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A Critical Analysis of Marijuana Legalization

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Tristan Karvel

on 28 May 2015

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Transcript of A Critical Analysis of Marijuana Legalization

Readdressing Current Marijuana Policies

Providing a Critical Analysis of Marijuana Legalization
According to FBI statistics, a marijuana related drug arrest occurred at least every 42 seconds in 2012 ("Police"). Most of the arrested individuals had no prior criminal record and are only being prosecuted for possession. Furthermore, government funded studies have found no adverse biological effects of moderately consuming marijuana, yet people are spending 5-10 years in prison for possessing or consuming it.
What if we do nothing?
United States taxpayers will continue paying billions of dollars per year, and many people who abide all other laws are being punished for partaking in something that may alleviate their symptoms
Medicinal Legalization
Allows people who possess a medical marijuana card to purchase cannabis for medicinal use.
Legalization
Would remove all criminal penalties for the sale, consumption, cultivation, or possession of marijuana.
The Current Situation
Currently marijuana prohibition policy is different depending on the state you are in, but possession, sale, cultivation, or consumption is illegal on federal level. Most states follow the federal model on cannabis while 23 allow medicinal use of cannabis and 19 have decriminilzed it. Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of cannabis.
What I Hope Will Happen
I hope that the United States will approach up and coming prohibition registration with an economical, scientific, and historic lens and decide the best course of action based on their findings.
Decriminilzation
Makes possession or consumption of marijuana a non-arrestable offense, often accompanied with a fine and citation.
Conclusion
I think the best possible solution is to federally decriminalize possession and allow states to decide whether or not to proceed to full legalization or allow medicinal use of cannabis. This would decrease the amount of necessary drug enforcement and also allow states to decide what they think is the best option for themselves.

Expectations
A renewed understanding of the United States current policy on marijuana prohibition.
To have enough information to formulate an educated opinion about the issue for yourself.
Future Solutions
Three possible changes could be made to current marijuana prohibition policy. Cannabis could be;
legalized for medicinal use
decriminalized
legalized for recreational and medicinal use.
My Recommendation
I recommend that cannabis is federally decriminalized.
Reasoning
Would decrease the amount of taxpayer money necessary for drug enforcement
Would free up federal resources allocated to drug enforcement
Challenges
According to author Lynn Zimmer, the greatest challenge facing marijuana prohibition is that the policy is based off of evidence fabricated by Senator James Eastland (Zimmer).
The Problem
“The price of marijuana has dropped; its average potency has increased; it has become more readily available; and marijuana use rates have often increased during the decade of increasing arrests” (“The Consequences”)
What would be a success?
Success would be the creation of a policy regarding cannabis that is unified on state and federal levels and is based on irrefutable scientific evidence.
Economical
About $10 billion is spent each year on drug enforcement.
More than half of all drug arrests are for cannabis related crimes.

Scientific
Numerous health organizations around the world have endorsed the Shafer Commission's decision.
Many medical organizations including the World Health Organization where unable to find , “convincing evidence of biological harm, psychological impairment, or social dysfunction among people who used marijuana moderately” (Zimmer 6).
Historical
Past efforts to increase marijuana prohibition has backfired.
“The price of marijuana has dropped; its average potency has increased; it has become more readily available; and marijuana use rates have often increased during the decade of increasing arrests” (“The Consequences”).
Pro
As marijuana is becoming a bigger issue in the United States, many states are taking initiative and and amending their own prohibition laws. This allows the process to proceed at a slower rate and provides time for any issues that arise to be solved.
Con
Different states will adopt different policies that their legislatures determine are best. This increases friction between state and federal government as well as adding an unnecessary amount of confusion over the issue of legality in your state of residence.
Pro
Gives people who have a medical need for cannabis access to it. Would legally provide scientists subjects to study the effects of cannabis consumption. Government regulated dispensaries may tax the sale of cannabis for a profit.
Con
Individuals who consume cannabis recreationally would still support a black market that encourages crime. A black market may appear, and has appeared for forged medical marijuana licenses.
Pro
Dispensaries would reduce the support for a black market and reduce the amount of crime surrounding cannabis.
Taxing the sale of cannabis would provide local, state, and federal governments with funds.
Con
Increases supply of cannabis, providing a greater chance for adolescents to consume it.
Increase the frequency of DUI related accidents.
Pro
“There is no evidence that the decriminalization of marijuana by certain states or the deprioritization of marijuana enforcement in Seattle and other municipalities caused an increase in marijuana use or related problems” (“The Consequences”).
Con
Police will still have to enforce public intoxication and DUI laws, similar to alcohol. Criminal organizations can still profit from the cultivation and sale of cannabis.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures
Full transcript