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Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction 1 Running Head: Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction 1 Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction Thomas Warnick Summit High School
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Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction 2 Abstract My research topic is the legalization of recreational marijuana, and its potential benefits to the American population. I have surveyed a number of questions, such as the effect of legalization on the economy, and the populations behavior. I have received information from such valid sources as Dr. Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana laws. The data I have collected supports my thesis that legalizing marijuana will have many beneficial results. In this paper, I will observe potential positive effects of legalization on the American population, as well as arguments as to the potential negative effects. The prohibition of marijuana is both unconstitutional, and a serious problem affecting our country as a whole. For example, drug prohibition costs the average taxpayer $1,620.37 a year,
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Marijuana Prohibition: Americas Obstruction 3 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 lives 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).
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