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Marijuana and Its Economic Value in the USA Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 28th, 2019

Introduction

Drug trafficking is one of the major challenges the American federal government is facing (Gerber 36). The illegal selling of drugs, such as cannabis is among the most lucrative businesses in the world. The drug market in the United States of America is vibrant and economic experts estimate the trade to generate revenue in billions of U.S. dollars annually.

Marijuana can easily identify as one of the main cash crops in the United States of America due to its economic value. Many state governments are yet to legalize marijuana, yet people continue to participate in illegal practices associated with the drug. Some of the criminal activities associated with this drug include smoking, possession, trafficking, and selling.

The states of Colorado and Washington have legalized the use of cannabis (Gerber 39). Marijuana has traded in the United States of America for very many years. The Controlled Substances Act identifies and explains marijuana as a drug. The battle to legalize marijuana in America has been an ongoing scuffle for several decades. The use of marijuana in the United States of America is limited to medical and recreational purposes.

Marijuana has been tested and proved to have some benefits to health that are very helpful, especially to cancer patients (Earleywine 9). Various lobby groups, non-governmental organizations, special interest groups, and American citizens have been on the forefront of the campaign to have the drug legalized in the country. The federal government should legalize marijuana because of its massive economic value and health benefits.

Discussion

According to statistics gathered from studies that have explored the American black market, it is evident that marijuana qualifies as a cash crop. Drug trafficking is an lucrative trade that generates a lot of income in the tune of billions every year (Van 100). Unfortunately, the federal government has been losing on tax revenue from the the sales of marijuana because it is still criminalized in the country. Much of the revenue created through marijuana goes to foreign economies through the operations of criminal gangs and drug cartels.

The grim reality of the economic performance of the United States of America lies in the lengthy debate over the legalization of marijuana. The federal government struggles to balance the national budget every year. The reason for this is that it spends a huge percentage of its financial resources fighting marijuana, which has a huge economic value for the country. Legalization of cannabis sativa could fully exploit its potential as a cash crop through the creation of a reliable revenue stream (Earleywine 11).

Statistics from a study conducted to show the effects of legalizing marijuana in the United States of America, estimated that the federal government could generate annual revenue of $ 8.7 billion from the drug annually (Gerber 44). This estimate applied the current tax rates on legal drugs in the country, such as alcohol and tobacco.

The study also established that legalizing marijuana would help in reducing the amount of money spent by the federal government on regulating the use of the substance (Van 105). The two states that have legalized the use of cannabis sativa for medical and recreational purposes provide good case reference to the federal government as they try to handle the pressure from various citizens raised concerning the issue of marijuana use.

The challenge that the federal government is likely to face regarding this crucial decision is weighing between the financial benefits of legalizing marijuana and the social impact associated with its use (Gerber 50). Some of the social impacts associated with using marijuana include reduced human productivity, as well as a diluted essence and the value of human beings.

Reasons to legalize marijuana

There are numerous reasons why the federal government of the United States of America should legalize marijuana. These reasons are developed out of extensive research on the various uses of cannabis sativa in the country.

The studies involve people who have used the drug in the past, those who use it now, as well as state governments that have already legalized the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. The first reason is that the current laws applied to regulate the production, use, and trading of marijuana in the United States have failed drasticly (Turnlund 20).

Despite the federal laws providing harsh penalties for crimes associated with marijuana, the number of people being associated with the substance has been increasing every year.

Although people argue that regulatory measures on the use of cannabis sativa in the United States has been successful, statistics show that over 25 million people use it every year (Earleywine 17). This demonstrates that numerous efforts are needed to eliminate the drug. This would be very costly to the federal government owing to the fact that little has changed thus far, despite its numerous efforts.

The second reason is that there is racism in the enforcement of laws on marijuana (Turnlund 28). The United States of America has a long history about racial profiling that entails discrimination against minority groups. The biggest targets of law enforcers in the war against drugs are people belonging to the black community, which makes up about 13% of the American population.

Studies have shown that members of the black community in the United States of America account to 26% of arrests associated with marijuana (Van 133). This is not the case for people from the white community who often face arrests with lower risks, and under less complicated circumstances. This does not provide an equal ground for managing the illegal activities of marijuana. Thus, legalizing marijuana will help to reduce social injustice and give everyone an equal opportunity to contribute to the national economy.

The third reason is that legalizing marijuana would regulate its activities in the black market, reduce the exposure to young people, and lower the levels of crime in the country (Turnlund 35). According to economic experts, marijuana has more valuable on the black market. This provides a good ground for the development of crime, as more people will be seeking a bigger share of the market.

Its illegal status provides an opportunity for young people to make huge profits by avoiding being taxed, thus exposing them to various dangers. Legalizing marijuana will reduce its usage, which is the case with other legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol (Morgan 204). Legal drugs have less consumption rates among people because they have little economic benefits and are very costly. The low economic value and high prices are necessitated by huge financial obligations such as taxation by the government.

The fourth reason is that legalizing marijuana would boost the economy through increased federal taxation (Turnlund 41). The money generated through black markets in the United States of America ends up in criminal gangs and cartels that invest in the outside of the country. Marijuana has helped various people make money and eventually become rich.

