Each year 1,600 innocent people are needlessly killed each
year at the hands of drug criminals (Ostrowski 27). Enormous
amounts of money are spent each year in the fight against drugs.
Furthermore, there are actually sick people that need marijuana
to ease their suffering. These are a few of the reasons why I
believe that the legalization of marijuana would not only improve
society, but the economy as well.
Before writing this paper, I was under the impression that
all drugs and anything that has to do with them are bad.
However, as my research deepened, I found that there are more
positives than negatives that would arise from the legalization
First of all, the crime rate in the United States would
significantly reduce. The shoot-outs between drug dealers will
end. Miller and Benjamin state that the violence provided by
“turf wars” and by drug deals gone awry would fall to the level
that exists in legal industries – zero (174).
The places where most of those shoot-outs occur, the inner
city, would change the most after the legalization of marijuana.
A lot of the kids there idolize drug dealers. They see a person
with designer clothes, a black Mercedes, gold chains, and big
smile on their face. That drug dealer seems like the most
successful person in the neighborhood. It’s very easy to want to
follow in the footsteps of someone like this. Legalization would
greatly reduce the profits of drug dealers. Kids would emulate
the people they’re supposed to. These role models include
teachers, doctors, law enforcement, etc.
That is not the only aspect of life in the inner city that
would change. The gangs that flourished from the profits of
selling crack would become “small-time” gangs. These gangs would
have nothing better to do than protect their “turf”. Some of the
more popular gangs are “The Bloods” and “The Crips”.
Those kinds of gangs are not the only ones that would weaken
significantly as a result of the legalization of marijuana. The
biggest gang of all, The Mafia, would take a hard hit as well.
However, they would not disappear completely. Organized crime
would be able to survive in other criminal activities like loan-
sharking, gambling, prostitution, and child pornography.
Furthermore, Crock wouldn’t totally disappear with the
legalization of drugs. Benjamin and Miller also state that there
is strong, evidence that suggests that it would cease being the
drug of choice for many (175). They believe that just as the
years following the prohibition of alcohol, people will choose a
lower potency of their particular drug. The people that choose
to sell crack after legalization won’t make more money selling it
than selling cosmetics or used cars.
Another major effect of drug legalization would be that it
would “free up” law enforcement to catch other criminals.
Violent career criminals commit anywhere from 50 to 100 violent
crimes per year. These crimes include robbery, rape, and murder.
I believe that this is one of the most important benefits
resulting from legalization. Not only will it give law
enforcement less to worry about, but it will make everyday
society a better and safer place to live.
Moreover, the economy will benefit greatly from
legalization. Actually, the economic impact of legalization
would be tremendous. Ostrowski states that the estimated annual
black market drug sales are in the amount of 80 billion dollars
(28). Black market prices for drugs are inflated greatly. At
the very least, they are inflated 10 times over what the legal
price would most likely be. That is 70 billion dollars that the
government can tax. Those tax dollars can be used to improve
education, highways, public parks, etc.
Also, there are many government agencies and groups
dedicated exclusively to fighting the drug war. Courts, police,
prisons are all part of this fight against drugs in the United
States. The cost of running all these agencies is 10 billion
dollars a year. If you really think about it, each dollar that
is spent on drug enforcement yields seven dollars in economic
loss (Ostrowski 29). In other words, the government takes 10
billion dollars from taxpayers and uses it to raise 80 billion
dollars for drug dealers and organized crime. That figure is
staggering. Moreover, Ostrowski also states that poor users
victimize taxpayers by stealing 7.5 billion dollars from them
Also, you must take into account the amount of lost
productivity these people involved in the drug business are in.
These people are devoting their time and energy into a business
that is not legal. The available work force in the United States
would increase with the legalization of drugs. There are also
those people that spend their whole day “hustling” to pay for
The 10 billion dollars spent fighting drugs does not include
the amount of money spent on drug related illnesses. These would
be AIDS, hepatitis, and overdose (Bertram, preface XII). There
is also money being spent on private security to fight drug-
There is currently a bill in the state of California that
has yet to be passed. It’s not certain that it that it will ever
pass. The name of this bill is Proposition 215. This bill would
allow sick people to use and grow small amounts of marijuana. A
survey in taken in this state showed that 57% of people oppose
the legalization of marijuana (no author 2).
Although the general idea of this bill is to make the drug
available to those in great pain, it’s wording actually gives its
true intentions away. It reads “Growing and using marijuana
would be approved for a list of ailments, including chronic pain,
arthritis, migraine and any other illness for which marijuana
provides relief” (Leo 23). Proposition 215 also states that
“physicians cannot be sanctioned in any way for recommending
marijuana to any patient that seeks it. This would make
obtaining pot legally slightly higher than buying Advil (Leo 23).
Finally, I truly believe that the legalization of drugs in
the United States would not only improve society, but the economy
as well. It’s really sad to see the government use our tax
money to fight a losing war on drugs. What’s also sad are the
number of people devoting their time and energy into selling and
trafficking illegal drugs. Proposition 215 would be a good start
in the legalization of drugs. However, I believe that the
legalization of drugs in the United States will never happen in
all 50 states.