The debate over the legalization of marijuana has been intense of the last one decade in the United States. The opponents posit that just like bhang, marijuana is associated with certain criminal activities and addiction; therefore, should be entirely prohibited in the country. On the contrary, proponents of marijuana legalization argue that it is surprising that in a free a country where alcohol and tobacco remain highly regulated and more profitable, marijuana is starred in stigma yet it has the same benefits and disadvantages as the substances mentioned above. To make it more unique and better than tobacco, several researchers have revealed that it has medical importance; hence, its legalization will be beneficial to the country. The core argument of legalizing marijuana remains of its economic importance to the country (Paula et al. 199). Notably, legalizing marijuana on a central level would allow the economic profits for the United States, exactly at the period when the government economy requires a serious boost. It is only not just the feds that would benefit. However, it legalization would offer a top-down economic improvement in state coffers and local communities. In addition to providing funds, it would save the regional and state governments considerable sums of the amount which is currently wasted on law enforcement.
The viability of the economic importance and how it can steer economic growth has given this debate a new turn. According to Anderson and Daniel, the United States does not agree on many things but because of its economic importance and less or same effect as tobacco, they agree on the use of this weed (229). According to the study conducted by Sevigny on the perception of the economic benefits of marijuana, several states are done with prohibiting the weed, and very ready to legalize it or decriminalize it for medical and recreational uses (311). Evidently, this move has been backed by several publication and numerous individuals from the different political spectrum that include staidly conservative economist and other organizations such as National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. All these groups argue that there is one clear case of marijuana legalization which is boiling: its economic importance.
The first, obvious, and most important aspect in which legalization of marijuana will improve the U.S economy positively is through revenues. According to the study conducted by Anderson and Daniel, the average yearly trade of marijuana has been estimated at $113 billion, which represents about $45 billion in taxes that is slipping away from the government (230). Jeffrey Miron, Harvard Economist, asserts that legalizing marijuana will give the government the authority to collect and acquire this amount. Mainly, without the ability to monitor and regulate the trade of marijuana, the authorities responsible for taxes miss out on the state, municipal, and federal taxes. As individuals will rush to buy marijuana legally for the first time, their acquisitions will begin to fill the state treasury with an extra tax on revenue. This sum of money will fund individual programs including projects and initiatives such as those that were aimed to educate teenagers about the use of drugs that have lacked funding for a long period.
Legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes would also cut prison spending that has been utilizing a huge amount of taxpayer money. Notably, an estimated one in four individuals is in prison due to non-violent drug offenses which include sales, possession, and other offenses that are related to marijuana. According to Anderson and Daniel, marijuana-related prisoners make an imperative percentage of law enforcement actions that involve drugs (227). The amount spent on these individuals while in the prison could be channeled to other activities that will, in turn, generate income and improve the economy and entire life of citizens. On the same note, some individual in the prison has got an indirect benefit to the economy. Notably, letting individuals out of prison and allowing them to be together with their families, participate economically in their respective communities, and contribute to society improves not only their own economic opportunities and families but the community and the government as a whole.
Tourism which is a source of income that boosts the economy could also benefit from the legalization of marijuana. Mainly, United States needs to look only to Amsterdam for example. While the Dutch city is a current tourist terminus for a broad collection of reasons, one is the countrys slackened policy of marijuana, which permits guests to sample an assortment of products of marijuana in the cities cafes and coffeehouses. Moreover, while the highways of Berkeley and San Francisco already full with the scent of marijuana at some period of the year, complete legalization of the weed would support more and open utilization of the drug, with an uptick in rates of tourists to the areas eminent for their crops and the superiority of their products of marijuana like the Bay Area. This, in turn, would lead to more economic growth as tourism is one the sectors that drive the economy.
