With the decision in Colorado to legalize marijuana not only for medical use, but for recreational use as well and Washington State considering the same, the question arises: Is marijuana legalization right for America? My own view is that in the case of a medical necessity, possibly, if there are no other alternatives, but in the case of recreational use absolutely not. This paper will weigh the pros and cons on each side of this debate and show that although there may be some benefit to legalization, the negative repercussions far outweigh those benefits.
One of the premises that advocates for legalization try to make is that it would lessen crime on the streets. Their way of thinking on this is similar to the economic theory of supply and demand. If the supply of a good or service is increased then the demand goes down, resulting in a lower cost for the consumer. Their logic is to make marijuana readily available by legalizing it, which will result in both a price drop as well as a reduction in illegal activity in order to buy and sell the drug. However, according to the U.S. Department of Justice ("Speaking out against," 2010) "Lowering or eliminating the legal restrictions for drugs will result in increased availability, and greater use, with higher healthcare costs and increased criminal activity." In other words, the DOJ believes that removing restrictions will open the door to a whole new group of users, and as a result, healthcare related costs will rise due to the negative physical and mental repercussions of marijuana use. Criminal activity will also continue, as there will be easier access and a lower purchase price for dealers, which translates into greater profit potential from underage customers. On the other hand, according to Rhodan (2014), U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder disagrees when he says, "People cannot buy alcohol I guess now until you're age age 21, but young people find ways to get alcohol because adults can have access to it.