However, the federal government has been missing on benefits from the drug’s huge economic value (Morgan 209). Drug trafficking is one of the top illegal business in the United States of America. If marijuana is legalized, it could contribute a lot to the country’s economy. If the federal government chooses to legalize this drug, it would reduce the cost managing the problem. Unfortunately, the federal government does not profit in any way from the multibillion businesses, because it cannot tax the income generated.

Most of the income generated goes into foreign economies (Turnlund 46). Therefore, legalizing marijuana would allow this money to remain within the American budget through investments, as well as taxation by the government. Since drug dealers make this illegal money, using the infrastructure built and developed by the federal government, it is important to reverse back some of that money into the economy through infrastructural development by the government.

The fifth reason is that marijuana does not have dangerous effects on the user like other drugs (Turnlund 60). Scientific studies on marijuana have established that the illegal substance is not toxic to human body, has little potential for overdose among its users, as well as less potential for addiction development. The reality on the use of marijuana in the United States of America is characterized by harsh treatment of people caught with violations relating to the drug.

Marijuana does not negatively influence the individual’s productivity. Some of the people opposed to legalization of marijuana argue that the number of people using it will increase, because the drug will be readily available to everyone (Morgan 213). However, this should not create confusion over the need to legalize the drug, because it is clear that the activities in the black market provide many incentives that will end when the drug becomes legally accepted.

The other reason is that cases dealing with marijuana are very costly. The justice system in America cannot afford to support the numerous cases on marijuana brought before it every day (Turnlund 67). Legalizing marijuana will reduce the financial burden on the federal government that is involved in treating the cases. Instead, the federal government can use that money to support numerous programs within the nation aimed at educating people on drug abuse (Morgan 216).

The war on drugs will go down if the federal government agrees to legalize this drug. In addition, the amount of money invested by the federal government in fighting the drug would be invested in more meaningful tasks that can boost the national economy (Turnlund 71). Legalizing marijuana in the United States would help in decongesting prisons and correctional facilities, therefore reducing the number of billions of dollars invested in the wellbeing of prisoners.

The federal government will create billions of dollars in revenue off this cash crop if it agrees to legalize it. The federal government can use this money to reorient the American economy towards a more positive direction. This is possible if only it appreciated the harmless and safe nature of marijuana (Caulkins 116). Legalizing marijuana will save all of the money wasted on finding marijuana busts, and the taxpayers’ money used on drug felons in jail for housing, food, attorney fees, court costs, health, and other expenses.

In addition, if the government imposes taxes on the sale of marijuana, the money will go to our economy and will help get this country in managing the impacts of the recent global financial crisis that hit the American economy very hard. The innate nature of marijuana is applicable in arguing for its legalization (Caulkins 119). In comparison to the processing of other drugs, which involves the addition of unhealthy chemicals to enhance their effects, marijuana is safe because it has no additives.

The perception of categorizing marijuana as a bad drug is long overdue, and the government should legalize it. Out of the most commonly used drugs in the world, marijuana is relatively harmless. Therefore, it is important for the federal government to reevaluate the issue of marijuana again and consider its legalization (Morgan 224).

If the government compares statistics on deaths caused by the use of drugs, it would be surprised to discover that marijuana smoking does not even appear on the list of drugs studied. In contrast, tobacco kills 340,000-395,000 people a year, and alcohol kills roughly up to 125,000 or more annually. Harder drugs, such as Heroine, Cocaine and Methamphetamines lead another 18,000- 32,000 people to death per year (Morgan 237).

However, there are examples of numerous irresponsible marijuana consumers who have harmed themselves or others while being under the influence. Unlike other drugs and substances occasionally abused by people, there are no known fatalities from the consumption of marijuana (Caulkins 128).

Marijuana is safe when used responsibly. These two reasons should convince the federal government on the need to legalize the use and selling of marijuana in the United States of America. Although marijuana can have negative results if person abuses it, plenty of worse things are progressing in the society, and the government is less concerned about their economic implications (Morgan 242).

One of the most important things to remember is that there are always dangers involved in being under the influence of any substance. However, it is important for the federal government to give a legal permit for trading and use of marijuana in the United States of America (Caulkins 131). As long as responsibility is raised among users, there is no harm in partaking cannabis.

Conclusion

Marijuana is one of the commonly used drugs in the United States of America that the federal government has unsuccessfully tried to eliminate. Studies have demonstrated that marijuana has health care, social, and economic benefits, which are lacking in some of the drugs currently legalized in the country.

Although cannabis sativa has long been considered as a criminal subject in the United States, there have been numerous attempts in the recent past to legalize the drug. Supporters of the legalization of marijuana have urged the federal government to use the states of Colorado and Washington, as reference points in the request to legalize marijuana.

The economies of these two states have benefited a lot from the legalization of this substance. The federal government should legalize marijuana because of its immense economic value, medical benefits, and its less harmful side effects compared to other legalized drugs such as alcohol. The perception of categorizing marijuana as a bad drug is long overdue, and the government should legalize it.

Works Cited

Caulkins, Jonathan. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York:

Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Earleywine, Mitch. Pot Politics: Marijuana and the Costs of Prohibition. California:

Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.

Gerber, Rudolph. Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics.

New York: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.

Morgan, Kayla. Legalizing Marijuana. New York: ABDO, 2010. Print.

Turnlund, Erica. Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana. New York: GRIN Verlag, 2011.Print.

Van, Christine. Marijuana. Detroit: Green Haven, 2007. Print.

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