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Advantages and Disadvantages of Legalizing Alcohol

Introduction

The issue of legalization of alcohol is a difficult issue to handle because alcohol contains many substances that have different effects both on an individual and the society. Whether alcohol is legalized or not, people will always find a way to buy it. Therefore, legalizing alcohol ensured that the legal market challenged the market of alcohol through the black market. This in turn assured the country of income through tax. The income collected by the government through the legal sale of alcohol can be used to improve the economy of the country. Secondly, the black market sale of alcohol as a result of prohibition of the sale of a substance always results in increased crime. Therefore, legalization of alcohol minimized the crime rates in the country and increased employment opportunities. Although legalization of alcohol has many advantages, there are several disadvantages associated with it. For instance, excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to one’s health. Legalization of alcohol cannot regulate the quantity of alcohol which one is allowed to consume and therefore would lead to deteriorating health of the users. Consequently, consumption of alcoholic drinks leads to wastage of one’s income. Money that could have been used to purchase essential products such as food is used to buy alcohol. Therefore, legalization of alcohol plays a major role in misuse of families’ income. 

Advantages of Legalization of Alcohol

The first advantage that can be associated with the legalization of alcohol is control of its production and sale. According to the Majority Report (1933), before alcohol was legalized it was hard to estimate the amount of illicit brew that were being produced at homes. In fact, about 20 million barrel of unregulated illicit alcoholic drinks was produced and consumed in the country in the year 1931. Legalization of alcohol set proper standards for the production and sale of alcohol in the country. This ensured that the alcohol being produced was safe for consumption. Another advantage of the controls was the fact that it prohibited the sale of alcoholic products to minors. In regulating the alcohol production it was identified that 3.2 % of alcohol by weight is not harmful to one’s health (Majority Report, 1933). Therefore, the legalization ensured that the alcohol produced was not harmful to the users.

The second advantage of legalization of alcohol drinking is the improvement of the agriculture industry. Many agricultural products are used in the production of alcoholic beverages. Products such as corn and barley are very useful in brewing of alcoholic drinks. Legalization of alcohol in the United States led to the stimulation of this important industry. Therefore, legalization of alcohol was important in providing a market for the farm products. During the period when alcoholic drinks were prohibited in the United States, there was great wastage of farm products due to lack of a local market. However, legalization of the product saw an improvement of the industry. Legalization of alcohol also led to the stimulation of other industries in the country. The bottling industry was one such industry. Through the export of some of the alcoholic products, the legalization also stimulated the county’s international trade.

Thirdly, legalization of alcohol provides means for the government to collect revenue from this lucrative industry. According to McGowan (1997), the alcohol industry has today grown to a multibillion industry that earns the country millions of dollars in tax revenues each year. The money from this industry is used to develop other sectors of the economy. Therefore, legalization of alcohol brought the country income that could have otherwise gone unutilized. The funds from this industry have also been very important in the development of the country. Failure to legalize alcohol would have seen the country fall economically as other countries continued to collect income from the industry. Majority Report (1933) noted that it was important for the country to utilize funds from the industry as most countries were already benefiting from the industry. 

The fourth benefit of legalization of alcohol in a country is the creation of employment. According to McGowan (1997), as a result of legalization of alcohol in the United States of America, many citizens have been employed by the industry. The industry employs both indirectly and directly. The growth of the industry has also seen a drop in the unemployment rate in the country. By creating employment opportunities for the citizens, legalization of alcohol has therefore improved the living standards of the people. Fifth, researches conducted by scientists have concluded that moderate consumption of alcoholic drinks has several benefits to the users. According to the Mayo Clinic (2011), moderate consumption of alcohol has healthy benefits such as reducing the chances of one developing heart diseases, reducing the chances of one dying of a heart attack, reducing the risks of strokes and reducing the risk of one from suffering from diabetes. These are important health findings which without alcohol being legalized could have never been discovered. 

Another advantage of legalization of alcohol is the reduction of accidents. In areas where the use of alcohol is not legal, alcohol users travel to areas which have legalized the substance. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of alcohol related accident in areas that have banned alcohol. This is because the alcohol users in these regions have to drive long distances in search of alcohol (Hanson, 2012). Therefore, legalization of alcohol is seen as one of the solutions to the increase in alcohol related accidents in these regions. 

Lastly, the sale of many drugs through the black markets as a result of the failure by the government to legalize them has resulted in increased crime rates in many cities. The low crime rates experienced by many cities are as a result of the legal sale of alcoholic products. Failure by the government to legalize alcohol could have resulted in users finding other alternatives to the drink. Therefore, the legalization of this product in the country ensured the health of the users. 

Disadvantages of Legalizing Alcohol

Despite the many advantages of legalization of alcohol discussed, there are also some disadvantages of this practice. First, legalization of alcohol was accompanied by huge taxes. The tax charges had to be passed on to the user. As a result, the prices of alcohol were very high. This did not discourage the users from the use of its products due to its addictive nature. The result was the diversion of families’ income from the provision of basic needs such as food, shelter and the right to education to the purchase of alcoholic drinks. According to Boole (1933), this was wastage of income that could have been used in development of other important areas. In addition to misuse of family funds, alcohol use has been the source of many family wrangles. Therefore, legalization of alcohol resulted in the wastage of income and breakage of marriages. 

