Last year the United States spent over a billion dollars on marijuana enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency has proposed a four hundred percent increase in anti-pot spending over the next ten years. Despite this outrageous cost, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that as many as forty percent of Americans have used, or are currently using marijuana. Even more alarming is the fact that ninety percent of young people say that it is easy or fairly easy to buy illegal drugs. These statistics indicate that the prohibition of marijuana is an ineffective waste of taxpayers' money and should be revoked.
A common misconception is that if marijuana were legalized, the use of the drug would increase. It is true that after the prohibition of alcohol ended with the 21st amendment, alcohol consumption doubled. Therefore, critics argue that legalizing marijuana would increase its consumption. What critics say about alcohol, however, has not proved true with marijuana.
For example, the Netherlands decriminalized possession and allowed small scale sales of marijuana in 1976. Nevertheless, marijuana use in Holland dropped thirty-seven percent after it was legalized, and currently has half the number of users as the United States. Furthermore, from 1972 to 1978, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession; the population in these states is approximately one-third of the U.S. population. In addition,
thirty-three other states reduced the punishment for possession of marijuana to probation. The courts in those states guaranteed those who met their probation requirements a clean record in one year. After 1978 marijuana use steadily declined for over a decade.
Critics also contend that legalizing marijuana would make it more accessible to children. Today, however, marijuana is already sold on the black market where anyone of any age can purchase it. If it were legalized,