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Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech The debate on the issue of legalizing marijuana has been running for quite a long time, perhaps since the very 1930s, when marijuana was first criminalized in the USA. According to evidence, the reasons for outlawing the pot were far from being purely philanthropic, and the subsequent damage cased to social and economic life of the country overwhelms with its gravity [Caulkins, 2012, p.23]. Thus, with discussions on the point reaching far and wide and numerous researches on properties and actual influence of the drug being now available, our proposal inevitably appeals to the most powerful argument ever existing: Legalization of marijuana by the United States Government will not only solve many social and medical problems but bring valuable impetus to the US economy and provide wide opportunities for its development. The further discussion will attempt to provide substantial grounds for this seemingly controversial statement. As mentioned, marijuana was legally banned because of security reasons and race prejudice it was introduced and widely consumed by Mexican immigrants, and prohibition of the 1930s worked primarily against this social group. No ethics or health considerations came into play at that time [ibid]. Later medical researches provided different data on the damage commissioned by the drug to human health, thus no strong scientific grounds for prohibition were ever provided. Yet after criminalization took place, the outcome proved to be totally opposite - illegal networks of drug trafficking and sale developed with unbelievable speed and consumption increased. Moreover, not only immigrants continued their habit, but white respectable citizens and their offspring also took liking to this new means of relaxation. Its illegality only added to its attractiveness [Caulkins, 2012, p.32]. Now let us leave aside moral and medical considerations (which also strongly support the need for marijuana legalization) and look at the purely economic side of the matter. As George Soros openly admitted, the marijuana prohibition was a real blessing for just one

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

category of people the major criminal organizations in Mexico and elsewhere that earn billions of dollars annually from this illicit trade [Soros, 2010], but this ban served a deadly service to the penitentiary system and budgets of states. Prohibition and criminalization of marijuana automatically meant that persecution for its trafficking, sales and consumption would be of the same harshness as punishment accompanying use of heroine, for example. In its turn, it put additional expenses on law enforcement, prisons and courts which became overburdened with multiple cases linked to marijuana. Now the question arises: in current economical situation in the United States when many programs are being cut to preserve valuable funds, is it sound to waste limited criminal justice resources only to catch youngsters who occasionally buy a joint? [ibid]. Yearly in the USA about 750,000 arrests are conducted for pure possession of small portions of marijuana which makes more than 40% of all drug arrests. Thus the total sum of expenses held by the US will easily come up to billions of taxpayers dollars which can be spend with greater benefit beginning with proper and overall drug education for young generation [ibid]. As the petition letter of professors and educators from Colorado says, the funding a community currently spends on police procedure for those arrested for marijuana crimes may be better used to investigate really violent offences. The calculations on the state level show that amendment (or law) legalizing marijuana will help to save about $12 millions a year now spent on local and state police and prisons system. In five years following the legalisation it will save more than $36 million for needs of Colorado other then persecution of teens [Ferner, 2012]. In general, together with other local funding improvements, the innovation may help to accumulate more than $120 million per year and this calculation takes into consideration Colorado and its vicinity only. These are figures related to resources currently spend to investigate, arrest, and prosecute people for marijuana offences only in the state of Colorado [Ferner, 2012].

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

For comparison, in 2008, the prison system of Texas spent $46.1 million supervising marijuana-only related prisoners [Caulkins, 2012, p.102]. The price of dealing with marijuana crimes in California is calculated to be more than $146 million. California itself may serve as an example, because in 1996 the state was the first to accept legal use of marijuana for medical purposes. Consequently, tax revenue of medical marijuana trade amounted to $200 million [Stateman, 2009]. For California, as democratic state assemblyman Tom Ammiano claims, marijuana is the first point on the list of highly profitable commodities bringing yearly revenue of $14 billion in sales. Its scope and profitability overshadow the position of Californias second largest agricultural commodity dairy products bringing $7.3 billion per year (the statistics belongs to USDA) [ibid]. Introduction of the bill on state regulation of marijuana made tax collectors undertake some preliminary calculations, and their estimation promises about $1.3 billion a year of utterly needed money which could save some services and programs planned for funding cuts [ibid]. These calculations operate on the states level, but the process will inevitably trigger positive changes in the total economic situation of the USA. The precise calculations already indicate the huge potential of funds redistribution, and each state will find thousands of ways to spend the freed amount of money more rationally. However, money saving is only one economic aspect of brining marijuana out of shadow. Legalizing the plant and the substance may lead to the birth of a whole new industry. Growing, processing and selling marijuana is a huge branch of economy now kept illegal. Once legalized, it will provide thousands of people with working places and will help some even to start their own small business. Small dealers, who now live on state welfare and run their marijuana trade out of taxation and regulation, will be able to lead their activity on the legal ground. It may sound impossible, but now they are already well equipped for regulated entrepreneurship: they have gathered a client base, which is crucial for any sales business;

