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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 11/27/2012 06:49 PM

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Over the past decade marijuana use has seen its fair share of media coverage. Whether people are bashing users for their supposed unacceptable, yet completely harmless, behavior while on the drug or glorifying its many beneficial uses, it’s become a virtually unavoidable topic. I believe the reason most Americans oppose the use of marijuana is because they are not entirely educated on it. My goal is to get across that marijuana is not only a harmless plant, but in fact one of the most beneficial drugs our nation will ever come across. I want people to realize that there is no reason that marijuana shouldn’t be legalized and if given the chance could produce enormous benefits in more than one domain.

According to government surveys, approximately 100 million Americans have used marijuana at one point, 25 million have used within the last year and 14 million use on a daily basis. (Norml) These numbers are only bound to grow with the recent legalizations in Colorado and Washington. It’s time for Americans to acknowledge this actuality.

Annually, taxpayers spend $10 billion fighting prohibition. (Norml) This money could be used to fight other more dangerous drugs. With 75,000 marijuana related arrests per year, the amount of law enforcement it would free up would be enormous, letting them focus on more disturbing crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. (Schlosser 17) 86% of these arrests account for possession alone. Roughly 30% of those arrested were merely 19 years and younger, still adolescents being put into the justice system that could be completely avoided all by legalization. Jimmy Carter once said, "Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."

Some states have already realized how beneficial marijuana can prove to be. There have been fourteen states to...

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