Decriminalization of Marijuana Term Paper

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Decriminalization of Marijuana

The recent war against drugs in United States is causing much debate and discussion. In many cases the apparent result is a defeat for United States. Marijuana is known to be probably the drug that is used in maximum numbers in United States. However the method of prohibition for Marijuana is intrusive, divisive and very expensive. As a result the country is finally left with a drug problem that is worse than any other country that is afflicted by similar problems. (Decriminalization of marijuana in the United States) There is an urgent need to decriminalize Marijuana by the Federal government. This would permit society to transfer resources from the investigation, prosecution, and punishment, of drug offenders and enable the usage of these resources for more productive needs. Further such a course of action would eliminate the overcrowding of the jails, decrease the profits gained by organized crime from illegal drug sales, decrease drug-related crime, permit research and development of medicinal values of marijuana and ultimately end in a standardized product which is less likely to contain undesirable side effects as a result of contaminants. (Policy Debate: Should marijuana be decriminalized?) The federal government ought to decriminalize Marijuana in this way: possession of one ounce or less should be penalized with a maximum of a $200 fine, possession of one ounce or more should be penalized with a minimum $500 fine and/or jail time. Also, the government should place a tax on marijuana sales to medical patients.


The usage of Marijuana is leading to increasing arrests though the usage rates have been stable. According to information received from National Institute on Drug Abuse there are 11 million Americans over the age of 12 who regularly use marijuana at least once a month. (Decriminalization of Marijuana) Comparatively, "there are more than 16,000 deaths among the Americans due to their usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, and this has not led to a call on banning items like Advil in the Congress." (The U.S. war on pot is a huge waste of money) Another very dangerous item is alcohol which is used widely and it is even used by people at least three or four times a week. This is very dangerous and poisonous and can even result in deaths due to only consumption in high quantities. Alcohol can be directly related to 50% of the cases of violent crime, and 67% of the cases of suicides and domestic abuse. It is also known that the use of alcohol is far more than Marijuana. As per the figures from the Department of Justice, the chances of children in America drinking alcohol are four times as much as smoking pot. (The U.S. war on pot is a huge waste of money)

At the same time, this is not an effort to reduce the implications of marijuana usage -- it remains a powerful and mind altering drug. It should not be used by young individuals, schizophrenics, pregnant women and those affected by heart disease. At the same time it is not toxic and has been used for 5,000 years without any known instance of deaths due to over dosage. (The U.S. war on pot is a huge waste of money) The current policy of the federal government regarding marijuana still reflects a crack down through the law enforcement officials against users of the drug who are non-violent. This puts a great and unnecessary burden on the criminal justice system and brings citizens who are otherwise law abiding to face the same system. (Marijuana Decriminalization: What does it mean in the United States?) As per the federal laws, the possession of marijuana anywhere in United States is illegal. "The possible penalties for even the first offense of having marijuana can range from probation to a life sentence without parole." (The U.S. war on pot is a huge waste of money) It is suggested that the legal status of marijuana be changed and Decriminalization of the item will reduce the burden on the criminal justice system while not affecting the demand for the product. (Marijuana Decriminalization: What does it mean in the United States?)

The National Commission on marijuana and Drug Abuse, which is otherwise known as 'Shaffer Commission' provided the first definition of 'decriminalization' in United States in 1972. Decriminalization was defined as the…

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