The Economic Benefits of a Legal, Regulated Marijuana Industry
The illegal import of drugs into the United States is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, all of the profit going to criminals, killers, and dangerous organizations. If marijuana were legalized and regulated, the marijuana black market would be entirely eliminated and the immense expenditure on both the war on drugs and the sale of drugs could be turned to far more practical applications.
In an ideal world, marijuana would be taxed and regulated much like alcohol and tobacco are today. It would be produced in many forms including pre-rolled cigarettes and food products which could be consumed responsibly by citizens within the law. Legalize.org does not support the sale (legal or illegal) of marijuana to minors, as the effects of all drugs are particularly harmful to developing bodies. Marijuana should be restricted by existing local and federal zoning laws, sold at specific locations at specific times and only to responsible adults.
The legalization and mass distribution of marijuana products would also alleviate some of its glamour and allure, and the regulation of its sale would actually make it more difficult for minors to acquire it.
The sale legal sale of marijuana would be a significant financial boon both to private citizens who choose to enter the industry and the United States government who can, and should, tax the use of the drug heavily. The taxes generated by legal marijuana sale would be more than enough to fully fund a thorough and expansive drug treatment program, helping those who wish to quit (marijuana and other illegal drugs) and rendering aid to those who need it. The money saved on police budgeting from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“war on drugsÃ¢â‚¬Â could also be more wisely spent, allowing police to focus on gangs, violence, organized crime, and the prosecution of dangerous, violent criminals.
The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is viewed as an overly-progressive, lazy, sin-drenched city by the opposition, however nothing could be further from the truth. The standard of living is very high, legitimate business including coffee shops where marijuana is sold and consumed account for a strong economy, and the crime and murder rate is one of the lowest in the world. In short, marijuana has been legal and regulated there for many years and the walls have not burned down.
The regulation of marijuana also allows for many health benefits to those who use it. Today, marijuana is illegal, so there is no regulation of what the drug contains. Unwary buyers of the drug often get more than they bargain for when marijuana is laced with other drugs and other harmful additives. If it were legalized, not only would this harmful practice never occur, but the products themselves could be heavily regulated for health concerns including filtering, and specialized growing and manufacturing. Packages of the legal product would be emblazoned with warnings from the surgeon general describing the health risks involved.
Additionally, laws would be passed forbidding the use of marijuana when operating a vehicle or piece of heavy machinery, preventing accidental deaths that are associated with marijuana use. Here marijuana is again comparable to alcohol which causes thousands of accidental injuries and deaths per year.
Through federal regulation, marijuana use can be made safe and profitable for all involved parties. It would benefit the economy by adding revenue and tax money, it would benefit those who need medical relief by providing it in a safe and regulated way, and it would benefit society by allowing police to concentrate on violent criminals. The only real losers are those who stand to profit from the illegal sale of marijuana and the transportation of the drug into the U.S.