Ending the war on marijuana will help the war on drugs

Ending the war on marijuana will help the war on drugs

Ending the war on marijuana will help the war on drugs
August 23
14:37 2017

While many believe policing the use and sale of natural drugs will create a safer society, the opposite has been found to be true.

The policing of drug use creates the black market and supports the drug cartels. Doctors are quick to push pharmaceuticals, but natural drugs like cannabis that humans have used for thousands of years are illegal federally.

If natural drugs are legal and regulated, users of these natural plants will know exactly what they are getting and will be purchasing it in a way that supports the economy. Because cannabis is illegal, the black market provides an unknown supply to the recreational drug user and the profit goes to drug cartels. If cannabis is legal, people can safely get the product they want and the treatment they believe they need.

Rehabilitation centers can use these natural drugs to properly wean users off much more harmful drugs and already are in legal states. A rehabilitation center in Los Angeles called High Sobriety has been using cannabis to wean patients off opioids and other harmful drugs.

The founder, Joe Scharnk, spoke in an interview with CNN about the perceived hypocrisy of using legal drugs to get off hard drugs. Scharnk has been sober for 20 years after weaning himself off hard drugs.

“Some say it’s hypocritical because, you know, you’re supposed to go to rehab to get off drugs,” Scharnk said. “Cessation of drug use can be a goal for some people, but pacing is also important.”

The drug war is supposed to be a fight against the black market and drug cartels. But without a drug war, the sale of natural drugs through cartels and a black market would be lesser, and the focus can shift to drugs that are much more destructive.

By the end of the 20th century, there were over two million inmates in America. That’s more than 10 times the number of U.S. inmates any time prior to the 1970s and far more than other countries. From 2001 to 2010, there were 7 million arrests for marijuana. In 2010, over half of all drug arrests were for marijuana.

Anthony Coulson, the assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency district office in Tucson, Arizona, said in an interview with NBC News that it’s estimated $10 billion worth of drugs pass through the state of Arizona alone.

“Right now, the volume of marijuana that will be seized in southern Arizona will be approximately, we predict, 1.4 million pounds by the end of this calendar year,” Coulson said. “That is beyond what we’ve ever seized before.”

After the states of Colorado and Washington legalized cannabis, violent crime decreased significantly. This is contrary to the movie Reefer Madness (1936), that swayed the public eye to demonize marijuana legalization. With legal drugs like opioids taking over 28,000 lives annually, alcohol leading to 88,000 deaths annually, and cigarette smoking being responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year including 41,000 deaths from secondhand exposure, one would think these issues would be the focus of the war on drugs. But the focus is on cannabis, a natural plant medicine used for thousands of years that has led to zero deaths.

Eight states currently recognize cannabis as a natural, legal plant that can be used safely by adults 21 and older. There are 29 total states that have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis. Not including all of the revenue that full legalization would bring to the economy and all of the prisoners free to contribute to the workforce, legalization would keep America to its cornerstone values of liberty. If a person isn’t hurting anyone but themselves, what gives someone else the right to lock them in a cage for something like using a natural plant, like cannabis?

The side effects of responsible cannabis use are lesser than cigarettes, and you can get those in any corner store. What is stopping it from being legalized?

Featured illustration by Samuel Wiggins

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Garron Weeks

Garron Weeks

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