Should Marijuana Be Legal?

Essay by SilentFear September 2006

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Like most Americans, people who smoke marijuana also pay taxes, love and support their families, and work hard to make a better life for their children. Suddenly they are arrested, jailed and treated like criminals solely because of their recreational drug of choice. State agencies often step in and declare children of marijuana smokers to be "in danger", and many children are placed into foster homes as a result. This causes enormous pain, suffering and financial hardship for millions of American families. It also creates distrust and disrespect for the law and for the criminal justice system overall. Responsible marijuana smokers are not the problem and it is time to stop arresting them.

Once all the facts are known, it becomes apparent that America's marijuana laws need reform. This issue must be openly debated using only the facts. Groundless claims, meaningless statistics, and exaggerated scare stories that have been peddled by politicians and prohibitionists for the last 60 years must be rejected.

The first and most basic reason that marijuana should be legal is that there is no good reason for it to be illegal. Many people ask "why should marijuana be legalized?" but we should ask "why should marijuana be illegal?" From a philosophical point of view, individuals deserve the right to make choices for themselves. The government only has a right to limit those choices if they endanger others or the individual. But this argument does not logically apply to marijuana because marijuana is far less dangerous than some legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco.

If marijuana was legal, it would save our government a lot of money. In the United States, all levels of the government (federal, state, & local authorities) participate in the "War on Drugs". We currently spend billions chasing peaceful people who...