Marijuana Prohibition: A failed and costly experiment! It’s time to change the policy.

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Fig 3-PicMarijuana (cannabis) prohibition in the U.S., costing over $10 billion annually, has significantly benefited organized crime while branding many otherwise decent people (mostly youth) as criminals for marijuana possession. Illegal marijuana of questionable quality is now more easily available than ever before. Unregulated supplies of adulterated and synthetic marijuana have caused morbidity and mortality, while regulated natural marijuana has been successfully used as medicine for years.

For Lab 5

Inset A: Alcohol & Marijuana side-effects

Evidence indicates that marijuana is less addictive, less dangerous to health, and provokes less aggressive behavior than alcohol (Inset A) which is legally commercialized and generates large tax revenues. Illegal marijuana generates huge revenues for criminals and significant costs for tax payers! Recognizing this, several states have legalized marijuana use by adults for medicinal and/or recreational purposes (Inset B).

In a landmark event, Colorado approved Amendment 64 to its state constitution on May 28, 2013, lifting prohibition on recreational marijuana in the U.S. for the first time in almost 100 years. Washington State followed in Jan 2014, and several states are now considering similar statute changes. Many other states and federal laws, however, continue to prohibit marijuana, creating a legal conundrum.                

Now is the right time to lift federal marijuana prohibition, accompanied by diligent regulation of quality and strict enforcement of legal limits. Scientific, law enforcement, public health and economic bases justify such policy. This will lower youth incarceration rates, reduce law enforcement costs, decrease healthcare problems, and generate significant tax revenues.

Lifting marijuana prohibition- A long way to go!

Inset B: Lifting marijuana prohibition- A long way to go!

Media and social advocates support as well as oppose lifting federal marijuana prohibition. NORML, MIG and MPP strongly support; AMA and Project SAM oppose; and LEAP and DPA recommend logical, scientifically sound and fiscally sensible policies to lift marijuana prohibition. If you support lifting marijuana prohibition, write to your congressman, contribute to MPP or NORML, start petitions in your state ….get involved. 

              Encouraging responsible behavior is always better than punishing illegal behavior!

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5 Responses to “Marijuana Prohibition: A failed and costly experiment! It’s time to change the policy.”

  1. amandam121 Says:

    Thanks for putting together this blog post- I agree that criminalizing marijuana doesn’t prevent its consumption but rather creates many more issues. Your points about the economic issues of illegal marijuana (fueling revenue for organized crime, and causing a cost-burden for tax payers due to law enforcement efforts and incarcerations) are well put. Do you think this fight is best fought on the state level- slowly paving the way for nation-wide laws? Or instead do you think we’d be best served directly trying to change federal laws now?

    • ymdoffice Says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. My apologies for this delayed response due to hectic travel schedule.

      I think the efforts must continue both at local and federal level. So far most success in ending marijuana prohibition has occurre4d at state level. As more states end marijuana prohibition, that will create greater interest in ending prohibition at the national level. In response to the changes in policies in Colorado and Washington states, Obama administration has already indicated their support for such policy changes at national level. We still have a very long way to go to end marijuana prohibition even at state level. Therefore, continued efforts at all levels will be required to change national policy. Needless to add, there is significant opposition to ending marijuana prohibition as indicated by another blog post in this course as well as continued barrage of advertising by several groups including Project SAM.

  2. rachellcurrie Says:

    I am a proponent of legalizing marijuana and regulating its strength and sale, so most of the points I support. My reasons are primarily economic, because the war on drugs in the criminal courts has been so expensive and ineffective over the years.

    However, I think one of these arguments is flawed or perhaps needs further consideration: the one that healthcare costs will decrease. The link argues that legalization will decrease the costs of treating overdoses since the drug won’t be as strong after regulation; however, overdoses of marijuana are actually very rare. I think a bigger concern when it comes to the costs are that marijuana smokers develop more respiratory injections more than non-smokers, so treatment of that will certainly cost.

    Here is a funny story about how a parody website reported a high rate of overdoses following the legalization in Colorado, that fooled a lot of opponents including the Annapolis police chief!
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/marijuana-overdoses-kill-37-in-colorado-scores-duped-by-satirical-website-9039019.html
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/25/police-chief-claims-weed-killed-37-people-michael-pristoop_n_4855944.html

    BTW another group in the class also selected marijuana legalization but argued against it – a good debate!

  3. briankurzeja Says:

    I agree that a policy change should be made to refocus resources towards education and prevention of use of more serious illicit drugs. Similarly to the prohibition on the use of alcohol in the U.S. in the 20th century, the prohibition on marijuana has contributed greatly to the rise of South American cartels who make staggering amounts of money by illegally exporting marijuana to the U.S. If Marijuana production is legalized, regulated, and taxed, it will end up being a safer product that can be taxed made available to adults. Similarly to alcohol and tobacco, marijuana will find it’s way into the hands of minors, but there’s no perfect solution to that problem. Selective enforcement of marijuana laws across the country contributes to the problem. Here in Southern California, if I chose, I could easily buy legal or illegal marijuana. As I walk through Venice Beach, the marijuana shops all have staff doctors happy to provide a diagnosis and medical marijuana license for $40-50. The signs outside provide a long list of ailments for which they will approve a license. Hunger, sleepiness, headaches, menstrual cramps, hangovers, etc….
    The fact of the matter is the federal laws and policies have not controlled the use of marijuana and the laws have detracted from our ability to stop the cartels from smuggling more serious drugs into our nation.

  4. Noah Beast Says:

    You all are so unintelligent you believe that marijuana is good for you. Its really isn’t it kills you immune system and does so many horrible things to your body,but if you would like to throw your life away by telling yourself that its good go ahead. I hope by reading this you will actually come to your senses and realize that its a awful drug that is led to so many deaths of cops and the users.

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