The most obvious benefit coming out legalization is that it’s just easier to get baked. Beyond this, though, the conversations we’re starting to have about marijuana are important because they can help us put an end to the “War on Drugs.” The policy of strict drug prohibition is thanks to Richard Nixon’s disastrous “law and order” rhetoric. Here are the top 10 most dangerous problems the war on drugs creates:
1. Mass Incarceration – The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. We currently have somewhere around 2.2 million people locked up behind bars, and at least half of them are in for drug-related charges. Millions of people locked up in cages for doing something that the majority of Americans both support and participate in? Now that’s f*cked up!
2. The Racism of Drug Law Enforcement – Directly stemming from problem #1 is the fact that the U.S.’s system of mass incarceration is grossly racially biased. Here’s how AlterNet summarizes the scenario: “Despite roughly equal rates of drug use and sales, African-American men are arrested at 13 times the rate of white men on drug charges in the U.S.—with rates of up to 57 times in some states. African Americans and Latinos together make up 29 percent of the total U.S. population, but more than 75 percent of drug law violators in state and federal prisons.” This makes the entire mass incarceration scenario even more f*cked up than it might first appear!
3. Insane Waste of Taxpayer Dollars – According to The Huffington Post, “marijuana prohibition now costs state and federal government as much as $20 billion a year.” When this is placed in the context of things like grossly underfunded schools and insanely expensive healthcare, thinking about all this wasted money becomes even more mind boggling. Couldn’t we find something better to do with all that money, like maybe buy more weed?
4. Too Many Pointless Arrests – The American Civil Liberties Union found that around half of all drug-related arrests are specifically for marijuana. That’s not only a lot of money wasted on enforcing a law designed to prohibit something that most of us do anyway, it’s also a huge waste of cops’ time. Legalizing marijuana would be a good thing for them, too: it’d free up more time for the donut shop.
5. Prohibition Creates Violence – When anti-pot pundits talk about the dangers of using marijuana, they’re twisting the story. Marijuana itself isn’t dangerous, it’s the prohibition of marijuana that creates unsafe situations: “The mass killings in Mexico and in many U.S. cities are not from marijuana or other drug use, but because the plants are worth more than gold and people are willing to kill each other over the profits to be made.”
6. Missed Health Opportunities – By continuing to prohibit marijuana use, we limit the tools we have to cope with illness and other health problems. Any Green Rush Daily reader is already well aware of the many benefits of using herb, but there’s also scientific data to back up what us potheads know firsthand: a study published earlier this month found that cannabis can be a far superior way of treating all sorts of things than the opioids and other addictive pharmaceuticals doctors typically prescribe.
7. Cops Murder People Over Drugs – Even though police brutality is only now moving into mainstream media coverage, it’s been a mainstay of how the U.S. works since the founding of the nation. Today, a huge proportion of police brutality occurs because of something related to drugs, and in many cases, marijuana. The most case in point: 19 year old Zachary Hammond.
8. Destroyed Families – The more people are arrested, locked up in jails and prisons, and murdered by cops for drug-related offenses, the more families are torn apart. AlterNet points out that “millions of people in the U.S. now have a father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter behind bars on a drug charge.”
9. Missed Economic Opportunities – As long as marijuana remains illegal, the state is not only wasting money trying to bust stoners and potheads, it’s also missing out on some much-needed tax revenue. States that have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana have seen huge increases in tax revenue. In Colorado, for example, the state has raised millions and millions of dollars from weed taxes that will go to fund schools and other community needs.
10. Too Much Grouchiness, Not Enough Freedom – Maybe if all the world’s pot naysayers would just smoke up once in a while, they’d be a little happier, a little less grouchy, and a little more willing to let people be in charge of their own lives, decisions, and possibilities. If there’s one thing Green Rush Daily readers know it’s just how good this magical green herb makes, well, just about everything in life.