Billions of dollars are spent at the state, local, and federal level to fight the use of marijuana. Millions are arrested for marijuana offenses and sentenced for extended periods. Marijuana has negative effects on the human health and high potential for addiction. Legalizing marijuana will eliminate the black market, which is responsible for the increase in violence, crime, and corruption. Resources used for mass incarceration in the war on drug can be redirected to rehabilitation to decrease drug abuse and addiction.
One of the primary focuses of America's War on Drugs is the controversial drug Marijuana. Marijuana remains the most widely used illegal drug and stirs up constant debate everywhere. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime from the World Drug Report 2004 an estimation of about 4 percent of the world’s adult population (162 million) consume marijuana annually (156). For thousands of years human beings have attempted to find ways to get passed the struggles of everyday life. With the pain of the world stopping people from enjoying simple pleasures, sometimes there is a need for help.
Not all users are addicts, but some of the 26 million regular users of illegal drugs in the United States are addicted. Reports of child abuse to New York social services tripled between 1986 and 1988 and most of the cases involved drug abuse. Approximately 35 percent of the inmates of state prison were under the influence of illegal drugs at the time they committed the crimes for which they are incarcerated. In some parts of the country, that percentage is as high as 75 to 80! Another fact that hits people hard is that out-right deaths from illegal drugs have quadrupled in the last ten years!
Due to this substance being illegal federally, more than half of the drug arrests are from small amounts of marijuana. During the years 2001 to 2010, over 7 million people were arrested for having marijuana in their possession and in the year of 2010, statistically, police made one pot bust every 30 seconds. States are wasting over 3 billion dollars of money on marijuana laws yearly, that’s money our communities can use towards more important things. Many children’s mothers and fathers are imprisoned and convicted for petty marijuana crimes, and it’s not every race’s children, it’s majority of the minority population the prisons incarcerate. A drug bust can mean losing a job, public benefits, or separation from family and responsibilities.
The way that individuals who are eager to violate the law, has unavoidably made it connected with a "pothead" society. These are simply the preconceived thoughts we've been raised in however, a world where as opposed to drinking beer and smoking tobacco. The legalization of marijuana is an issue that affects more than just young males, but the black community as a whole: [“So African-Americans are three and a half times more likely to be arrested for the possession of marijuana while they report on average about the same amount, they self-report using the drug about the same amount that whites do. So there's a huge amount of discrepancy between the kind of fantasy work that David Brooks is painting of, you know, young white teenagers who are using marijuana recreationally, and how it becomes truly a gateway into necessarily just harder drugs but a gateway into the judicial system for African-American and Hispanic men (What Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Could Mean For Minorities. n.p.
This would also create leeway in the criminal justice system, allowing prosecutors and judges to focus on violent crimes while freeing space in crowded prisons. Enforcing law for possession of marijuana can cost millions every year. It could take law enforcement many hours to arrest and book a suspect and then they will have to stay in jail for a night or more, and then have to appear in court. The people who get arrested for possession also suffer because the arrest will stay on their record, which could prevent them from finding jobs, getting loans on houses, and other benefits. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use will put a dent in drug trading.
Not only does the war cost billions to enforce, but countless lives are lost as the cartels become more violent in their pursuit of power. Aside from the violence and costly attempts of control that accompany drug trade, there are severe social implications of the U.S war on drugs. One of the major social topics today is that of Marijuana use and punishment in America. Since 1937, over 26 million Americans have been arrested for Marijuana use.  The effects and harms are still debated today, yet many people serve time in jails and prisons, waiting to be released with criminal record that will follow them for the rest of their life.
The remnants of the war on drugs can still be seen now in recent years numbers as well. Blacks are more likely be arrested than whites by 3.71 times. The total number of arrest due to drug violations was 1,488,707 in 2015 and more than 51 billion dollars is used to annually achieve this result. To this end 40 percent and 3 billion dollars worth of these drug offense are marijuana related charges. Majority, almost 90% of these charges are simple possession charges that can result in jail time getting you over 10 years.
The financial ramifications of legalization. In the first year of legalized, for recreational use, marijuana, the state of Colorado racked up $53 million dollars in additional tax revenue. The other plus from legalization is that it would, or should, release thousands if not tens of thousands of “criminals” from jail. Prisoners who were jailed for possessing what is now legal in several states and the District of Columbia. The money saved there would be innumerable.
Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, cocaine, and hallucinogens have been used for thousands of years for medical, personal, and spiritual purposes. In the 1960s, as drugs were becoming symbols of rebellion, social disorder, and political conflict. Why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It's not based on any scientific calculation and research of the relative risks of these drugs – but it has everything to do with who and what are associated with these drugs. The War on Drugs gives harsh mandatory minimum sentences and is the reason for most of our high incarceration rates, which have led to high recidivism and community deterioration (“A Brief History of the Drug War,” n.d.).