Legalization of Marijuana

2735 Words Feb 12th, 2011 11 Pages
Mark Ramsbottom
Professor Holliday
ENGL 1550
30 October 2010
Up In a Puff Of Smoke: Legalism and Marijuana
People have been smoking marijuana for thousands of years while also using hemp for everything from fabric to make clothes and other items. Unfortunately, Harry J. Anslinger with a bit of power and enough determination decided pot was evil and addictive. The struggle continues to this day to overcome the lies about marijuana (“Marijuana (Weed) History and Facts”). There are many benefits to legalizing marijuana and the government should take advantage of it.
Marijuana is even more popular now then it was in the sixties or seventies. Someone knows someone who smokes it. It is almost as easy to get as a pack of cigarettes now,
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Marijuana legalization offers an important advantage and allows legal distribution and taxation of cannabis. In the absence of taxation, the free market price of legal marijuana would be extremely low, which would lead to five to ten cents per joint. The easiest way to hold the price at this level under legalization would be by an excise tax on commercial sales. An examination of the external costs imposed by cannabis users on the rest of society suggests that a "harmfulness tax" of $.50 -$1 per joint is appropriate. It can be estimated that excise taxes in this range would rise between $2.2 and $6.4 billion per year. Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year. Altogether, legalization would save the taxpayers around $8 - $16 billion (Gleringer Para 1). Legalization would allow greater regulation. Cigarettes come with warnings. Alcoholic beverages are clearly marked with the amount of alcohol. Currently legal drugs contain a listing of all active and inactive ingredients. Illegal drugs could be sold legally with ingredients lists, warnings and purity levels clearly marked.
On the other hand, legalization would save the considerable economic and social costs of the current criminal prohibition system. Current federal drug
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