How is Marijuana not legal when alcohol and tobacco are? We’ve tried having a prohibition on alcohol before, and that definitely did not work out as well as planned. As you can see in the graph, murder rate before prohibition per 100,000 people was 5.6 persons. Later when prohibition was in full affect across the country, it raise to 10 persons per every 100,000. Prohibition had a huge impact on the crime rate of America. According to a study taken in 30 US cities, there was a 24 percent increase in crime rate between 1920 and 1921. The rate of arrests on account of drunkenness rose 41 percent, and arrests for drunken driving increased 81 percent. Thefts rose 9 percent, and assault and battery incidents rose 13 percent. Before Prohibition, there had only been 4000 federal convicts, and less than 3000 were housed in federal prisons. By 1932, the number of federal convicts had increased 561 percent and the federal prison population increased by 361 percent. Over 2/3 of all prisoners in 1930 were convicted on alcohol and drug charges. The one good thing that came from prohibition, a decrease in small crimes such as public swearing. Would you rather have more people on the streets yelling “SHIT” or having people killed for a certain substance? Should we really be doing the same with Marijuana? Making it legal would significantly cut down on crime rates, for there would be no need for a black market for the substance.
If we could simply go to the store and buy ourselves a marijuana cigarette pack just like regular cigarettes, think of how much the government could benefit on tax and regulation. This turbotax blog makes it pretty clear to see how much the government and states are benefitting off the sales of tobacco, showing each states taxes compared to the federal tax and how much consumption each state has. In 2009 alone, the federal excise on cigarettes grossed $8,512,263,000, and all the states combined grossed $15,753,355,199 in taxes. Just imagine if we had the same amount of revenue coming from Marijuana sales? Our country being in the huge debt that were in, should jump at this opportunity! Alcohol is the same way. $5.6 billion is made off state and local alcohol tax revenues each year. We are making so much money off these two dangerous substances, while we are leaving a potentially bigger cash crop out because people being misled about the substance. I’ve already talked about how alcohol and tobacco kill thousands every year, while there are no known deaths from Marijuana.
The thing with Marijuana is that yes we can probably make millions or billions off the tax revenues, but that would just be simply for the smoke-able products sold in liquor stores and what not. But cannabis and hemp have many more uses that could easily change some industries, such as the paper and lumber industries. We need to start realizing how much cannabis could change the world and stop hiding behind the reality. I want to contribute to our country getting out of the debt we are in and I believe if we are able to change people’s minds about Marijuana, we could make a big impact.