For years the debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana has gone back and forth. Each side bringing out more and more "studies" to defend their case. The truth is, both sides do make valid arguments. Then they make another one to discredit their opponent's valid arguments. This paper will attempt to sift through some of the fluff and bring to light some truth. The truth is, marijuana should be legalized. This is not to say, we should deregulate it completely, but lawmakers should decriminalize the possession and consumption of it by responsible adults. .
There are several advantages to legalizing marijuana. Besides the recreational values, it's been proven to have certain positive medicinal values. It can also create a whole new source or revenue in taxes to the federal and state governments. What's more, current funding for the persecution and prosecution of marijuana smuggling, growing, selling, and using could be used, perhaps more effectively, in other areas. .
Those who favor prohibition however claim several disadvantages. Most of these focus on mental and physical health issues that have yet to be proven convincingly. Others, make the claim that the legalization of marijuana would actually bring an increase in the use of other drugs, an increase in violent crime, and create a virtual nightmare for law enforcement. Most of these claims have very serious holes in them, as we will explore in some detail.
First, however, I feel it is important for us to take a quick glance at the origins of our current laws against marijuana and how they progressed to where we are today. Marijuana was first regulated at the federal level by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which required anyone producing, distributing, or using marijuana for medical purposes to register and pay a tax and which effectively prohibited non-medical use of the drug. Although the act did not make medical use of marijuana illegal, it did make it expensive and inconvenient.