In a nine-year span from 2001 to 2010, 8.2 million Americans were arrested and incarcerated for marijuana possesion with 90% of those arrests being based on possession(Wegman). This is a ludicrous amount of citizens in tax-funded federal prisons for a drug that, if legalized, would create an abundance of positive impacts within the United States. Marijuana should be legalized because it would benefit the economy, help people with physical and emotional pain, and allow law enforcement to focus more heavily on violent crime.
If regulated like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana would create a tremendous amount of new wealth. Dispensaries and small businesses based on the distribution of the drug would open up, along with already established stores beginning to carry it. Based on a 2015 survey, it is known that 11% of Americans currently use marijuana(Gallup). This ends up being roughly 35 million Americans that would become avid consumers in the marijuana market. Additionally, there would potentially be another group of citizens who had not previously used marijuana that now would post-legalization. A new massive and prosperous market would take shape in the United States, and that would expand capitalist ventures and fund federal projects through taxation. The economic benefits of marijuana can be seen in Colorado, where it was recently legalized. In 2014, Colorado was ranked as one of the fastest growing economies in the United States, and the unemployment rate has fallen well below the national average(Way). In 2015 alone, Colorado managed to bring in an astonishing 125 million dollars from marijuana taxation that was then used to provide financial aid to state funded projects across the state(Chusid). Marijuana should be legalized because its regulation would act as an economic tool that would bring billions of new revenue into the United States and provide all around financial relief.