More than half the population of America supports the legalization of marijuana. Already twenty states have legalized marijuana, some for medical purposes while others like Colorado and Washington, for recreational purposes. Alaska may soon join this league as it is pushing for the legalization of pot and has already scheduled a vote on this matter on 19th August, 2014 during the primary elections.
Benefits of legalizing marijuana in America far outweigh the negatives. For instance, a report released by the FBI points out that thirty U.S citizens were arrested every minute by the police in 2012 for possession of pot. In the same period, over 750,000 U.S residents were arrested and jailed for marijuana related offences most of them young Americans. The human cost of arresting, arraigning and jailing these offenders each year will drastically go down should marijuana be legalized. It costs American taxpayers every year about $20,000 to maintain an offender in a minimum security federal facility. Therefore, these law enforcement resources that are wasted on tracking and arresting marijuana smokers can be channelled towards fighting real crimes that plague the American society. This will help the police to prioritize containing or solving violent crimes over petty drug offenders (Caulkin et al. 50).
Personal freedoms of Americans have previously been abused or denied by law enforcement officers in search of pot smokers. Available statistics indicate that almost 19 million Americans smoke pot and about 60% of American adult population has smoked pot in their lifetime. Legalizing marijuana will help in protecting personal freedoms and will encourage individuals to be more responsible (Caulkin et al. 4). It should also be noted that the U.S lacks a national policy on the use of marijuana. The drug is banned all over the country by federal laws thus its enforcement and punishment vary from state to state and also offenders, with African Americans and Latinos attracting harsher penalties than their white counterparts.