The validity of marijuana decriminalization (and even legalization) is illustrated in the following analysis of the social, fiscal, political, and medical attributes and conceptions associated with the drug. Marijuana has been used for thousands of years, in 2008; archeologists discovered over two pounds of cannabis in a 2,700-year-old grave of a shaman found in Central Asia. (Armentano, 1) Should marijuana be legalized or at least decriminalized in America? The following information may give the reader a reason to consider scenarios inconsistent with current policies.
Socially, marijuana being legal has virtually little to no impact on use. Use of marijuana in states with some kind of decriminalization or legalization measure in place did increase, but use in states that do not increase at a similar or even a higher rate. Over 41% of Americans have tried marijuana, that's over 102 million people. In comparison with the 41% of Americans that have tried marijuana only 15% of Americans have ever tried cocaine, the second most popular illegal drug, there goes the 'gateway effect'. (Armentano, 1) Marijuana being decriminalized or legalized does not increase the use of marijuana and has virtually no effect on the use of alcohol or other harder illegal drugs.
From a fiscal standpoint, the legalization of marijuana is nothing but beneficial. California, Washington, and Colorado have all legalized to some extent, and are already raking in taxes on the purchase of this, now legal, drug. On a more personal level, the product of marijuana, and the stigma surrounding it, makes growing this crop on a small scale a feasible venture, no other crop in America can have the same thing said about it. If marijuana were taxed like everything else, it would generate about $2.4 billion annually in tax revenue, if taxed at rates compared to that of alcohol and tobacco it would bring in about $6.2 billion annually. (Miron, 1) The legalization of marijuana would also save $5.3 billion on a state level and $2.4 billion on a federal level that’s $7.7 billion annually; the amount the government spends to enforce marijuana laws. (Miron, 1) Legalizing marijuana will do nothing but benefit today's economy.
Politically, the support for legalizing marijuana has increased, as shown in the following, recent survey. According to Pew Research, 52% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, while only 45% opposed it. (1) A different survey, from Gallup, showed that in 1973, only 9% of Republicans supported legalizing marijuana and only 13% of Democrats supported legalization. (Carroll, 4) The current survey by Pew Research, in 2013, shows that 37% of Republicans and 59% of Democrats are now in favor of legalizing marijuana. (4) On a state government level, there are over 20...