The legalization of marijuana in the United States has long been debated.The US laws stand firm against making marijuana legal, but why? Should marijuana be legalized? There are many pros and cons for and against the legalization of marijuana.

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The current US War on Drugs makes it illegal for anyone to own or smoke marijuana.The penalties and the amount of marijuana that make it illegal vary from state to state, but one thing is for sure, the schedule-I drug known as marijuana in not legal in this, and many other countries.

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug, behind alcohol and tobacco, and marijuana been used by an estimated 100 million Americans, over 25 million in the past year alone, despite harsh laws against its use.

Still the debate rages on, should the legalization of marijuana go forward?

The pros for the legalization of marijuana are many.Marijuana is far less dangerous than other legal substances.Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning, and countless more deaths occur when people under the influence of alcohol get behind the wheel.Smoking is attributed to over 400,000 deaths each year.By contrast, marijuana is non-toxic and cannot cause death by over-dose.

Other pros for why marijuana should be legalized include the costs of enforcing laws against personal possession and use of marijuana.Enforcing marijuana laws costs the taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 870,000 US citizens each year, exceeding the number of arrests for all violent crimes combined.

Just as many are the cons against the legalization of marijuana.Marijuana is often referred to as the gateway drug.Marijuana users often step up to harder and more dangerous drugs.Other cons against legalizing marijuana use is that stoned driving would increase, and also some consider the use of recreational drugs like marijuana to be morally wrong.

Legalization would also increase the chance of marijuana falling into the hands of kids.Another con against legal marijuana is that drug-related arrests take criminals that might have committed more serious offenses off the street before they have the chance.Not to mention the political, law enforcement, and corrections jobs created by the War on Drugs.

On the flip side, legalization of marijuana would free up the stretched resources of those departments to combat for dangerous crimes.And if the US Government regulated the sale of personal or medical marijuana, it would force drug dealers who often have ties to terrorists into bankruptcy.