Legalization of Marijuana Essay

2926 Words Nov 15th, 2013 12 Pages
Marijuana Legalization in the United States

Elisha Havraniak

Ottawa University

LAS 30012 Writing and Critical Thinking in the Liberal Arts

October 11, 2013

Marijuana Legalization in the United States Marijuana has had a long history as an illicit drug, but is quickly becoming a mainstream issue. Some people use marijuana to ease their pain and treat their illnesses. Many others use it because of it mood-altering effects. Laws have been passed to regulate both of these uses of the drug. Those who advocate legalization favor easing or overturning laws against the possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes, medical use, or both. In
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Its recreational use became widespread throughout the white upper middle class. In the 1970’s Richard Nixon and Congress instituted a “War on Drugs”. (Shectman, M., 2012). Marijuana, however, was categorized separately from other narcotics, which eliminated mandatory sentences for small amounts. In 1986, President Reagan signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which instituted mandatory sentences for drug-related crimes. Possession of 100 marijuana plants now carried the same penalty as possession of 100 grams of heroin. This act was later amended to include the, “three strikes, you’re out” policy, requiring life sentences for repeat drug offenders. In 1989, President Bush reinforced this policy by declaring a new “War on Drugs”. (“Marijuana Timeline”).
Effects on Justice System Cannabis or marijuana prohibition has a grossly negative effect on the economy. This impact continues to weigh heavily on the justice system. Not only does the prohibition require enforcement, processing and incarcerations which generates millions in costs to the government, it also causes millions of missed revenues because of its illegal status. In 2006, a study was performed by King and Mauer regarding the War on Drugs, focusing on the effects of the war on marijuana. Their study included some startling statistics and conclusions. “The results of this study suggest that law enforcement resources are not being effectively allocated to offenses which are most costly to society.
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