.. similar to those governing driving under the influence of alcohol. In other words, driving while on marijuana should be outlawed by not the use of marijuana itself. Some people believe that marijuana threatens society in a more insidious way. They argue that it drains workers’ energy and makes them less productive.
This in turn lowers the vitality of the economy, depressing the overall quality of life. In addition, drug use- including marijuana smoking- is seen as a plague on society that must be isolated. This disease theory holds that legalizing marijuana would make it more widely available and that this would tend to increase its use as well as the use of all kinds of drugs. One of the detriments of tolerating drug use, according to this theory, is that is encourages the use of more and different drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuses 1984 report to Congress cited no evidence to support the idea that drug use is hurting economic productivity.
It said: “The fact is, very little is known about the complex relationship which undoubtedly exists between drug abuse, worker performance, and productivity, or the lack thereof… Simply put, the number of unanswered questions currently far outnumbers the available answers.” Nor is there any strong evidence that legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug. In fact, there is some evidence suggesting that drug use under a relaxed legal system might not increase at all. Many states have removed the penalties for marijuana possession that were on the books in the 1950s and 1960s. The change occurred during a reform movement that swept the nation in the mid 1970s.
Yet in spite of the less stringent laws, studies show that the use of marijuana in the affected states has, after an initial increase, declined. Although marijuana became easier to use (from a legal standpoint), it also became less popular. The Failure of Prohibition Examining the U.S. policy on marijuana on the basis of performance, one must judge it a miserable failure. The number of people who have smoked the drug at least once has grown from an uncounted few in the 1950s, when some of the strictest antimarijuana laws were imposed, to nearly 50 million today.
During this period the federal government has made steadily increasing efforts to stop its production and importation, and seizures of marijuana in the ports has grown steadily. Elaborate and costly international police campaigns have been launched, and the number of drug arrests in the United States has increased. The federal budget for drug enforcement reflected in several agencies has gone above $1 billion a year. And yet the illegal trade in marijuana continues. Supplies are so plentiful that the price has actually come down.
The response has been to redouble police efforts and hope that things will change. The result is that more money is spent on a failed policy, creating an ever-growing army of drug enforcers dedicated to keeping the policy alive. The illegal market for marijuana grows even faster than the police force, however, because the drug users are willing to pay more to get what they want than taxpayers are willing to pay to stop it. The drug police enjoy their work and are not going to quit. And why should they as long as their salaries are paid? The admission that the marijuana laws have failed will have to come from someone else- not from the police.
Marijuana is a common weed, easier to produce than the bathtub gin of the Prohibition years. It is not surprising that thousands of “dealers” have been drawn into the marijuana business. Despite the great risks they face, including bullying by other dealers and the threat of arrest, they are attracted by the profits. The law cannot change the economics of this market because it operates outside the law. All the police can do is to make it risky to get into the marijuana business. This is supposed to drive out the less courageous dealers, reduce the amount of marijuana available, and inflate prices. But even by this measure, the police effort has failed.
As mentioned earlier, the price of marijuana is declining. There are several ways in which the policy on marijuana imposed a burden on society. The obvious one is the cost of supporting the federal enforcement effort. Aside from this, there is a hard-to-measure but significant impact on society because the law creates a huge criminal class. It includes not just dealers who are out for profit but a much larger group of users. Consider three major penalties for having such a large criminal class.
Some Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana 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. If the medical advantages that are claimed for marijuana are real, many more patients would benefit. Research, which has been slowed in the past by the government’s reluctance to frant exemptions to the marijuana laws, would be easier to conduct.
The cloud of suspicion would disappear, and doctors could get on with investigating marijuana’s medical uses with out fear of controversy. 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. Lastly, the federal budget would benefit in two ways, Federal revenues would increase, because marijuana cigarettes would be taxed at the point of sale. The companies that make the cigarettes would also pay income taxes, adding to the federal coffers. Second, there would be a reduction in 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 than alcohol, would end. It would set more achievable goals for law enforcement, and this would lend strength and credibility to the government. — Alcohol vs.
Marijuana 1: Over 100 thousand deaths annually are directly linked to acute alcohol poisoning. 2: In 4,000 years of recorded history, no one has ever died from a pot overdose. 3: Alcohol causes Server physical and psychology dependence. 4: Alcohol is reported to cause temporary and permanent damage to all major organs of the body. 5: Cannabis is a much less violent provoking substance then alcohol.
* With over 60 million people using cannabis in the U.S. Today our laws and law makers should view it under the same light. As they do alcohol. Marijuana Status 1970: 11% of high school seniors said they were using marijuana every day. 1975: About 27% said they had used marijuana sometime in the previous month. 1978: The monthly users grew up to 37% then in 1986 dropped to 23%.
1979: 12 to 17 year olds reported using it within the last month has dropped from a high point of 17% and in 1987 dropped to 12%. — Bibliography 1. Adams, Leon; “Marijuana”. Encyclopedia International. Vol 11. p365-347.
LEXICON PUBLICATIONS. Philippines, 1979 2. Lorimer, Lawrence; “Marijuana” Encyclopedia Year Book 1993. p214-215. GROLIER INCORPORATED. Canada, 1993 3.
Snyder, Solomon. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs. Series 2. LEGALIZATION: A DEBATE. CHELSEA HOUSE PUBLISHERS.
New York, 1988.