June 17, 1971 saw then President Richard Nixon declare a war on drugs. This was actually just an extension of Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 which in turn was apparently an extension of some drug policies started in 1914. This has led to the United States having the largest prison population in the world. Many people are jailed today for various drug offences including things such as simple possession of marijuana.
In order to keep the prison population as high as it is, the police forces of the United States of America must continue to arrest and send drug users to jail. These efforts take both money and personnel from your local police department away from potentially solving other crimes.
If police forces around the country were able to divert the resources they currently spend on drug squads and busting drug users, then perhaps they might have more cash and people available to solve murders. Maybe your community is being harassed by a sexual offender and the police have had a tough time catching this creep. If they moved money and manpower from drugs to searching for this sexual offender then perhaps the community would feel safer. Not only that but maybe, just maybe, that creep might get caught sooner and less people may be affected by his actions.
As it is, police have to distribute money to groups that target drug users. This is a huge waste of resources, be they money or people or whatever. Arresting a marijuana user for simple possession wastes the time of the courts, the police and the jails. Beyond that and to a much larger point, it is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Today a state like California is completely broke. Whatever the reason their budget has holes in it and they are continually cutting services to taxpayers. They will continue to cut services into the near future at the very least. There are so many people in California prisons that they are actively trying to reduce the prison population. They could reduce the number of people behind bars if the police were able to put their resources into solving other crimes and not busting marijuana users.
Regardless, of how much money California will cut from its budgets but it still must provide for all those who are behind bars. They can cut funding to schools for your children but they have a legal obligation to provide for all those behind bars. This holds true for every other state also.
Legalization of drugs, especially marijuana, would cut the number of people wasting your tax dollars sitting in jail. It would also allow the police to focus their efforts on other much more serious crimes. All of that could potentially lower taxes and the sale of legal marijuana could bring in extra tax dollars into the state too.
We need to allow the police to work hard and spend more time on much more serious crimes and put those offenders behind bars. That would go far to making the country safer and would cost less in the long run.