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Has the time come to legalize marijuana Marijuana has been known to man for quite some time now and has been used for centuries The Marijuana prohibition has been in effect since 1937 and continues today The real question is is it time that we as Americans reconsider this prohibition and look closer at the possible positive effects that marijuana can offer If the main goal of marijuana prohibition is to stop Americans from using it then it has failed just like the alcohol prohibition did in 1920 when it was enforced Studies clearly show that out of the three substances of alcohol tobacco and marijuana that marijuana is the least addictive Schlosser 1994 p41 This also doesnt mean that marijuana is harmless Research shows that marijuana damages short term memory distorts perceptions impairs judgment and complex motor skills alters heart rates and has the potential to trigger severe anxiety paranoia and lethargy Shalala 1995 p10 According to NORML The National Organization to Reform Marijuana laws marijuana is said to be the second largest cash crop in America and has a value of around 14 billion Revenues for Marijuana is said to have annual sale production as large as the Coca-Cola Companys Warner pg 32-33 The Marijuana trade is obviously very valuable and is often overlooked If we took the amount of marijuana purchased annually and taxed it it would be around 250 million dollars in tax money that the government isnt receiving due to the fact that marijuana is illegal Besides the fact that the government is losing out on a lump sum of tax money the government spends an incredible amount to keep marijuana illegal Some of the expenses are cost of active law enforcement cost of prosecution of accused offenders cost of incarceration of convicted offenders cost of publicly funded anti-drug education and propaganda hundreds of millions of dollars
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