At the very least, it should be decriminalized. Personally I believe it should be legalized.
1. 41% of the population, all age groups 12 and up have used pot
2. 55.6% of the population, ages 18 - 25
Legalizing it will not cause abuse, the abuse already exists.
It can be controlled and grown in safety and bring in revenues.
Alcohol is a good example, use of alcohol actually increased and made alcohol traffickers rich. Including some prominent families who made their money with black market sales of alcohol.
Although the number of prison inmates constitutes less than 1% convicted of marijuana related arrests, it might be good to have those that are out of jail.
From Wikipedia: 2,304,115 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails in 2008.
Now 1% of those is 23,041
From Wikipedia: The average annual operating cost per state inmate in 2001 was $22,650, or $62.05 per day; among facilities operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it was $22,632 per inmate, or $62.01 per day."
Now that adds up to: $521,878,650.00 Annually.
If the prison population were to be reduced by an additional 10%, (51% of inmates are for non-violent crimes), that would be an annual savings of $5,218,786,500.00. This is a lot of money on an annual basis.
Now lets estimate the revenues from Pot, lets say 10% of the population used pot regularly and will buy as they do at a liquor store, the taxes and other revenues could be estimated this way.
10% x $50 a month x 12 = $18 Billion.
That is a 23 Billion dollar increase in revenue due to legalization.
I can't even begin to estimate the cost of courts and law enforcement.