"The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) estimates that the government's war on pot smokers [alone] costs taxpayers $9.2 billion annually" (Feder, Murdock, "Symposium"). Possession of marijuana was made a crime within the United States in 1937 when Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. Besides this law the drug has been commonly used among US citizens. Washington DC, in recent years, has declared war on illegal drugs, vowing to end the illegal drug traffic within and across the US borders and to stop the consumption of these illegal drugs, of which marijuana is the largest contributor and most widely consumed. Despite the billions of dollars spent trying to stop the supply and demand of these drugs; these politicians continue to lose this war of theirs. The prohibition of marijuana increases the incidence of crime, has huge economic cost, and prevents medical patients from benefiting from the drug's therapeutic properties. Thus, the legalization of marijuana would have positive implications for the United States.
There are others who disagree. These people feel that legalization would lead to the formation of other habits and to health problems, such as, the use of harsher drugs and to psychological and personality problems that can come from using marijuana. These individuals feel that the negatives of marijuana use far outweigh the positives, and feel the use of marijuana should remain illegal. They consider marijuana to be a "gateway" drug. They claim that people start off with just smoking marijuana, but they soon get the urge to try something a little bit stronger. But as Richard Lowery points out in his essay for the National Review, just "because a cocaine addict used marijuana first doesn't mean he is on cocaine because he smoked marijuana" (Lowry, "Weed Whackers"). .
Marijuana succeeds as a medical treatment where other prescription drugs fail.