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Economic Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana, Case Study Example

Pages: 8

Words: 2194

Case Study

The importance of marijuana, also known as cannabis sativa, in the management of some medical conditions has been established to be very beneficial, when combined with the attached social benefits of using the drug, legalizing marijuana poses a potential solution to the economic hardships that many states in the country are facing today. Although the medical benefits of use of marijuana have been established, its use has not been legalized in some states. Research has established that marijuana in some cases works better than conventional drugs in the management of some medical conditions. Of the potential benefits of legalizing the use of marijuana is its economic value. Today the sale of marijuana is done by ‘underground vendors’ who are not recognized by the government and have no economic value to the government as they do not pay taxes. Should the use of marijuana be legalized, certified vendors will have to be used and the government will benefit from the taxes paid by such vendors. It should be noted the sale and use of marijuana today in the society exists despite it being illegal drug.

As already mentioned there is sale and use of marijuana in the society today despite it being illegal drug. This means that the government is losing a lot of money through not legalizing the sale of marijuana (Earleywine, 2007). Given that the use of marijuana today still exists despite it being illegal drug, there will be no big impact in the use of marijuana in the society if the government legalizes and taxes the use of the drug. In fact it will only be a way that the government has diversified its ways of earning income. Also as mentioned earlier, the sale of marijuana today is done by ‘underground drug’ dealers. These individuals have no certification whatsoever of doing the business. The quality of drugs that is being sold to the drug user is not even regulated and therefore such vendors can take the advantage of the drug not having certification or regulation through the legalization to sale substandard drugs to the users which in some cases may jeopardize the health of the drug users (Chaloupka, 1999). By the government legalizing the use of the drug, mechanisms of regulating the standards of the drug will be established. In the current situation the government has no way of regulating the drug standard and therefore the quality of the drug in the market is not established. By legalizing the use of marijuana, it will be ensuring the safety of its citizens through availing a drug that meets the established standards and quality. Through regulation of the use of marijuana, the government will be establishing legal jobs through establishment of bureaus and departments that are responsible for regulating the use of the drug (Inciardi, 1999).

Even though the use of marijuana today has not been legalized, a lot of money is involved in its trade. There are a lot of individuals that are known to have become millionaires through involvement in trading of marijuana. This means that the drug has a lot of demand despite it being illegal drug. Should the government decide to legalize the use of the drug, it will be increasing the market for the drug and therefore a new force of clients will be involved in trading and use of the drug. With big demand for the product the government will increase its income through taxing the avenues that the drug is distributed. Just like the way that cigarettes are distributed in the market today, the government will gain economically from the taxes that are acquired through taxing the distribution of the drug without in anyway encouraging the use of the drug.

Being a crop product, it means that marijuana is farmed and made ready to the market. Today marijuana farming has not been legalized (Inciardi, 1999). Therefore those who farm marijuana do so in very private farms so as to conceal their crops and their identity. Also a big percentage of the marijuana that is in use in the U.S today does not come from U.S as it is imported. This means that the government is losing money to countries which have legalized the use of marijuana. Should the government legalize the use of marijuana in the United States, it will be giving green light for the farming of marijuana. With such legal status, a lot of individuals will be involved in the lucrative activity that has potential of employing a lot of individuals in the society. If given the legal status, marijuana farming will be one of the cash crops for farmers just like other cash crops for example tobacco growing. Due to its big demand, Marijuana farming will be a good avenue for increasing the income for individuals in the society.

Already there is indication of the potential benefits of marijuana in improving the economic condition of people. In September 10, 2009 ABC news ran a story of how farmers in the state of California are engaging in the farming of marijuana. Raids by police officers indicate that the apprehended marijuana in the states of California and Tennessee has doubled from what was apprehended by the end of last year. The head of marijuana eradication for the Office of Drug Control Policy’s Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Ed Shemelya interviewed by ABC news suggested that the bad economic times is the cause of the rise of the marijuana farming in the states. With such confirmation even from those involved in the campaign against the use of marijuana, it is not hard to realize the potential economic benefits that can be accrued with the legalizing the use of marijuana. If legalized, farmers will have legit source of income while the government will have created a lot of jobs to jobless individuals in the society.

It should also be noted that marijuana so far is the most expensive cash crop in the United States which is worth more that the value of wheat and corn combined. This explains the persistence of its growers engaging on the activity despite the regular government crackdowns on the production of marijuana. Another explanation that has been provided for the use of the drug has been on the increase of the use of the drug in the United States. An estimate on the value of the drug that is cultivated annually in the U.S. has been put at around 18 billion dollars (MacCoun & Reuter, 2001). Keeping in mind that such estimates come from the government, the true value for the marijuana that is cultivated in the United States is much more than what the estimates gives. This is because most of the marijuana traded in the U.S is not known to government officials. If marijuana grown under very restricted conditions in the U.S today can have such value, it therefore means that its contribution to the economy is much more if legalized. This explains the persistence of the farmers of the drug engaging on the farming of the drug as their economic activity despite it being very illegal in the U.S.

