Legalizing Marijuana.

Essay by Whslax1990High School, 10th gradeB+, December 2005

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I myself am one of the many Americans who would rather my tax money go somewhere else than imprisoning marijuana offenders. Politicians must reconsider our country's priorities and look at combating violent crime instead of punishing marijuana smokers. Marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers at least $7.5 billion annually. This is an enormous waste of all-important federal dollars that should be used to improve our country.

Marijuana prohibition makes no exception for the medical use of marijuana. The tens of thousands of seriously ill Americans who use marijuana as a therapeutic agent to alleviate symptoms of cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, or multiple sclerosis risk arrest and jail to obtain and use their medication. I wish politicians could live a day in these peoples shoes.

Between 1978 and 1996, 34 states passed laws stating marijuana's therapeutic value. Most recently, voters in two states, Arizona and, California passed laws allowing for the medical use of marijuana under a physician's supervision.

But states are severely limited in their ability to implement their medical use laws because of the federal prohibition of marijuana.

As we all know America tried alcohol prohibition between 1919 and 1931, but discovered that the crime and violence associated with prohibition was more damaging than the effects of alcohol itself. Another example is tobacco. Being a high school student, I have heard plenty of lectures and seen far too many pictures of the disgusting effects of dip, chew, and smoking. It kept me away from it though. America fails to apply these lessons to marijuana policy.

By saying that all marijuana smoking is criminal, we are wasting police resources, clogging courts, filling costly and scarce prison space, and needlessly destroying the lives and careers of mostly good citizens. I would much rather my tax dollars go to build a new high school...