In a 1977 message to Congress, Jimmy Carter suggests the following: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed” (Message to Congress 1977). With many of our most prominent leaders opposing marijuana prohibition and some even admitting marijuana use, it is asinine that we still waste millions of tax dollars punishing scores of American citizens each year for mere possession of the outlawed plant. Due to the negative economical impact of prohibition and the potential for substantial tax revenue, marijuana should be legalized for recreational use for all US citizens over the age of 21.
Sullum of Reason Magazine reports that the number of individuals arrested on marijuana charges is increasing. In 2006, the arrests were counted at 830,000, up from 787,000 in 2005. He also states that this number has risen almost 150% since 1990 (10). The cost of these arrests, investigations and incarcerations is astronomical. Nadelmann in the 2004 edition of National Review points out that U.S. law enforcement against the sale and possession of marijuana has been estimated to cost between $10-15 billion dollars per year in direct costs alone (28). It is my contention that these resources could be better utilized in our communities and the nation as a whole. The simple reallocation of cash currently spent on prohibition would be a huge boon for our stressed economy.
In several states such as Colorado and Maine, lawmakers have sought to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession to be on par with violations such as a parking ticket or littering. For example, Katherine Gregg reports in a recent news blog that a bill introduced in Rhode Island would set the initial fine for possession of an ounce or less of the substance at $150 (Projo 7 to 7 News Blog). From the east coast to the west coast, an increasing number of lawmakers are beginning to view marijuana possession as an infraction that is not worth the expenditure of expensive law enforcement resources. In addition, they are coming to the realization that there are substantial fiscal benefits to be gleaned from such a shift in laws concerning a plant that has been enjoyed recreationally for centuries.
Eliminating the law enforcement costs of prohibition is just part of the potential economic benefits of legalization. Liberal legislators are starting to see the advantage of not only legalizing the plant, but instituting a tax on sales for recreational purposes. Mark Binelli of Rolling Stone Magazine asserts that the estimated tax revenue for the state of California alone is 1.4 billion dollars per year (67)! The funds from redistribution of money currently invested in marijuana prohibition, combined with the possible tax revenue would be a significant aid for dozens of states which struggle to fund important public programs.
It is time for the prohibition of marijuana for recreational use to be reevaluated by our government across the board. I encourage every individual citizen of this country to research the current drug laws, and decide if marijuana prohibition is a fair and wise use of our tax dollars. I can no longer be complacent about the fact that a portion of my hard earned money is being used by our law enforcement officials to investigate, incarcerate and in some cases, even assault my fellow humans for possession and recreational use of a plant. The time has come for us to tell our government officials that we want the funds uselessly squandered on prohibition to be redistributed amongst worthier causes in this dismal economic state. If you want to see this much needed step toward a financially independent, thriving nation, please join me in the fight against marijuana prohibition.
Today only you can join NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) for the low price of $4.20:
Binelli, Mark. “Marijuana America.” Rolling Stone 1 Apr. 2010: 67. Print.
Carter, Jimmy. “Jimmy Carter: Drug Abuse Message to the Congress.” The American Presidency Project, 2 Aug. 1977. Web. 20 Mar 2010.
Gregg, Katherine. “Bill to decriminalize marijuana unveiled in R.I. Senate.” Projo 7 to 7 News Blog. The Providence Journal Co., 7 Apr. 2010. Web. 12 Apr. 2010.
Nadelmann, Ethan A. “An end to marijuana prohibition: the drive to legalize picks up.” National Review 12 July 2004: 28. General OneFile. Web. 28 Mar. 2010.
Sullum, Jacob. “High risk.(Data)(statistics between marijuana use and arrests)(Brief article).” Reason Jan. 2008: 10. General OneFile. Web. 5 Apr. 2010.
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A musician who demonstrates passion for his art cannot help but make a positive impression on me. Mr. Rachlin handled the lovely violin with both grace and enthusiasm. He was expressive in movement, coaching the orchestra of violin, viola, cello and bass through each classical piece. He played Beethoven with poise, and attacked Piazolla with glad abandon. While my eyes strayed to the other members of the orchestra as the concert progressed, it was hard to not fixate on the talented director. As he tenderly coaxed the breathtaking sounds from the ancient violin, the joy he felt in his work could not have been more apparent.
I am not traditionally a lover of classical music, but I can certainly appreciate any art that evokes emotion. Tonight, from the moment bow first touched string, I was transported a happy realm where nothing exists but beautiful sound. When it comes to the world of music, I cannot ask for anything more than that.]]>
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