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Ria Barrios
Mr. Bradley
Government 2
26 October 2016

Federal Legalization of Marijuana


A local Northern Californian mans business is booming. He helped a girl with her
anorexia, a pained man with cancer, and a depressed insomniac. Over twenty two million dollars
is generated per year aiding people like this. Every day, he watches the door in paranoia, hoping
not to be arrested, but those hopes are crushed when the Federal Government bursts through his
door and locks him up with murderers and other criminals. Marijuana should be federally
legalized because it creates a more stable environment for marijuana businessmen and
consumers, reduces drug violence, and decreases jailhouse expenses.
Although marijuana is legal in half the countrys states, federally it is illegal, allowing for
any marijuana businessman to be arrested at any time even if they have been selling legally in
their state for years. In Jonathan P. Caulkins novel, Marijuana Legalization, he states that
sixteen states allow medical use and recent initiatives to legalize production. This number has
slowly grown, meaning the number of marijuana users and entrepreneurs is as well. This creates
confusion on whether marijuana distributors/users are criminals or not. According to
canorml.org, Larry Harvey, a 70-year-old medical marijuana patient with no criminal history,
three of his relatives and a family friend each face mandatory minimum sentences of at least 10
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years in prison after they were caught growing 68 pot plants. Harvey has legally been
consuming marijuana for years without history of crime. His decision to grow plants did not
negatively affect any citizen. This harmless act should not be classified as a crime. Instead of
prosecuting those for using and selling, the government should focus their efforts on the crime
caused by their laws.
Since distributing marijuana is a technical federal offense, businesses with large amounts
of revenue cannot deposit their earnings. Instead, they keep it in multiple accounts and safes.
According to merryjane.org, over a half-dozen robberies or attempted robberies have occurred
this month alone in places like Aurora, Colorado Springs, Denver, Los Angeles, Detroit, and
San Diego. All crimes involved breaking and entering secure safes holding earnings from
marijuana businesses. After a robber terrorizes a weed business in Colorado, Michael Elliot, the
executive director of th Marijuana Industry Group says that, everyone in the industry is having
nightmares. The federal government should do everything in their power to protect its citizens
businesses. It starts with repealing the law that causes it. Not only will repealing the law help
reduce drug criminals, but it will also give room to prosecute more deserving criminals.
The inflow of people pursecuted for marijuana crimes increases expenses for jailhouses
and does not leave room for those who have committed more serious crimes. 27.6% of all
inmates are marijuana criminals. BOP Director Charles Samuels Jr, recently testified in court that
the over crowdedness in jails is endangering the lives of inmates and correction officers. This
is a firsthand experience by a citizen who is pleading for help not only for himself, but for his
colleagues and employees. A recent JFA report also states that depenalizing minor marijuana
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possession offenses would not increase marijuana use and would enable law enforcement to
reallocate criminal justice resources toward addressing more serious crimes. This puts
jailhouses expenses to better use, giving room to house criminals that pose bigger threats to
society.
Although there are many benefits to legalizing marijuana, it is imperative that we do not
forget the reasoning behind its current legal status. In addition to its preconceived negative
connotation given to it during the 1900s when Mexican immigrants brought it to the U.S, people
fear the company it brings. Since it is illegal those who use marijuana medically have had to use
it in secret. The secrecy has invoked gang violence and fear. In Ed Rosenthals novel, Why
Marijuana Should Be Legalized, argues that most of the evidence against marijuana is distorted
and false. Its restriction has also made the demand grow. In the 1920s alcohol was prohibited,
however it became the decade of drinking and speakeasies. It is clear that the government
cannot control what citizens want to use and sell, but it can make it safer by monitoring it with
proper rules and regulations.
Legalizing marijuana would eliminate frustrating confusions between the states and
federal government, make it safer for those who may need or enjoy its effects, and create a more
efficient criminal justice system. It is one more step to making America the just place sought
after by not only foreigners but American citizens. Next time you see a person smoking weed or
a policeman apprehending a marijuana patient, think about how you would depend on the work
to legalize marijuana.

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Works Cited

By the 1930s, the Story Had Changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier Wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical
and Surgical Journal: Under the Influence of Hashish Those Fanatics Would Madly Rush at
Their Enemies, and Ruthlessly Massacre Every One within Their Gras. "Drug WarRant." Drug
WarRant. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Caulkins, Jonathan P., Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman. Marijuana
Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
"Federal Medical Marijuana Prisoners and Cases." California NORML. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct.
2016.
Https://www.facebook.com/CNBC. "Robbers Target Cash-based Pot Businesses." CNBC.
CNBC, 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Miles, Kathleen. "Just How Much The War On Drugs Impacts Our Overcrowded Prisons, In One
Chart." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
"NORML.org - Working to Reform Marijuana Laws." FEDERAL Laws & Penalties -. N.p., n.d.
Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
"State Marijuana Laws Map." State Marijuana Laws Map. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Wagster, Charles William. Common Sense: Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized. N.p.: n.p., n.d.
Print.
Walsh, Chris. "From Less Than $100K to Millions of Dollars, Annual Marijuana Dispensary
Revenues Run the Gamut - Marijuana Business Daily." Marijuana Business Daily. N.p., 11 Apr.
2013. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.

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Winston, John. "Are Weed Dispensary Robberies On The Rise?" MERRY JANE. N.p., 27 June
2016. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.