The criminalization of cannabis is a sham
The criminalization of cannabis is a failure for a number of reasons. First, it disproportionately affects people of color. In the United States, African Americans are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than whites, despite using cannabis at similar rates. This disparity is even higher in states with stricter cannabis laws.
Second, the criminalization of cannabis wastes law enforcement resources that could be better used elsewhere. In 2018, there were 659,700 arrests for cannabis-related offenses in the United States. That’s one arrest every minute and a half. That’s an incredible waste of time and money when you consider that most of these arrests are for possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
Third, the criminalization of cannabis creates a violent black market. Because cannabis is illegal, it is only available through the black market, which is controlled by gangs and other criminals. This leads to violence and other crimes as these groups compete for market share.
Finally, the criminalization of cannabis prevents people from accessing its potential medical benefits. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating a number of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and seizures. However, because it is illegal, many people are unable to access it for these purposes.
The war on drugs is a failure
The war on drugs is a failed policy that was started in the 1970s under the Nixon administration. The goal was to reduce the use of drugs like cannabis, heroin, and LSD by cracking down on their manufacture, sale, and possession.
However, the war on drugs has been an abject failure. Drug use has not decreased, and drug-related crime has actually increased. In addition, the war on drugs has had a number of negative consequences, including overcrowded prisons, higher rates of recidivism, and increased violence in drug-producing countries.
The war on drugs has also disproportionately affected people of color. People of color make up just 13 percent of the population but account for 32 percent of drug-related arrests and 46 percent of those incarcerated on drug charges. Furthermore, African Americans serve nearly as much time in prison for drug offenses as they would if they had been convicted of violent crimes.
The war on drugs is a failed policy that has caused more harm than good. It’s time for a new approach that focuses on treatment and prevention instead of incarceration.
States that have legalized cannabis are seeing positive results
A number of states have legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational use, and they are seeing positive results. Legalization has led to increased tax revenue, job creation, and decreases in crime rates and drug-related deaths.
In Colorado, which legalized cannabis in 2014, tax revenue from cannabis sales was $247 million in 2018. That money is being used to fund schools, roads, and other public works projects. In addition, Colorado has seen decreases in crime rates and drug-related deaths since legalization.
Other states that have legalized cannabis are seeing similar results. In Washington state, tax revenue from cannabis sales was $386 million in 2017. In Oregon, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2015, tax revenue was $85 million in 2017. And in California, which legalized recreational cannabis in 2018, tax revenue is projected to reach $1 billion by 2020.
It’s clear that legalization is working in states that have tried it. Legalization leads to increased tax revenue and decreases in crime rates and drug-related deaths.
It’s time for the federal government to act
It’s time for the federal government to act The federal government needs to act now to decriminalize or legalize cannabis nationwide. Doing so would have a number of positive outcomes: decreased costs for law enforcement and the criminal justice system; increased tax revenue; decreased violence associated with the drug trade; and increased access to medical cannabis for those who need it.
In addition, legalization would allow states to set their own policies on cannabis use without fear of federal interference. This would allow states to experiment with different approaches to see what works best for them. It’s clear that the current system is not working. People of color are disproportionately affected by the criminalization of cannabis while states that have legalized are seeing positive results. The federal government needs to act now to change this failed policy.