a new survey demonstrated that 53 percent of Americans support the legal
acquisition and use, whereas 44 percent oppose it" (Rocky Mountain High Intensity
Drug Trafficking Area 27). However, over time, the debate has boiled down to the
economic impacts of legalizing cannabis versus its adverse economic and ethical
implications. Essentially, public opinion regarding the subject of marijuana
legalization has witnessed an unprecedented change.
The economic and commercial viability of legalizing marijuana and the
consequences of this step on culture and society is a critical issue in the debate.
Following the decades of the “war on drugs” initiative and optimism concerning the
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effect of enforcement and stringent drug policy, government regimes liberalize the
attitudes towards drugs and drug-associated concerns (Caulkins et al. 12). In
addition, heightened support for harm diminution strategies is gaining popularity
across much of North America and Europe.
Risks factors aside, legalization of marijuana on a federal level could provide
economic benefits for the U.S. in the billions, especially at a time when the economy
requires a major boost. According to the study by Rubens, “With time, the policies,
politics, laws, and scientific inferences of medical marijuana are changing
significantly as the debates on medical marijuana have traditionally been founded on
a political basis rather than the scientific reference" (124). Not only the feds would
benefit from the development though; rather, marijuana legalization would offer top-
down economic improvements for local economies, and save state and regional
governments significant sums in wasted law enforcement funds.
In pursuit of this, whereas critics allege that legalization of marijuana would
increase public expenditure on healthcare services, they forget that the most obvious
economic aspect for the case for legalization has its roots in tax revenues. Today, it
is not a secret that the marijuana industry is thriving despite the lack of controls and
thus, does not remit taxes that could boost the economy. It is estimated that
marijuana trade is worth $113 billion per annum, which represents approximately
$45 billion in lost taxes (Caulkins et al. 10). This means that the government could
easily offset the public healthcare expenditures caused by drug use.
In conclusion, devoid of the ability to regulate and monitor marijuana sale, tax
authorities miss federal, state, and municipal taxes that would fund an extensive
assortment of initiatives, for example, programs for drug users, which are a measure
supported in lieu of incarceration by over two-thirds of Americans. This means that it
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would be prudent to legalize marijuana and reap its tax benefits, which would help to
address issues such as drug awareness initiatives, thereby enhancing responsible
use. The government as well as the society will mostly benefit from the legalization
of marijuana due to economic growth.
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Works Cited
Bergen-Cico, Dessa K. War and Drugs: The Role of Military Conflict in the
Development of Substance Abuse. Routledge, 2015.
Caulkins, Jonathan P., et al. “Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana and
Legalization.” Perspective, vol. 1, 2015, pp. 1-16.
Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The Legalization of Marijuana
in Colorado: The Impact. Vol. 2, Rocky Mountain HIDTA, 2014.
Rubens, Muni. “Political and Medical Views on Medical Marijuana and Its Future.”
Social Work in Public Health, vol. 29, no. 2, 2014, pp. 121-131.

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