One of the main arguments of people who oppose the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana hinges upon the popular notion that drugs cause crime. Although marijuana has been proven to cause crime, it is not linked to crime for the reasons you may initially think. Marijuana is a major cause of crime in urban areas of the United States because it is an illegal, unregulated substance; and therefore can only be obtained via underground market trafficking. The vast majority of the crime caused by marijuana does not occur while individuals are “high”, but rather occur during the process of distribution and acquisition.
Statistics show that majority of the drug-related crime happens when a person is attempting to obtain the substance. If marijuana were to be decriminalized, law enforcement could redirect its attention to other areas desperately requiring more urgent attention, such as gangs, homicides, or burglary. Currently, law enforcement officials spend huge amounts of time attempting to regulate a market that has existed before, and after the law was passed in 1937 criminalizing the marijuana.
Violence aside, the sheer act of consuming a drug is extremely harmful to an individual if tainted with the wrong materials. Marijuana does not come with a label to tell the consumer that its “organic” or “potent” like popular alcohols on the market do. It can also be said that the United States government is knowingly putting its citizens in danger by keeping marijuana illegal. While the government keeps its citizens safe from harmful substances getting into the food supply with the FDA, “nothing resembling the Food and Drug Administration has arisen to impose quality control on the illegal drug market and provide users with accurate information on the drugs they consume”.
If the government legalized marijuana, it could be more successful in protect its citizens by providing regulatory laws. By keeping the substance illegal, the government is actively ignoring medical issues and violence which are a direct result of the current unregulated nature of marijuana.