|Marijuana does not cause people to act violently. The reason violence is so often associated with pot is not because of the drug itself, but rather because of the drug trade in marijuana. The government’s current policy towards marijuana and all drugs “The War on Drugs” has made selling pot extremely profitable for the few cartels that are in the business. The reason this “zero tolerance” policy has made drugs profitable is because of a simple economic principle. When supply decreases, and demand remains the same, prices will rise. The government has been actively destroying crop fields in which marijuana is suspected to have been growing—however, punitive measures such as long prison sentences for drug offenders does not actually decrease the demand for the drug. If anything, its banned status gives it a certain “appeal” that actually makes it more attractive to people. With artificially low supply and high demand, the cartels profit dramatically, and with dealers competing for the “turf,” which is often the nation’s inner cities, to sell these highly valuable products, violence often erupts.
The government should legalize the harmless drug marijuana and tightly regulate it, as is currently done with cigarettes. This way, the violence associated with the product will dissipate, as happened with selling alcohol when government lifted prohibition.
Every year, more than 625,000 people are arrested for marijuana related offenses, costing American taxpayers more than $7 billion annually. Despite this, marijuana is still easily available. Through a focused system of taxation and regulation, we can take money out of the pockets of drug dealers and more effectively limit access to marijuana. The United States can improve its transportation infrastructure, help fund education, reduce the national debt, help support our soldiers, and a countless list of other things with $7 billion annually. Shouldn’t we focus our country’s resources on important priorities instead of prosecuting a wasteful war on marijuana?