Editorial: Marijuana: Not moral, but legal

By Brigham Cook

marijuana-leafI feel that it is important for people to take a stand, and so here is mine. I don’t feel that marijuana isn’t moral based on my religion, although I feel that it should be made legal, based on the laws in place. My reasons are; why prohibition does not work, the importance of regulating marijuana and also our U.S. laws.


Marijuana should be legal because prohibition does not help the country and causes a lot of problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use (i.e. the “forbidden fruit” effect, and easier accessibility for youth). You don’t have to be 21 to buy marijuana. Marijuana dealers usually don’t care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated.


The second important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government. All levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the “War on Drugs,” currently spending billions of dollars every year. These people get locked up in prison and the taxpayers get the bill. The government could raise revenues by placing an excise tax on marijuana, much like the excise taxes imposed on alcohol and cigarettes.

A federal excise tax of 6 percent on the $11 billion U.S. consumers spend on marijuana every year would produce $660 million for the federal government, as well as varying amounts for the state and local governments. By taxing all the income derived from the marijuana industry that currently goes unreported, assuming that the $11 billion gross sales of marijuana would generate half that much in taxable income, the government could tax an additional $5.5 billion of income.

The federal income tax rate varies due to taxable income and deductions, but assuming a 20 percent average tax rate and $5.5 billion in marijuana income, the federal government could collect $1.1 billion in income taxes every year. The federal government could bring in $382 million in FICA taxes. Based on 41 states having an income tax, the states combined would bring in $275 million. The federal government would have additional revenues of $6 billion a year and the states an additional $17 billion for a combined total of $23 billion a year. This money could pay for the entire food stamp program, provide a tax rebate of approximately $150 per taxpayer per year or pay for a war with an axis of evil regime.

U.S. Laws

Some religions instruct their followers to use marijuana. Just like some denominations of Christianity and Judaism instruct their followers to drink wine on certain occasions, some Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and members of other religions use marijuana as part of their spiritual and religious ceremonies. These people deserve the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot ‘prohibit the free exercise’ of religion, and so marijuana should be legal.

Cannabis has been shown time and time again to be beneficial for relieving pain, stimulating appetite, reducing anxiety and increasing the overall quality of life for patients suffering from a variety of ailments. Also the argument that our health dictates if something is legal is ludicrous. About 50,000,000 Americans eat at fast food restaurants daily, and that’s not healthy. So if Americans can die from eating fast food, why can’t they have the choice to die from smoking weed?