December 20th, 2013
The Legalization of Marijuana
For centuries, humans from all walks of life have used the natural plant cannabis (marijuana). Cannabis has been utilized throughout history as a medicinal herb, and its plant matter has been used for textiles and shelter. It has held a substantial role in religious rituals for many cultures and has ultimately been one of the most resourceful plants on the planet. However, in the last century, enforcement of cannabis prohibition laws has increased and today cannabis is grouped with heroin as a schedule one drug on the federal level. Despite the increased funding of the war on drugs, more specifically cannabis, production of cannabis and the amount of crime associated with it increase every year. With appropriate government regulation, the legalization of marijuana would save money on the war on drugs, offer many other economic benefits, reduce the gratuitous amount of crime revolving around one of America’s top cash crops and open up a new field of potential medicines containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana.
Every year the United States government spends billions of dollars to fund the war on drugs, which is conducted mainly by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). More specifically, the extremely well funded Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCESP) is the portion of the DEA that specifically deals with the enforcement of cannabis laws. In the last 25 years, the enforcement of cannabis prohibition has grown stricter. Despite this, marijuana production in the U.S. has increased ten-fold since 1982 (Crop Report 17). Along with this increased production and DEA enforcement, the cost of the war on marijuana has increased greatly in the last few decades. For example, in 2002 roughly 730,000 people were arrested for state marijuana charges meaning they did not get caught with enough to get charged...