Paper discusses the positive aspect of legalizing marijuana. The essay covers fiscal reasons as well as health reasons.

Essay by lovelylady8College, UndergraduateA, April 2005

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Marijuana Legalization

"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."

These are the words of Jimmy Carter during an address to Congress on August

2, 1977. Our own president supported reformation of marijuana laws over twenty years ago, yet the issue of legalization still remains a hot topic. According to the U.S. department of Health and Human Services, more than 76 million American adults have admittedly tried marijuana. It confuses me that the majority of our country has tried this harmless drug and it is still illegal. I believe there is to much good that Marijuana can produce to keep this plant illegal.

Marijuana is derived from the dried leaves of a strain of hemp plant called cannabis sativa. Common nicknames of the drug include cannabis, weed, and grass.

Already legal for medicinal use in California and Arizona, many are trying to make marijuana available to all Americans of legal age. Due to Congress' great opposition, this issue has been difficult to resolve, despite the multitude of arguments supporting the legalization of marijuana.

Money plays an important role in supporting legalization. Possession of marijuana as a criminal offense costs the taxpayers billions of dollars. According to the Federation of American Scientists Drug Policy Analysis Bulletin, Americans are paying $1.2 billion per year to keep marijuana offenders in jail. This does not include the cost of arrest and prosecution. That can cost anywhere from $7.5 to $10 billion annually. With the U.S. Federal Deficit predicted to be at an all time high of $477 billion this year, the government can use every penny they can get. The $11 billion dedicated annually...