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Thesis- Marijuana Legalization

Thesis- Marijuana Legalization - I INTRODUCTION The most...

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I INTRODUCTION The most significant issue now challenging the criminal justice system is the need to reform antiquated state and federal drug laws. Specifically, those that criminalize possession and sale of marijuana. This issue is more prominent than others as these laws (1) overburden law enforcement and judicial resources, (2) overwhelm our penal system, and (3) fail to recognize the enormous economic benefits that will result with decriminalization. This issue is much like the conundrum Americans faced in the 1920s with the prohibition of alcohol use. Advocates of prohibition argued that alcohol misuse results in ill health effects and a variety of societal "evils" (DUIs, public drunkenness, underage use). However, the health effects on limited use were never established (with some studies suggesting benefits with moderate consumption of red wine or light beer), and the social evils of alcohol consumption could be better controlled with appropriate state or federal laws. The legislature balanced these purported negatives with an individual's right to consume alcohol and a state's right to control distribution. However, change came about because the economic benefits were enormous. Laws regulating alcohol consumption and
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