Drugs are a major influential force in our country today. The problem has gotten so out of hand that many options are being considered to control it or even solve it. Ending the drug war seems to be a bit impossible. The war on drugs seems to be accomplishing a lot but this is not true. Different options need to be considered. Legalization is an option that hasn't gotten a chance but should be given one. Although many people feel that legalizing marijuana would increase the amount of use, marijuana should be legalized because it will reduce the great amounts of money spent on enforcement and it will increase our country's revenue. There are also many benefits that can be uncovered to help people if legalization of marijuana is given a chance.
Legalizing marijuana would increase our economy's revenue. During Prohibition alcohol use was still sold and used, but people were doing it illegally. The 21st amendment repealed prohibition and alcohol taxes were increased. The same thing should happen with drugs. Marijuana should be taxed heavily to increase our revenue. Marijuana and other drugs would be made by the same people who make aspirin so the quality would be assured, containing no poisons or adulterants. Sterile hypodermic needles will be readily available at corner drug stores. These could be taxed heavily because the users will be assured of "clean drugs."
Making drugs legal will reduce the great amounts of money spent on enforcement every year. Drug dealers and users are one step ahead on the enforcement process. If one drug lord is caught, another one will show up somewhere else. We cannot win. "In 1987, 10 billion dollars were spent alone just on enforcing drug laws. Drugs accounted for about 40 percent of all felony indictments in the New York City courts in 1989. This figure is quadruple what it was in 1985. . Forty percent of the people in federal prison are drug law violators" (Long 114). One can only imagine what this figure would be like today. Too much money is wasted on a cause that seems to be no end to. "In 1989, a Republican county executive of Mercer County N.J. estimated that it would cost him as much as 1 billion dollars to build the jail space needed to house all the hard-core drug users in Trenton alone" (Long 128). All of this money could be used on better things.
By lifting the ban on marijuana use and treating it like other drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, the nation would gain immediate and long-term benefits. This change in the law would greatly improve the quality of life for many people. Victims of glaucoma and those needing antinausea treatment, for example, would find marijuana easily available. Also, the cloud of suspicion would disappear, and doctors could get on with investigating marijuana's medical uses without fear of controversy. In the essay, "Drugs", Vidal states, " Nevertheless many drugs are bad for certain people to take and they should be told why in a sensible way" (321-322). It might become possible to discuss the dangers of marijuana use without getting caught up in a policy debate..
Meanwhile, the black market would disappear overnight. Some arrangement would be made to license the production of marijuana cigarettes. Thousands of dealers would be put out of business, and a secret part of the economy would come into the open. It is difficult to say whether this change would reduce crime because criminals would probably continue to sell other drugs. But it would have an impact on the amount of money flowing through criminal channels, and this might weaken organized crime.
The legalization of marijuana would benefit the federal budget in two ways, the federal revenues would increase, because marijuana cigarettes would be taxed at the point of sale. In return, the companies that make the cigarettes would also pay income taxes.. Second, there would be a reduction on the amount spent on law enforcement efforts to apprehend and prosecute users and sellers of marijuana. The drug enforcement authorities might reduce their budget requests, or, more likely, focus more intensely on hard drugs and violent crimes. The courts would be relieved of hearing some drug cases, as well.
The most important gain would be in the quality of government. The sorts of temptations and opportunities that lead to corruption would be significantly minimized. The illogical pattern of law enforcement, which now treats marijuana as more dangerous as alcohol, would end. It would set more achievable goals for law enforcement, and this would lend strength and credibility to the government. In the essay "drugs," Vidal states, "It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time, Simply make all drugs available.