Pubdate: Tue, 25 Sep 2007
Source: Collegian, The (U of Tulsa, OK Edu)
Copyright: 2007 The Collegian
Author: Rachael Baldwin, Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Marijuana)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


The legalization of marijuana would greatly impact the  U.S. economy.
According to the Drug Enforcement  Administration, DEA, website,
marijuana is "America's  most valuable crop."

Marijuana crops in the United States are worth about  35.8 billion
dollars per year, which is 12.5 billion  more dollars per year than
corn, the second most  profitable crop. If taxed like alcohol and
tobacco,  marijuana could bring in even more money.

Marijuana sales could generate an estimated 6.2 billion  dollars per
year in taxes, according to Harvard  professor Jeffrey Miron.

Legalization of marijuana could also save law  enforcement agencies an
astronomical amount of money.  Miron estimates that marijuana
legalization could save  the United States as much as 7.7 billion
dollars in law  enforcement costs per year.

Marijuana legalization would be great for our economy,  but isn't
marijuana a dangerous drug that could lead  users down the hopeless
road of addiction?

First of all, marijuana is not physically addictive.  Unlike heroin,
alcohol and even tobacco and caffeine,  discontinuing the use of
marijuana does not produce  physical withdrawal symptoms, thus one
cannot be  detoxed from THC, the chemical in marijuana responsible
for producing the "high" in the smoker.

Secondly, marijuana, if used responsibly, is safe.  According to, there are an estimated  435,000 deaths per year in
the United States due to  tobacco use and 85,000 deaths due to alcohol.

So, how many people die every year from using  marijuana? Zero. That's
right, the use of marijuana  alone has not been shown to cause any

Marijuana is demonized and reputed to be a "gateway  drug" that leads
to the use of harder drugs like  heroin. Many people who sell
marijuana also sell other  illegal drugs.

If one could purchase marijuana legally, then one would  not be
exposed to or offered other drugs when  purchasing pot, which could
reduce the risk of  experimenting with hard drugs. Legalizing
marijuana  could actually help decrease the use of dangerous drugs  by
reducing exposure to them.

People are always going to use illegal drugs, but many  more people
use marijuana than heroin, cocaine, LSD or  ecstasy.

Marijuana use is prevalent in the United States.  According to the
National Organization for the Reform  of Marijuana Laws, marijuana is
one of the three most  popular drugs used in America, along with
alcohol and  tobacco.

It is estimated that 20 million Americans have used  marijuana in the
past year. If this many people use  marijuana, why have the laws
against marijuana remained  the same?

Times are changing. More and more people are realizing  the need for
marijuana law reform and  decriminalization.

While recent 2006 marijuana initiatives were defeated,  support for
them is growing. In Colorado a law to  legalize marijuana was defeated
60 percent to 40  percent.

In Nevada a law that not only legalized marijuana, but  also set up a
taxation plan, was only defeated 56  percent to 44 percent.

Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are  going to happen.
It will be beneficial to the economy  and those who enjoy smoking,
drinking, eating or  vaporizing marijuana.

The legalization of marijuana will mean a push for  progress, not
social degeneration. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake