Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons Marijuana Should Be Legal

From the venerable stoner magazine High Times via AlterNet:

10. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent marijuana use for over 75 years and yet: marijuana is now used by over 25 million people annually, cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States, and marijuana is grown all over the planet. Claims that marijuana prohibition is a successful policy are ludicrous and unsupported by the facts, and the idea that marijuana will soon be eliminated from America and the rest of the world is a ridiculous fantasy.

9. Arrests for marijuana possession disproportionately affect blacks and Hispanics and reinforce the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudiced against minorities. African-Americans account for approximately 13% of the population of the United States and about 13.5% of annual marijuana users, however, blacks also account for 26% of all marijuana arrests. Recent studies have demonstrated that blacks and Hispanics account for the majority of marijuana possession arrests in New York City, primarily for smoking marijuana in public view. Law enforcement has failed to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be enforced fairly without regard to race; far too often minorities are arrested for marijuana use while white/non-Hispanic Americans face a much lower risk of arrest.


3. Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Law enforcement has more important responsibilities than arresting 750,000 individuals a year for marijuana possession, especially given the additional justice costs of disposing of each of these cases. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.

Click here for the rest.

Whether you're a dope smoker or not, marijuana prohibition is psychotic. I mean, come on. I think pretty much everybody knows in their heart of hearts that it doesn't hurt you or me one bit if the stoner next door fires up a joint every night. It probably doesn't really hurt him, either. But the whole anti-marijuana crusade has literally spawned a multi-billion dollar industry which now depends on the War on Drugs to keep the cash flowing. Insurance companies, private prison and security firms, DARE and other "educational" programs, weapons manufacturers, drug testing companies, even mainstream corporations that we don't realize have anything to do with pot are getting rich on its contraband status, and all these entities have high dollar lobbyists to make sure the gravy train keeps on rolling. Meanwhile, decades of moronic anti-pot propaganda have had a strange effect: no politician can speak sensibly about marijuana for fear of appearing to be soft on crime. It's fucking loony.

I'm sure there are nuttier situations out there, with even worse consequences. The Iraq occupation, for instance, is no doubt crazier than pot prohibition, and it definitely kills more people. But this one's easy. If we legalize marijuana, only good things will happen.