Decriminalization of marijuana is legalizing the use of marijuana by the governing authority within stipulated laws. Legalizing Marijuana has many advantages to a State or Nation as long as it is done in a controlled manner. When backed up with relevant campaigns spelling out the short-term and long-term effects on someone’s health, it leads to reduced negative impacts compared to the current situation where many States still criminalizing the use of non-medical marijuana.
Underground illegal sale and use of Marijuana is associated with drugs kings and organized gangs. The profits realized from illegal sales and marijuana trafficking are used in supporting organized crimes and street gangs. This has resulted in increased crime rate as gangs can easily get funding to carry out crimes. Legalizing and regulating cultivation, sale and use of marijuana will go a long way in reducing the financial gains that underground gangs earn from trafficking and sales of marijuana. This will help to put criminals out of business.
Those people who use marijuana come into contact with people who sell and use other illegal drugs in the backstreets and underground avenues as they try to hide from law enforcement officers. While it might seem that marijuana may make a person switch to use other hard drugs like heroin and cocaine, it is by criminalizing marijuana that may make a person switch to other drugs. By decriminalizing marijuana, users can comfortably take marijuana in safe secure place knowing that they won’t be arrested. This helps in reducing possible abuse of other drugs.
By decriminalizing Marijuana and allowing regulated cultivation and sale of marijuana, a lot of revenue will be generated from marijuana sale taxation. Today, such revenues end up in the pockets of individuals. If the governing authority could collect the money in form of tax, the revenues would be used in another avenue of economies like health and infrastructures development.
Currently, the United States government spend over $ 13 billion dollars in enforcing marijuana-related laws and court process. A further $ 17 billion is used in the correction facilities where marijuana-related offenders are locked up. By decriminalizing marijuana, the federal government will save a lot of money. This added to the money gained from taxation of marijuana just like tobacco and alcohol is taxed would save the federal government over 40 Billion annually. This money can greatly boost the United States’ economy.
Despite the fact that Marijuana cultivation, sale and use is illegal in most states, it is important to know that out of 52 states, 12 states cultivate marijuana as the main cash crop. In over 30 states, Marijuana cultivation is among the three main cash crops. The value of Marijuana production in United States currently stands at $36.4 billion. This value is more than the value of wheat combined with the value of corn produced annually. Faced with such facts, it is easy to note that the Federal government is in denial. It is the high time that legislation is put in place to decriminalize the cultivation, sale and usage of marijuana and leap all the benefits which are going in the wrong hands.
In California, Alaska, New York, North Carolina and Colorado where marijuana has been decriminalized, it is amazing that there is no evidence whatsoever that more people are into drug abuse or increase in crime as the opponents of decriminalization want everyone to believe. In these states, it is impossible to tell who takes marijuana or who doesn’t as there is no marked behavior change of those who take marijuana. As a result of decriminalization of marijuana in 2001, the State of California saved over $180 million in that year alone as a result of having fewer offenders related to drug usage in prison.
Opponents of decriminalization of Marijuana argue that marijuana destroys the health of a person and leads to family break-up than the case with those who take alcohol. While some elements of this notation might be true especially when marijuana is abused, such view when taken at face value can be very misleading and biased. It is a known fact that uncontrolled use of alcohol has more lethal effects to a person health, the family unit and the moral life of a person than controlled use of marijuana.
Decriminalization of Marijuana would free substantial amount of resources used by law enforcement in fight against marijuana. By so doing, law enforcement resources can be focused on fighting and preventing other serious crimes like terrorism and organized crimes leading to safer cities.
Decriminalization helps in decongestion of prisons. A huge number of offenders in States prison have been convicted on marijuana-related charges like usage, sale and cultivation of marijuana. By decriminalizing the cultivation, usage and sale of marijuana prison would be decongested leaving only those convicted of serious crimes.
Decriminalization of Marijuana comes at a price. It is important to come up with policy spelling out how the usage, sale and cultivation will be done within the law. Decriminalizing marijuana has to be backed up with necessary campaigns to sensitize the public on the risks associated with use of marijuana. The federal government must take full control of all the outlets dealing with sale of Marijuana. This way, it will be possible to ensure that only persons over the age of 18 or 21, depending with the policy, can have access to Marijuana.
Users must be compelled to take marijuana responsibly in a secure environment, and be able to lead a normal life in raising families, pursuing life careers and participating in civic duties. Guideline similar to those in place for alcohol should be established to set prudent boundaries for Marijuana use.
Decriminalizing marijuana will be a success to the United States in a bid to fight organized crime and underground drug lords as the federal government will take full control of cultivation, sale and usage. It will also earn the Government a lot of revenues in form of tax from sale of marijuana. Substantial amount of resources will be put in fighting other crimes by the law enforcement authority as they will no longer need to direct much attention in fighting marijuana usage. Decriminalizing marijuana will also play an important role in decongesting state prisons.