Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction
the majority of which result in marijuana charges and arrests(Elrod, 2009). In addition to finan-
cial conflicts, prohibition increases crime rate, ruins the lives of harmless people, and restricts
natural resources. As the executive director for NORML(National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws), Allen St. Pierre(1999) explained it:
The stated goal of criminal marijuana prohibition is to deter marijuana use and
promote public health. As the data shows, the current prohibition-oriented policy clearly
does neither. Rather, the enforcement of state and local marijuana laws unnecessarily
costs American taxpayers billions of dollars annually, disproportionately impacts the
of young people and African Americans, and encourages approximately one million
teenagers to become entrepreneurs in the criminal drug trade(p.1).
Debatably, the national legalization of marijuana would generate a wide range of of social, and
economic benefits, which would better our country as a whole.
An important, often overlooked factor of legalizing marijuana is the ability to reduce na-
tional deficit, while increase tax revenue. Our national deficit of over eleven-trillion dollars is
constantly being increased by around seven-billion dollars per year, to provide for prisoners de-
tained on marijuana charges(Gettman, 2005).In light of the current economic crisis facing the
government, it is essential they eradicate or reduce government funding for expendable opera-
tions. Although this action was taken to some extent, our state and federal governments
cumulatively have spent over forty-one billon dollars to combat the “War on Drugs” this year
(Elrod, 2009). The majority of these assets result in marijuana related arrests, marijuana alone
accounts for 45% of drug arrests, leaving only 30% for cocaine and heroin charges combined,
and less than 25% for various other dangerous drugs(Elrod, 2009). This costs the average taxpay-
er $1,620.37 per year, a large sum of money to fund such an expendable purpose(Dillon, 2009).