Legalization of Marijuana

Justis Nieves, Sports Page Editor

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Ever since 1937 marijuana has been illegal in the United States. But why? Before 1937 citizens could use marijuana as much as they pleased. So why the sudden change out of nowhere? The illegalization of cannabis was caused by false accusation and lies, yet Congress still passed a law to make the substance illegal. Today in the modern era, Congress must reconsider this ignorant decision they made 80 years ago.

In 1930 President Herbert Hoover appointed Harry J. Anslinger as the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger sought out to demonize cannabis and its use. Anslinger was helped by William Randolph Hearst ,a crooked journalist, who fabricated false stories against cannabis. Anslinger documented 200 violent crime stories “involving” cannabis, 198 of them were false stories. Anslinger stated that if citizens used marijuana it would make them go insane. He also said that cannabis would make women want to get pregnant by African Americans and illegal Mexicans. Finally in 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 to make cannabis illegal.

Fast forward to the year 2017. Today eight states have fully legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. So why can’t the other 42 states do the same? Every year alcohol kills thousands of Americans but yet is still legal in all states. Why is a substance that kills thousands still legal in our country but yet another substance that hasn’t killed anyone be illegal? Does that make any sense?

By making cannabis legal in all states it would only benefit our country. Thirty states have already legalized marijuana for its medical use and has helped cancer patients, treated those with multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and even asthma.

If marijuana was legal, the government could place a tax on it just like alcohol and tobacco. If this tax was put into place, the U.S. government could make nine billion dollars a year according to Harvard Professor of Economics, Jeffrey Miron. But that’s not all. Miron also estimated that if cannabis was legal, law enforcement agencies could save another 11 billion dollars from resources and incarcerations. The government has the potential to make millions of dollars just off this one substance.

With the money that’s both saved and profited, we could invest the 20 billion dollars into education, medical research, and building projects all across the nation. With this money we could help lower the U.S.’s tremendous debt. There are nothing but benefits on top of benefits for the United States if this little plant was made legal.

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