Thesis Statement: It would be beneficial for the United States of America if non-medicinal marijuana were to be legalized, not decriminalized. The most important reason for legalizing marijuana is for the government to be able to gain control, regulate, and tax this so called ‘drug’. Being able to tax this cash crop would bring billions in revenue to our government, and having control would help keep it out of the hands of our children; until they are at a predetermined age.
Audience: The main audience of this policy argument would be American men and women, 30 years or older; and more specifically, those who oppose the legalization of marijuana. This age group is chosen, as younger people are more apt for legalization, and “older” people are more apt to take steps to change what they believe in, they are the ones in/coming into political positions.
Sources: so far…
http://www.justice.gov/dea/index.shtml - Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA.gov)
www.Lasvegassun.com – News article in regards to grow houses
Body of Paper Outline
1. Difference between Legalization and Decriminalization
a. Legalization – able to buy in establishment and perfectly legal (for certain age)
b. Decriminalized – reduced or no punishment for possession, but still ‘black market’ and drug dealers sell – not government regulated
a. Brief history of why prohibition started for both alcohol and weed
i. Prohibiting alcohol began the ‘gangster’ era and brought horrible terror and crime, similar happens with the ‘drug/marijuana war’
ii. Prohibition causes an artificially inflated value for whatever it is making illegal
1. Weed is more expensive than gold – show price difference.
2. Since its not regulated, dealers can charge whatever price they want: this kind of market ownership leads to murder over ‘turf’
b. What marijuana meant to America in the ‘early years’ – cash crop
c. Why did alcohol remain legal after, and marijuana was made illegal??
3. Legalization = Taxation
a. Important to point out the importance of legalizing and not decriminalizing weed
b. The biggest reason the country as a whole will benefit is from the tax dollars coming in
i. Look at countries where it is legal, and see what their yearly tax revenue is.
ii. Check the population of these countries and compare to America
1. From there work out a ratio of the tax dollars that as a country we could bring in
c. Spending less tax dollars on stopping dealers and illegal growers
i. If legalized, you will be punished if found growing illegally – just like moonshining
ii. How much money is spent in a year monitoring, stopping, and clearing out grow houses and marijuana dealers (preferably for the country, if not find 1-2 cities and focus on them)
iii. How much holding (in jail), etc is spent on these non-violent criminals
1. Can cost up to $10,000 (tax dollars) to ‘cleanout’ a grow house after they have been busted.
2. Las Vegas busted 112 houses in 2011, at say $7500 per house = $840,000 spent just on cleaning out grow operations
v. Grow houses
1. In BC studies have shown that 1 out of every 100 houses is a grow op.
a. 1 grown house can produce 400-500 lbs annually at $1400-2800/lb – so lets say 450 lbs at $2200 = $990,000
b. This is the revenue from one house, if the government could tax this think of how quick we would be out of debt.
d. Preemptive rebuttals
i. Gateway drug
1. As ‘the Union’ pointed out; the DEA states that the number of kids for marijuana use are up in rehabilitation centers across America
2. Kids are given the choice of Jail or Rehab, which would you take?
a. Once in the system, they are labeled an addict
3. The gateway drug theory is a slippery-slope
a. There is no chemical that makes people want more/different drugs after trying weed
b. People are given more opportunity to see/try other drugs, as their pot dealer may sell them too. If weed was regulated, people wouldn’t see the other drugs, as they would still be illegal
ii. We must keep it out of the reach of children
1. Actually, its easier for kids to get weed than beer and ciggs. Due to no regulation
a. The neighborhood dealer doesn’t care how old you are, your money is still green.
iii. BAD side-effects of weed
1. Marijuana will not kill you, there have been no reported deaths from someone who died strictly from smoking weed, only.
a. If we are worried about the death-toll, look at other ‘legal drugs’ and obesity
2. No proof that marijuana causes lung cancer
a. UCLA report
3. Marijuana is proven to be less addictive than caffine
iv. If Marijuana is legalized, how can we tell if people are ‘under the influence’ while driving, there is no breathalyzer for weed.
I do want to review and list at some point the same/similar views that the different agencies FOR and AGAINST say about marijuana….are there any areas in which they agree?