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

distribution part will need small investments due to the Internet trade option, and deliveries will be run by legal channels since it will not be regarded as trafficking. Actually, this new business opportunity will create necessary working places and add to the profit of already existing logistics and trade enterprises. Furthermore, as a new sales and purchase branch appears, it will increase the US Gross Domestic Product which depends on goods being created and sold. Currently, even while illegal, marijuana business makes significant difference in actual (unofficial) GDP of the USA. According to the UN report on drugs, in 2003 illegal drugs production and trade provided for 1% of the worlds GDP [Caulkins, 2012, p. 109]. It may sound as rather small amount, but when calculated in solid currency it will be higher than 88% of all countries GDPs in the world [ibid]. One may only wonder about the influx of billions of dollars the ailing economy of the USA may experience when marijuana is finally legalized. Not only profit holders, but also consumers will benefit from this legalization. Status of legal means new advantages and conveniences in accessibility and service. No more street pushers and threat of arrest, but hundreds of new cosy venues coffee shops where not only marijuana, but actually coffee, tee, tobacco and sweets may be sold. High number of venues means competition and lower price for the final consumer. Legal trade, let us remind once again, means sales tax. Less money, spent by consumers on a portion of marijuana, means more money spent in other branches of economy, invested, saved or in some other way involved in the economy circulation. Plus, availability takes away the charm of a forbidden fruit, and combined with proper drug education, potentially reduces marijuanas attractiveness among young minds [Greenwald, 2009, p.15]. Legalization of marijuana does not concern purely financial matters. Legal means accepted by the society, and sooner or later legalized marijuana trade will become equally respectable as, say, wood or steel trade. At this point one arrives at a rather sensible

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

consideration: those who nowadays exercise illegal drug turnover belong to the lower parts of the society and are doomed to stay there, stigmatized and given no chances to find some prospective occupation. They struggle for survival and are marked as criminals for doing so. For sure, it would sound absurd to offer to decriminalize every kind of forbidden substance only to support those miserables, but in this case marijuana is under discussion, and its harmful properties have never been clearly stated and proven. The conclusion for the abovementioned is: legalizing marijuana will account for the reduction of utter poverty among people, reduce the number of those living on welfare and help many to improve their social status [Caulkins, 2012, p.230]. Persevering respectful citizen running a legal business has more opportunities and may create better future for his or her children. Discussing financial benefits of marijuana on the country level, it is worth paying attention to its prospects on the financial markets. Famous tobacco and alcohol suppliers are weighty players on stock exchange. As experience shows, in times of general recession these companies show better performance in trade then other types of investments. Provided that a marijuana trading company is big enough to become a trader, it may see significant success and shelter investors in times of financial storms [Caulkins, 2012, p.235]. The latter reason may seem far fetched, but alcohol and tobacco are actually addiction-causing drugs of the same (if not greater) potential as marijuana. Still cigars and vine as commodities are well accepted while marijuana is widely regarded as dirty drug. Discussion of medical properties and alleged harm of marijuana, ethics of using it and ways of reduction of its consumption level would take another dozen of pages, yet current researches prove that presupposed negative effect of marijuana is virtually caused by a set of other conditions. Hence a joint in ones hands is rather consequence that cause. However, legalization of marijuana will significantly improve the financial situation in the US, provide

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech

for an impetus for the economy, and paradoxically, through poverty reduction will lead to reduction of this much-disputed substance consumption.

Marijuana Legalization Support Speech Works Cited Caulkins, J. P. (2012). Marijuana legalization: what everyone needs to know. New York: Oxford University Press. Ferner, M. (2012, August 28). Marijuana legalization: More than 100 college professors express support for Colorado's legal pot measure. Huffington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/marijuanalegalization-mo_n_1837494.html

Greenwald, G. (2009, April 2). Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies | Glenn Greenwald | Cato Institute: White Paper. The Cato Institute. Retrieved September 11, 2012, from http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/drug-decriminalization-portugallessons-creating-fair-successful-drug-policies Soros, G. (2010, October 26). Why I Support Legal Marijuana. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303467004575574450703567656.ht ml Stateman, A. (2009, March 13). Can marijuana help rescue California's economy?. Time, N/A. Retrieved September 6, 2012, from http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1884956,00.html