Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How To Improve The Economy: Legalize Pot

BABELED It is estimated that the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. would lead to a $7.7 billion drop in law enforcement costs and generate $6.2 billion in tax revenue. This is a net $13.9 billion improvement to U.S. government budgets, not to mention the fact that the dollars being spent on marijuana would be included in the consumer spending category of GDP, which would improve economic measures. What the study done by Harvard visiting professor Jeffrey Miron doesn’t take into account is the improved quality of life which arises from less militant policing of a substance that’s use is fairly widespread and has less negative effects on both individual health and society than alcohol. In 2006, there were 829,627 arrests for marijuana, which makes up 43.9% of total drug arrests in the U.S. Of the 829,627 arrested for marijuana-related charges, 738,916 were for possession alone. This is in direct contradiction to the alleged philosophy of the Drug Enforcement Agency, which states, "DEA targets criminals engaged in cultivation and trafficking. . . "

The side benefits are also quite substantial. The Cannabis plant can be used for a variety of commercial and industrial products. Paper, rope, soap, lotions, fuel and lubricants are all among these products. The crops grow well in the United States’ varied climates and are relatively easy to grow, making it an ideal cash crop. If the trend could be set by the United States, then other countries may follow suit. This could lead to a situation analogous to the one in the 18th and 19th centuries when America was exporting enormous quantities of tobacco. The trade deficit could be reduced by taking a progressive step forward, one executed with much forethought and wisdom, and enticing the world to join us on our revolutionary quest to change the prejudices of government against its society.

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