The big debate in California is wether the state should legalize marijuana, and then tax it to bring in revenues to help California climb out of the mountain of a debt it got in. Although Marijuana is deemed as a gateway drug that can lead into harder drugs, legalizing Marijuana will help In the past twelve months, only two states have legalize marijuana for recreational use, and California was not one of them. They were Colorado, and Washington. As of right now California can only use marijuana for medical use. California right now is in huge debt of twenty-eight billion dollars.
Legalizing, then taxing marijuana would be a solution to help solve California’s debt issues immediately, while taxing Marijuana will make about 1. 3 billion a year according to Time Magazine. However, there are neigh sayers against legalizing marijuana. They think marijuana is a gateway drug and could lead to other “harder” drugs. Many people believe that by using marijuana will increase your risk of trying, and getting addicted to another drug. Another risk factor with legalizing marijuana is the abuse factor of marijuana.
While marijuana already is, “ the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States, and more teens are in treatment for marijuana addiction than for alcohol or any other drug,” according to an article in the Los Angeles Times posted. Another risk with legalizing marijuana and taxing it along with tobacco and alcohol is allowing another drug to be another problem in society. After tobacco and alcohol follows, domestic abuse, illness, and drinking and driving which all cost money to clean up, and fix.
An article in the Los Angeles time wrote that, “CASA estimates government spends $8. 95 to clean up the often tragic consequences of addiction, driving under the influence, domestic abuse or illness,”. CASA is the National center for on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. So even with the revenue marijuana might bring in, money will be spent cleaning the mess that comes along with these narcotics according to CASA. Despite these facts, there are good reasons why marijuana should be legalized. Legalizing marijuana will help boost California’s economy.
According to an article titled, “Can Marijuana Help Rescue California’s Economy” in Time magazine, “ [… ] California’s biggest cash crop, responsible for 14 billion a year in sales [… ]”. With all that money being taxed, that is about 1. 3 billion dollars a year in revenue which California needs to help pay off the massive debt it’s in. Marijuana being legal will also reduced crimes. Holding prisoners in prison cost a lot of money, and adding to the State’s debt. Arresting people for petty crimes such as holding marijuana is only adding people to the system at the tax payers expense.
Also, since marijuana would be taxed, and regulated there would be no reason for dealers since every one over the age could get marijuana and not just patients. California has already seen major improvement according to recent study by Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. Just from former Governor Schwarznegger signing a bill that reduces possessing small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor to infraction, crime rates significantly plunged the following year. Violent crimes dropped by 16 percent, homicide went down by 26 percent, and drug arrests went down by 50 percent.
With all these crimes going down, means less people in prison, which translates to less money tax payers pay to hold people in prison. California needs to take the next and final step and finally legalize marijuana. It might not be good for you health wise, but its not as bad as alcohol, tobacco, over eating and many other problems that society faces today. With it being legalize crimes drop down, and more importantly, California will be on track of erasing the massive amount of debt that it’s in.
Sankin, Aaron. “California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate
To Record Low: Study.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2013.
Stateman, Alison “Can Marijuana Help Rescue California’s Economy?” Time Magazine. Time.com 19 March . 2009
Miler, Skip. “Don’t Legalize Marijuana” Los Angeles Times. Articles.latimes.com. 28. January. 2010
Males, Mike. “California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low” Center On Juvenile And Crimnal Justice. http://www.cjcj.org