Secondly, alcohol use leads to death. According to Thun at al (1997), most Americans who drink alcoholic drinks are associated with higher death rates from injuries, violence, suicide, alcohol poisoning, some forms of cancers and stroke. Therefore, alcohol consumption is a leading cause of death in the country. This is a major disadvantage of legalization of alcohol given the fact that prohibition of alcohol in the country could have saved many lives. Additionally, alcohol consumption causes pain and suffering for those who lose loved ones as a result of alcohol consumption. Many children are left to look after themselves as a result of death of their parents due to alcohol related illnesses. 

The third disadvantage of legalization of alcohol is the increase in the number of alcohol related accidents. The many number of accidents reported in the country involve alcohol. While some are lucky to survive from these fatal accidents, many die each year as a result these accidents. Consequently, others suffer serious deformities which affect them for the rest of their lives. The issue of alcohol related accidents could have been a thing of the past if only alcohol had not been legalized. Not only could this have saved the lives of those who have died as a result of these accidents but it could also have made the lives of those left suffering much easier. 

Fourth, at the time of legalizations, those pushing for the legalization of alcohol argued that 3.2 % amount of alcohol in weight could not be harmful to the human body. What they failed to consider is the desire by those in the future to change this content (Boole, 1933). As a result, the market is today flooded with alcoholic products with much higher content than the recommended content. Additionally, the regulations failed to consider the entry into the market by foreign brands with much higher alcohol content. Due to this, alcohol has been associated with many diseases. The lawmakers who supported the legalization of alcohol never thought that it could at one time be associated with these diseases otherwise they would never have advocated for its legalization. 

Fifth, the use of alcohol is associated with laziness among its users. Therefore, by legalizing it the government encouraged unproductivity. After drinking alcoholic beverages it is impractical for one to perform any meaningful duty that would lead to his or her development in terms of income generation. Consumption of alcohol is therefore one of the main causes of poverty in the society. It is also associated with crimes such as robbery as users find means to satisfy their needs. Being an addictive drug, alcohol leads to other forms of crimes such as prostitution, rape and even murder. 

Another negative effect of the legalization of alcohol is its effects on the human brain. The human brain is an important organ in the human body; it controls most of the body’s functions such as thinking and making important decisions (Welsh, 1997). With the legalization of alcohol, most people have been addicted to the use of alcohol and therefore important national development issues have failed to be implemented. Additionally, the growth of a country requires creative innovations both in creation of new products and in entrepreneurship. This important activity has been halted by the use of alcohol by almost every person in the society. In addition to damaging the brain, alcohol use has also affected the level of education in the country. According to Austin (2010), many have failed to attain education due to the use of alcohol. Education plays a very important role in the country by ensuring future development of the country in terms of innovation and labor supply. Therefore, the slow development of the economy of the country is as a result of the legalization of alcohol. 

Lastly, due to its influence on the user, alcohol has been associated with violence. This violence leads to deaths, injuries and other negative effects to the society such as destruction of property (Warburton & Shepherd, 2005). Huge sum of money is spent to repair property damaged as a result of alcohol related violence. Many families spend their income on the health of those injured due to the violence. Therefore, despite the sale of alcohol being important in the improvement of the country’s economy it has also played a role in the destruction of the economy through destructive activities by its users. As a result, legalization of alcohol did not only lead to improvement of the economy but it also led to its destruction. 

Conclusion

Legalization of alcohol was marked by the many advantages that it brought to the country. The legalization ensured that alcohol was produced at the required safety standards. The legalization was important because even with alcohol being prohibited, many continued to produce it unregulated at their home. Not being legalized there was no mechanism to ensure that government collected income from this lucrative industry. However, with the legalization of this industry, the government has been collecting millions of dollars through tax each year. This income has been instrumental in the improvement of the country’s economy. The alcohol industry has also led to a rise in the living standards of many citizens through creation of employment. With prohibition of production of alcoholic products, the agricultural industry suffered major loses. However, the legalization of alcohol has led to the stimulation of the industry and has boosted the income of farmers dealing with products such as corn and barley. Despite its importance in the development of the national economy, legalization of alcohol has in the years led to the destruction of the economy. For instance, the use of alcohol leads to violence. As a result of this violence there is destruction of property and injuries. Another disadvantage of legalization of this product is its role in wastage of family’s income. Due to the desire of the government to reap maximum benefits from the alcohol industry, huge taxes were imposed on its product. Therefore, money meant for essential products such as food has been diverted to alcohol use. Lastly, the use of alcohol as a result of its legalization has deprived the country of future innovators and important personnel in many areas. This is as a result of its effects on the brain thereby affecting the education of many. Some parents have been observed to divert funds meant for their children college use to the alcohol industry thereby depriving them their right to education.  

References

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