A further aspect of the farming of marijuana that can have potential economic benefits to the government when legalized is its concentration on legal plots or farming sites. Today, most of the farming of marijuana occurs in national parks and other public land as individuals try to hide their identity (Sharp, Register & Grimes, 2003).  The reason is that individuals can easily escape when they are sought by police officers when on public land because of the thick cover. Given the illegal status of marijuana in the U.S, a lot of raids are organized by police to flush out the farmers in such public property regularly. Because of the type of force used by the police when trying to arrest the farmers of marijuana, they often disturb tourism activities in the national parks. Most of the time there is use of heavy gunfire when police try to arrest the farmers of this product. This is because for now those involved in the farming of marijuana are criminals and are heavily armed. During police operations in such places heavy gunfire is often involved disrupting activities in game parks. With such disruption, the economy loses a lot of money that can be helpful in ensuring that the economy progresses. Because of the heavy gunfire that is involved in the flushing out of marijuana growing in National Parks, many tourist are now scared of visiting game parks for fear of meeting the armed farmers or coming into contact with such heavy gunfire between the police and the farmers (Sharp, Register & Grimes, 2003) . With the illegal status of the farming of Marijuana growing in the United States, the country loses a lot of income from tourism activities. Legalizing the use of marijuana will mean that ways that the farming will also be legalized and individuals will be able to undertake their farming activities in their private lands. This means that the government will be benefiting from the revenue collected from tourism activities in the game parks and also able to conserve the national parks together with the advantage of providing legit economic activity to individuals in the society.

Still on the way that police use to flush out illegal marijuana farmers in national parks today destroying of marijuana crop. In most cases police uproot the plants to ensure that the farmers do not sale the marijuana to the public. Uprooting is only suitable when the plants being removed are only in small quantity. However, marijuana farming in forests and national parks occurs in plantations. This means that the use of methods such uprooting to destroy the crop cannot be very efficient. In such cases alternative methods of destroying the plants have to be sought. More often than not, use of chemical spraying by helicopters is employed. Such methods have serious repercussions to the natural plants and the environment in general as the chemical is applied to the fields unselectively. With this natural plants can be destroyed with the marijuana. In order to avoid such problems, the government can easily regulate where marijuana growing is done through legalizing the use of marijuana in the country.

Another dimension that legalizing the farming of marijuana can be beneficial in the U.S is that the government will be able to control who engages in the farming of marijuana. Current indication show that most of those involved in the farming of marijuana in the national parks in U.S are foreigners with most of them coming from Mexico (MacCoun & Reuter, 2001). This means that the county loses a lot of money to other countries through their illegalizing the use of marijuana. When the government legalizes the use of marijuana then legal farming will be done by entrepreneurial U.S citizens (Sharp, Register & Grimes, 2003). When such is achieved means that customers of marijuana will be getting their products from the local vendors hence there will be no money lost by the government through exchange.

Today, it is hard to find complete news coverage without indication of police action on use of drugs with marijuana being indicated among the major drugs being targeted. This indicates the amount of money and effort that the police force and the entire law keeping departments use in the fight of marijuana use. Should the government legalize the use of marijuana, it will save a lot on the money that is budgeted for the fight of use of marijuana in the society today. Federal government budgets and state budgets will be greatly reduced should the government focus on legalizing the use of marijuana for clinical and other medical purpose. It is also indicated that the high illegal status of marijuana makes it to be very expensive. Legalizing it would be making the drug to be very affordable.

In conclusion, the use of use marijuana in the society is very high today despite the effort that the government applies to fight its use. Because of the high use, the demand of supply for the drug is very high. With its illegal status, the government loses a lot of money through various means for not legalizing the use of the drug. From the evidence provided above, legalizing the use of marijuana will always have benefits to the government economically. Through the various ways that the drug is made available to the end user, legalizing the use of marijuana has potential economic benefits to the government through taxing production, distributions channels and points of sale. It also provides jobs to individuals in the society.

References

ABC News  http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=8533739

Chaloupka, F.J. (1999). The economic analysis of substance use and abuse: an integration of  econometric and behavioral economic research. Chicago. University of Chicago Press.

Earleywine, M. (2007). Pot politics: marijuana and the costs of prohibition. New York. Oxford University Press US.

Gerber, R. J. (2004). Legalizing marijuana: drug policy reform and prohibition politics. New York. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Inciardi, J. A. (1999). The drug legalization debate. New York. SAGE.

MacCoun, R. J. &  Reuter, P.(2001). Drug war heresies: learning from other vices, times, and places. New York. Cambridge University Press.

Sharp, A.M ,  Register, C. A & Grimes, P. W. (2003). Economics of Social Issues. New York. McGraw Hill Professional.

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