Should America legalize an illegal drug, as way out of the economical downfall we have found ourselves in? A popular article appeared in April of 2009 in Times magazine, catching millions of readers’ attention. The article was titled, “Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense” and was written by Joe Klein. Cannabis, America’s drug of choice for the past eighty-five years has been a plant otherwise known as marijuana or weed. Everyday millions of American dollars are circulated illegally through the drug market. The article shed light on a subject that was beginning to be more popular than America led it on to be. The article argued very truthful and valid points by stating that our government searches for an answer to our national debt and for a way out of an almost economical depression every day, when the answer lies directly in front of us.
Our country has legalized the distribution of marijuana in six states and it has dramatically affected their economy, therefore why not legalize it in all fifty. Legalizing the drug, done daily by over 60% of the population, and adding taxes against it would help America out immensely. Klein states as an example that if a 10% pot tax was put on marijuana, it would yield about $1.4 billion dollars in the most popular state for weed alone, which is California. The drug has been proven to have long term affects on the human body, but not when compared to other illegalized drugs circulating behind the government daily. The drug is being pushed to being legalized more everyday as doctors are using it for medical answers.
The legalization of the drug can be argued on many levels both good and bad, but in the end it weighs down to the realization that this could actually be a good thing and an answer for America’s economy.
The major focus that Klein has in this article is the money being taken out for the actual distribution of the drug, but the money spent trying to correct it. The prices coming from the actual sentencing side of the crimes caused by the drug is what is drawing an argument cause to legalize the drug. Another journalist named Webb, pointed out in a cover story in Parade magazine, the U.S. is, by far, the most “criminal” country in the world, with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners. America spends nearly $68 billion dollars per year on corrections, and a large percentage of those being corrected are from serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. The U.S. spends about $150 billion dollars on policing and courts, and 47.5% of drug arrests are related to marijuana. Klein argues that it is a lot of money that could be spent on school or returned to the public, since the majority of it is nonfederal.
Klein writes in the article, further explaining, that there are serious moral arguments that rise to the surface when it comes to legalizing pot. He claims that there are some people who have the mindset that smokers of marijuana also known as “pot-heads” cannot be taken seriously, which is a good argument. But he continues, in the article, to compare the drug’s unhealthy benefits to those of McDonald’s and alcohol. He writers to persuade readers by arguing health factors from the abuse of McDonald’s may be just as bad or worse than the abuse of marijuana, because of potential health care cost. He also validates his argument with the effects of alcohol, by claiming that it can be more dangerous in a variety of ways. He ends one of the articles closing paragraphs by asking if legalization could actually be put off as worse than the large actual cost of criminalization the drug has behind it.
The article caught the attention of pot smokers and non pot smokers, which was Klein’s main goal in writing the piece in one of America’s most popular magazines. The drug has been on a steady rise since the late 70’s and early 80’s in America and it is not showing any signs of letting up. The government and Americans need to realize the view that Klein and a major percentage of the U.S. has on the legalization arguments of the drug and that is to use it to our benefit because we cannot control the entire black market on the distribution of the drug. The article was written in 2009 but still serves the same valid point today if not more. Marijuana legalization is on the rise and our economy is at a steady fall and creating a tax on the drug of choice may be America’s best bet at bypassing an upcoming depression. Soon Americans will find themselves in a deeper situation than we are in currently and the question will not be, “why don’t we?” but “why didn’t we?”.