Taxpayers Pay More Than $8 Billion Per Year Prosecuting Marijuana Users. Here's A Better Use For The Money.

We're spending the money anyway, why not make it count?

Marijuana is gaining ground state by state towards decriminalization or even legalization, but the political landscape surrounding the issue is still a mess. The war on drugs, started in 1971 by President Nixon, has been a grossly expensive flop. According to one study, the United States could save $8.7 billion by ceasing to prosecute marijuana use. 

This colossal waste is magnified by the fact that there is an endless stream of worthy causes that could improve the lives of many that cannot seem to get any funding.

Need a reason to legalize marijuana so we can spend money on more worthwhile things instead? Here's 20 of them. 

1. Fully vaccinate 3.95 million children through age 18.

2. A month of food for 9.6 million hungry families.

3. Eco-friendly tiny homes for 435,000 homeless people.

4. Spay or neuter 58 million dogs

5. Repave 2,900 miles of highway.

6. In-patient rehab for 396,000 addicts.

7. 21,750,000 iPad Minis for classrooms.

8. Build 435 new schools.

9. 125,000 new playgrounds for at-risk communities

10. Six months of paid maternity leave for 915,000 low-income women.

11. Classroom supplies for 12,429,000 teachers

12. Solar panels for 395,000 American homes.

13. A year of reliable childcare for 725,000 families.

14. New jerseys for 174 million young athletes.

15. Four-year tuition for 235,000 students.

16. Yearly salaries for 116,000 scientists.

17. A year of medication for 384,000 patients with HIV/AIDS.

18. 3 new rovers on Mars.

19. Bicycle helmets for 435 million children.

20. Proper equipment for 5.8 million anti-poaching rangers in Africa.

They say money can't buy happiness. This fact is probably true, but money can buy a lot of things that will make the world a better place.

*All numbers are based on national/international averages.

[Header image: iStockphoto]