Additionally, processing, retail, packaging, and other related industries will also benefit from the legalization of marijuana as to do certification facilities and testing laboratories. In a country where a drug has been officially allowed but regulated, sample are routinely tested and certified according to the laws of the country. This requires drug scientists to look at the integrity and the quality of the supply of the drug. This has a double for the processed products of marijuana like marijuana food products and tinctures which would require being evaluated by FTC and FDA (Paula et al. 120). The former would be interested in clarity in labeling and advertising claims. In a nutshell, it means that such industries would create job opportunities in several high-skill sectors which in turn will upsurge the economy. On the same note, rail, trucking, and other transit companies shall benefit as the processed drug has to be moved from one place to another after the final product, even if it is just regionally. Notably, parent firms, manufacturers, and drivers would all be experiencing the extensive new economy of marijuana, and investing the actions into intensifying operations.
Moreover, the fight against marijuana has been very costly cutting the government funds that would have been used in another sector such as infrastructure. Therefore, removing the weed of out the black market and officially allowing it, the government will save on the extra tax gains. According to Sevigny, the war against the drug costs the United States a tremendous amount of money yearly (308). Although the war against marijuana is generalized with those of schedule I drugs (meth, cocaine, and heroine), its cases hold a significant percentage. Therefore, spending in this fight would decrease when it is legalized. Anderson and Daniel posit that instead of wasting about $1 trillion on the law enforcement initiatives annually to reconnoiter suspected, users, dealers, growers, and traffickers, the government could channel such funds on more pressing initiatives that will generate money to the states hence an improve the economy (223).
Legalization of marijuana would promote its production that in turn would lead to the reduction of its price. According to the research conducted by Pacula et al., Reduction of marijuana prices would mean that the users will remain with some amount to save or use to start other businesses that would create jobs and money (123). Price reduction assertion has been condemned by most individuals since marijuana is scarce and hot cake in the market. However, Anderson and Daniel in their study say that reduction price claim follows the business rule of supply and demand (225). In that regard, when the supply is higher than the demand, the prices will go down which leave the users with extra coins to use, which is very important for the economic growth.
Lastly, marijuana has been found to be medically fit to treat certain conditions that are associated with chronic diseases such as arthritis. Notably, apart from the economic importance, the proponents of marijuana legalization have been holding onto the fact that its medical importance gives it the advantage to be legalized. Particularly, marijuana reduces vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite caused by diseases such as AIDS. Moreover, in depression and other mood disorders, it has been medically shown that it prevents dysphoria naturally and gently. Therefore, if it is legalized, it will reduce the cost of purchasing other drugs to treat such conditions. According to Pacula et al., it will be of economic importance since it will save the medical health institutions that are currently buying medicines for such conditions very expensively (121).
In conclusion, the debate over the legalization of marijuana is soon vanishing due to the fact most states are likely to make it legal. The primary motive behind this move has been driven by the positive economic increase it has in the country. One of such importance is the growing revenue that tax institution can get from the sales of the weed. Secondly, legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes would also cut prison spending that has been utilizing a huge amount of taxpayer money. Third, tourism which is a source of income that boosts the economy could also benefit from the legalization of marijuana. Additionally, other sectors of the economy such as processing transit, and packaging industries could also benefit. On the same note, job opportunities would increase from the expansion of the aforementioned industries. Moreover, the funds used in enforcing laws and examining dealers would be used in other important initiatives that generate income. Further, legalization of marijuana would promote more of its production that in turn would lead to the reduction of its price which enables users to save money. Lastly, due to its medical importance, its legalization would reduce the cost of certain drugs since it can be used instead.Works Cited
Anderson, D. Mark, and Daniel I. Rees. "The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: How Likely Is the WorstCase Scenario?." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 33.1 (2014): 221-232.
Pacula, Rosalie Liccardo, et al. "Risks and prices: The role of user sanctions in marijuana markets." The BE journal of economic analysis & policy 10.1 (2010).
Sevigny, Eric L., Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, and Paul Heaton. "The effects of medical marijuana laws on potency." International Journal of Drug Policy 25.2 (2014): 308-319.
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