Today,the use of marijuana in the United States has elicited mixedreactions from both opponents and proponents of the drug. Medicalpractitioners infer that the impacts of marijuana could be adverse tothe health and well-being beings of individuals[ CITATION Ste11 l 1033 ]. has been used as a medication in some instances to treat orlessen the impact of diseases such as cancer, AIDS/ HIV, arthritis,asthma, and chronic pain, among others[ CITATION Cam12 l 1033 ]. However, misuse of marijuana could lead to short-term, and long-termadverse health impacts such as personal injury impede thinking,depression, and anxiety. Thepaper centers on the history of marijuana, and various ways throughwhich the U.S. government would benefit, if it legalized marijuana.
Thehistory of marijuana in the United States
Thehistory of hemp (marijuana) in the U.S. goes back to 1611 when theEnglish settlers occupied Jamestown, in Virginia[ CITATION Lee12 l 1033 ].Later, marijuana became a popular commercial crop planted alongsidetobacco and used as a source of fiber. In the 1600s, the productionof marijuana was highly encouraged by the government as it provided asource of revenue for the state. In 1619, the Virginia Assemblyapproved a legislation demanding every farmer to grow hemp[ CITATION Cam12 l 1033 ].The government rooted for the plant because it was used as a legaltender in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia[ CITATION Lee12 l 1033 ].After the Civil War, hemp was used for other purposes such asmedication and sold publicly in pharmacies.
Inthe 1920s, after the Mexican Revolution, Mexican immigrantsintroduced marijuana in America as a recreational drug[ CITATION Cam12 l 1033 ].The fear of marijuana and its adverse social effects pushed thegovernment to ban it and regulations in the pharmacies were put inplace. Laterin 1996, California passed legislation allowing the use of marijuanaby patients who have cancer and other painful diseases. hasbeen legalized in various states such as Washington, Oregon, andColorado as a recreation drug while most states legalize it formedicinal purposes.
Benefitsof legalizing marijuana in the United States
Inthe ancient times, the government encouraged farmers to plant hemp asit provided income for the country. As the state government strugglewith high public expenditures and reduced revenues, some individualsbelieve that legalization of marijuana would boost government revenuethrough the application of taxes in the sale and distribution ofmarijuana[ CITATION Fai13 l 1033 ].An estimated annual tax of $45 billion slips away from the illegalmarijuana trade. Criminalization of marijuana and subsequent failureto control and regulate the sale of marijuana costs the governmentcolossal sums of money.
Efficiencyin criminal justice systems
Legalizationof marijuana insinuates reduced crime and fewer imprisonments. As aresult, officers commit their time to more pressing concerns such asviolent crimes, and murders. Efficiency in criminal and justicesystem is achieved when criminal and justice systems have plenty oftime to deal with other crimes[ CITATION Fai13 l 1033 ].
Governmentcost associated with illegal marijuana
Thegovernment puts in place a lot of resources in law enforcement inensuring drug traffickers and offenders are apprehended and arraignedin court[ CITATION Smi14 l 1033 ].Most of these costs would be significantly slashed if the governmentlegalized marijuana. Government spending on the criminal and justicesystems is expected to decline hence the money diverted in otheressential areas.
Governmentspending on prison is projected to fall with the legalization ofmarijuana. Numerous prison cases involve drug offenses and crimesrelated to the possession of marijuana. A significant number ofarrests related to marijuana entail Black Americans and Latino wholack adequate representation in court thus being sent to prison[ CITATION Smi14 l 1033 ].As a result, the amount of money the government spends ontraffickers, law enforcement, and dealers would have been used forother state expenditures.
Benefitsexperienced by states or countries where marijuana is legal
Adecline in incarceration as a result of drug-related issues has ledto a positive impact on the economy as the society has extra labor toparticipate in economic activities[ CITATION Smi14 l 1033 ].Legalization of marijuana has allowed drug traffickers and offendersto remain with their families hence contribute to the economicgrowth and development. On the other hand, criminalizing marijuanaopens doors for men and women, creating an economic drain andincreased poverty.
Thelegalization of marijuana has a ripple effect on the economy throughits correlated industries and sectors. For instance, legalization ofmarijuana has created employment opportunities to thousands offarmers, fertilizer firms have also increased their sales, andmanufacturers stand a better chance to benefit in the process[ CITATION Cam12 l 1033 ].Moreover, Illegal farming has stopped hence reducing its associatedproblems such as fertilizer pollution and soil degradation.
Despitecontroversies surrounding the issue, there are myriad reasons whymarijuana should be legalized. Legalization of marijuana as amedication and also for leisure has been evident is some parts of theUnited States. However, marijuana has adverse social and healthimpacts on users such as addiction, mental illness, brain damage, andincreased chances of heart disease. Therefore, the government oughtto take a deep thought on this sensitive issue before taking anylegal measures.
Campos, I. (2012). Home Grown: and the Origins of Mexico`s War on Drugs. Charlotte: Univ of North Carolina Press.
Fairchild, C. (2013). Legalizing Would Generate Billions In Additional Tax Revenue Annually. The Huffington Post, 1-4. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/20/legalizing-marijuana-tax-revenue_n_3102003.html
Lee, M. A. (2012). Smoke Signals: A Social History of – Medical, Recreational and Scientific. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Smith, S. (2014). How legalizing pot could save America`s economy. The Week Magazine, 1-3. Retrieved from http://theweek.com/articles/442380/how-legalizing-pot-could-save-americas-economy
Steve, E. (2011). The Little Black Book of . New York: Peter Pauper Press, Inc.