Marijuana Legalization and National Debt Marijuana Legalization In the beginning of 2013 the United States’ national debt was 16 trillion dollars, 10 trillion dollars higher than it was Just a decade previous (Treasury Direct, n. D. ). Politicians are constantly looking for new ways to generate revenue for the country, with the most prominent solution including tax increases or new taxes. For several years citizens have requested that the government legalize certain recreational drugs, even suggesting that sales from these drugs could be taxed creating a brand new revenue source capable of eventually reducing or eliminating national debt.
Opponents of this proposed solution to national debt argue that the dangers presented by the use of recreational drugs, outweigh any benefits that may come from legalizing their use and sale. However, precedence for the sale and taxation of potentially dangerous substances is provided by the sale of tobacco and alcohol. Review of these subjects has revealed that national debt could be reduced through the legalization and taxation of select recreational drugs. Hemp or cannabis sati is a naturally growing plant that civilizations have found a multitude of ways to use for over five millennia (Biostatic, 2012).
One of the most common uses is to dry and shred the leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds to create a mixture known as marijuana. When concentrated it turns into a more resinous mixture known as hashish. The mixture can be smoked in pipes or hookahs or by rolling it similar to a cigarette. Modern users of marijuana commonly roll the mixture in papers designed for hand rolled cigarettes, or in pipes. The most common type of pipe used is a water pipe which is reminiscent of Middle Eastern hookahs. Another common use is to mix it into food or drink such as pastry or tea.
Both of these sutures are used in order to take advantage of the psychoactive or mind-altering chemical delta-9-dehydrogenation’s (TECH) found in the plant. TECH reacts with specific types of brain cells, designed to be activated by chemicals similar to TECH such as amandine. These chemicals, which are naturally created in the body, react with cannabis receptors in the brain as part of a neural communication network. This network is an integral part of normal brain development and function.
The majority of these receptors are found in sections of the brain that control pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time reception, and coordinated movement (National Institute on Drug Abuse, n. D. ). Ingestion of TECH overestimates these receptors creating a euphoric or high feeling. The euphoric feelings, caused by a reaction with the brains reward system which is normally triggered in response to pleasurable things like sweets or sex, combined with an increase in relaxation are the primary factors that contribute to the use of TECH as a recreational drug.
Beyond the high the immediate effects of marijuana use can be distorted perceptions, laughter, impaired coordination, difficulty thinking or solving problems, increased appetite, and disrupted learning and memory. These symptoms are accompanied by an increased heart rate, relaxed and enlarged bronchial passages, and expansion of the blood vessels in the eye. A user might experience only one of these effects or may experience all of them, depending on the individual and the amount of TECH ingested. If perceptions are distorted they are most commonly reported as brighter colors or a change in the speed of time.
The disruption of coordination which affects most users can cause problems with balance, coordination, and reaction time. These factors can affect a user’s ability to perform complicated tasks or drive. The inability to form new memories can cause issues with learning while under the influence of TECH. In some cases where a large amount of the drug has been consumed acute psychosis can occur, which may include hallucinations, delusions, and loss of personal identity. The exact cause of this rare symptom is as of yet unknown it occurs most often in connection to high doses of marijuana in food or drink.
Long term effects of marijuana use include addiction, risk of cancer or respiratory problems, and permanent impairment of cognitive abilities. Research into how chronic use affects a matured brain’s structure and function has been inconsistent, because of uncertainty about how the alterations to the brain affect its function. However, when used by adolescents, that have yet to achieve brain maturity, notable problems in relation to learning and memory, because of premature neuron loss in the hippopotamus, have been found.
Studies using rats have shown that long term exposure to TECH in adolescent rats caused cell loss similar to that of rats twice the study groups’ age. This long term damage has been found to be repairable in certain tidies “the ability of long term users to recall words from a list was still impaired 1 week after they quit using, but returned to normal by 4 weeks. ” Other studies have found that the effects can build over time causing damage to critical life skills. There is a small amount of evidence showing that during the first hour after smoking, the heart rate increase can increase the risk of heart attack.
Because off mix of gases and particulates smoking marijuana can cause respiratory problems such as cough or increased phlegm production. The smoke also contains irritants and carcinogens hat can promote cancer in the lungs and respiratory system although research into it has proved inconclusive. The final effect of long term use of marijuana is the possibility of addiction. A majority of the effects and dangers of marijuana are also found in currently legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco.
When consumed alcohol can also cause impaired coordination and inability to learn and form memories while under its influence. Like the similar effects of marijuana, the majority of these effects disappear as the alcohol works its way out of the body and chronic heavy drinking an cause these problems to become persistent. Alcohol can cause severe liver disease known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver caused by chronic liver disease, and in rare cases could lead to the development of hepatic encephalopathy.
Which can affect the sleep patterns, mood, and personality of the afflicted individual (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2004). Both alcohol and tobacco can increase the risk of developing cancer or heart disease, and tobacco also contributes to respiratory problems in the majority of its users. Both of hose substances pose a large risk of addiction which contributes to their large use. Approximately 25 million Americans use marijuana in an average year though this number may be closer to 41 million because of denial of use (Getting, 2007).
Most marijuana users take at least one dose a month averaging between one half of a gram to one gram of marijuana, though some use it as often as once a day or of varying size doses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (n. D. ) website shows that levels of tobacco use are similar with 43. 8 million American adults mooing in the past year with most users smoking a minimum of four to five packs a week. Alcohol use is much more prevalent with almost 50 percent of American adults having drunk in the past year and the average drinker has at least one drink a month (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2004).
All three of these substances are sold at a controlled price and could be or are currently taxed by the government to generate a source of revenue. Tobacco taxes average one third of the total price of a pack of cigarettes at a national average of $2 a pack. These taxes generate approximately 18. Billion dollars a year for the federal government. Alcohol taxes vary based on the type of drink consumed with beer taxed at $0. 05 per 12 ounce can, wine is taxed at $0. 21 per 750 millimeter bottle, and distilled spirits are taxed at $2. 4 per 750 millimeter bottle (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, n. D. ). Using the smallest tax and assuming only one drink a month alcohol generates a minimum of 90 million in taxes a year for the federal government. Medical marijuana, which is the only controlled sale of marijuana in the United States, prices range from $6 to $20 a gram with the most popular selling product falling in the $1 5 range (“Weed Strain Exchange”, 2012). Based off the taxes on the similar product tobacco the government could tax marijuana between $2 and $6 per gram with the average tax paid being $5 a gram.
This would generate a minimum tax gain of 1. 5 billion dollars a year based purely on users who report smoking. This revenue increases too minimum of 2. 4 billion dollars per year with the assumed number of 41 million users. The addition of even half of the minimum tax revenue from marijuana could slow or stop debt growth, hill the full minimum value could reduce debt over the long term. The similarity of the effects of alcohol and tobacco on the body and the effects of marijuana on the body show that the recreational drug marijuana is a valid option for legalization.
The most damaging effects of marijuana have shown to be mitigated by limiting its usage to those whose brains have already achieved maturity, such as adults. The documented percentages of Americans who use marijuana combined with sales information from the few legal outlets for its sale suggest that taxes from its sale are a feasible option. The amount of revenue that could be generated when based off of tax rates on the similar product tobacco suggest that marijuana could provide a minimum of millions of dollars a year in revenue.