Using logic to measure marijuana laws and why they fail
Cartoon created by Grant Chesshir.
There is no question that legalization of marijuana is and will be the center of controversy until its prohibition ends.
It began with “Reefer Madness,” a propaganda tool fueled by racism and lies in the 1930s that spouted erroneous claims such as smoking pot turns the smokers into a crazed killers with no control over their actions.
This spawned a prejudice against marijuana so strong that doctors and patients fight to this day to prescribe and use it for medicinal purposes.
Fast forward to the present and we see our nation with over-crowded prisons and the highest incarcerated population on the planet. This fact is due largely to our current drug laws and the failed war on drugs.
In 2009 alone, 758,593 Americans were arrested for marijuana possession and 99,815 were arrested for trafficking/sales of marijuana, with an overwhelmingly disproportionate amount being African American and Hispanic.
These arrests cost American taxpayers more than a billion dollars annually; meanwhile, funding for public universities continues to decline. Something does not add up here.
Speaking of college, students seeking financial aid should pay close attention to this next bit of information. The Higher Education Act states a one-time possession conviction will disqualify the student for financial aid for a year.
Goodbye dreams and fare thee well hopes. Yet, a person with a driving under the influence charge, a charge in which lives were put at risk or possibly lost, is not disqualified as an applicant. Sad, but true.
While the topic of alcohol is still fresh, let us review the death toll for alcohol last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 75,766 deaths last year from alcohol and alcohol related illnesses. Yet, any person of legal drinking age, and many under the age, can obtain and consume alcohol, the No. three killer in our nation and America’s real “most dangerous” drug.
What’s that you ask? What are the other two top killers? Well, the second is poor diet and physical inactivity, and the number-one killer of our nation is tobacco.
Tobacco is a heavy-hitting killer, collecting 443,000 deaths from direct users and 49,400 deaths from second-hand smoke.
The only fair way to end this commentary is to also mention the number of deaths associated with marijuana. There has never been even a single death attributed to marijuana use. In fact, marijuana has healing properties and is bringing relief to patients residing in those states in which it is legal.
Fifteen states and the District Columbia have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana. This movement is being backed more and more by a growing population of the scientific community with the main obstacle being government interference. If they can’t tax and regulate, they ban.