should marijuana be legalized? why?
Alcohol is far more dangerous, and is well known to be addictive. It’s lethal dose is not hard to achieve, its role in causing auto accidents is indisputable, it has no approved medical use, it contributes to violence, personal injury, the relief of sexual inhibitions (which in turn contributes to unplanned pregnancies and the spread of sexual disease), and it can lead to neurological impairments, cirrhosis of the liver, and death when consumed in large quantities over many years. More than 100,000 people die from alcohol abuse each year in the U.S. alone.
None of these things can be said about marijuana.
It has several medical applications and no known lethal dosage. Nearly everything we do is more dangerous than smoking marijuana in the privacy of one’s home.
Non-violent drug offenders account for approx. 400,000 inmates in U.S. prisons, and a million others are currently on probation. ‘More people are imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses in the U.S. than are incarcerated, for ANY reason, in all of Western Europe (which has a larger population).’ -Sam Harris.
Violent criminals (murderers, rapists, child molesters) are regularly paroled to make room for NONviolent offenders who are locked away due to the prohibition of certain substances.
People still receive life sentences without the possibility of parole for growing, selling, possessing, or buying marijuana. Cancer patients and paraplegics have been sent to prison for possession. Owners of garden-supply stores have also been prosecuted simply because some of their CUSTOMERS were caught growing marijuana.
The cost of enforcing our drug laws is almost $20 billion dollars a year at the federal level alone. The total cost could easily exceed $100 billion dollars annually when one factors in the expense to state and local governments and the tax revenue lost by our failure to regulate the sale of drugs. This would more than pay for our reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan ($23 billion annually), and the security of our commercial seaports against smuggled nuclear weapons (a onetime expenditure of $2 billion).
The war on drugs in the U.S. consumes approx. 50% of trial time in our courts and the full-time energies of over 400,000 police officers. Certainly these resources could be put to better use… such as prosecuting violent criminals.
As with the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana contributes to organized crime and police corruption, and does little (if anything) to hinder the use of said substance.
The drug trade is valued at $400 billion a year, which exceeds the annual budget for the U.S. Department of Defense. ‘A final irony… is that the market we have created by our drug laws has become a steady source of revenue for terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Shining Path, and others.’ -S. Harris