There is a new movement to legalize marijuana. This time it’s not coming from the hippies and stoners. It’s actually coming from renowned economists. Their argument is very persuasive in that it’s based on the prospective that during this time of economic contraction billions of dollars can be saved and generated if the focus was placed in a different direction.
So what exactly are they proposing? They are saying that billions of dollars can be saved if marijuana was legalized, from the law enforcement’s fight to stop the drugs from hitting the streets, legal representation and prosecution from the state to prosecute petty offences like a person found with a “joint”.
Because it is hard to track the amount of money spent on marijuana, since it is illegal, the figure is estimated somewhere between 40 billion and 110 billion dollars a year. Even more is spent on combating its use and most people agree that the fight is not being won by the law enforcement agencies.
Now if this substance was legalized then there would be a significant saving in revenue to fight the drug trade, and the new money generated from this new taxation could add up to a hefty sum. It all sounds great from an economic prospective or does it.
The flip side to all this are numerous, one is that currently there are is the amount of money spent on alcohol related problems which is approximately 185 million dollars a year, if marijuana was legalized it is quite possible that the amount of money that will be spent to combat “weed” related problems could surpass the amount collected from the new tax.
Also it is estimated that approximately 16 million persons in the U.S. use marijuana, if it was legal we could see that number rise exponentially. This could seriously raise crime and disturbances which would in turn create more work for the law enforcement officers. So now instead of locking up persons for possession they will now have to deal with stoned disorderly and addicted individuals.
Some serious questions that need to be answered before this could seriously be considered would be.
• How exactly does marijuana affect a person?
• What is the real befits of marijuana use and is it effective the same way in everybody?
• Can marijuana use lead to other substance addiction such as alcohol and cocaine?
• Who will be given the right to grow and distribute marijuana?
• Is there going to be a standard set for the distribution?
The debate most likely can continue for quite a few years but my perspective is that the legalization of marijuana can lead to lot more problems for which we haven’t put forward a solution.