There’s lots of talk these days in America about balancing the budget, defaulting on debt and numerous other financial issues. What it basically boils down to is politicians can’t decide how to spend the money that we don’t have. That and China wants some money we owe them or they’re going to break our respective and collective kneecaps.
There is a solution.
The most politically driven argument is usually based on the benefits brought by putting a sin tax on it. Personally, I don’t see much hope in that. Taxing something that can easily be grown out of your own home is difficult. While most people won’t be so industrious when it comes to getting high, there are those that will. And growing your own pot plant is nowhere near as difficult as growing your own tobacco to smoke or brewing your own beer.
The real financial benefit of legalizing it is the money our government would SAVE. I’ve seen numerous figures based on marijuana specific costs of the “war on drugs” and not too many of them were less than nine figures. A couple of estimates ran into the trillions.
Another pro-legalization argument leans toward job creation. Surely, the American farming industry would enjoy a much deserved boost. New manufacturers would spring up left and right producing everything from ropes and t-shirts to environmentally friendly fuel alternatives. But wait. There would also be a number of jobs lost. The logging industry would take a substantial hit (one of the reasons it was banned in the first place), as hemp paper is better for the environment in that it spares trees and is more quickly renewable. What few remaining cotton farms there are in the US would probably fail entirely (another reason for the ban). And lets not forget the pharmaceutical industry, who’s sales in pain killers and anti-psychotics would fall sharply.
But, pharmaceutical companies would survive, most likely moving toward another erection related drug or herpes treatment. Cotton growers could be given government aid in switching over to the new favored cash crop. Loggers would still need to cut for wood in general as people need homes.
Basically it would be an opportunity for America to actually make something again. Something other than just money. Especially since that isn’t working out too well for us right now.
Let’s also not forget what great returns the snack and fast food industries would receive. Lost your job at Pfizer? Apply at Frito-Lay. There are people who say munchies are a myth, but let’s face it – those people are weird.
Back to the money saving front, I’ve recently learned that the United States actually funds the Mexican army. The same Mexican army that fights drug cartels on a regular basis. Wouldn’t we be able to cut funding if they had less of a reason to fight them? More money saved. Violence also sees a substantial drop in both the US and Mexico. Cops in this country might be in a better mood if they didn’t have to chase someone every other week because they’re running away like madmen from a simple possession charge.
Legalization also limits the sale of the drug to minors. At the very least it makes it more traceable. The scores of people who have had their lives needlessly ruined by drug related charges may find new hope, if not freedom and exoneration. And hooray for the now-bored justice department, they get to prosecute a “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” case!
There are also some other potential benefits to it. There’s the possibility of slowing population growth. THC is heavily rumored to lower the sperm count in adult males. There’s also the mellowing properties of the drug, which could potentially reduce violent crime in the nation.
There would most likely be a temporary, but noticeable upsurge in stupidity. DUIs would most likely skyrocket for a while. Idiocy related deaths would probably increase (but would also probably increase in humor as well). Television in general might get really bad for a bit (Or really awesome – hard to say on that one). But I’m fairly certain it would level out and we’d be our regular dumb-old American selves after a while.
Overall, I’d say the good outweighs the bad on this one.