Alright, so the title is a lie. Let’s start there. I am not going to give you 420 reasons as to why weed needs to be legalized, but I am going to present what, I believe, are the strongest arguments for national legalizations of marijuana, and these, my friends, are all true.
Reason 1, marijuana arrests are a waste of time. The FBI reports that in 2012 there were 658,000 arrests made for marijuana possession. Compare that to the 256,000 arrests for cocaine and heroin, much more devastating drugs.
Think of all the manpower it takes to arrest 658,000 individuals, book them in jail, hold a preliminary hearing, hold a trial or make a plea deal, then carry out a sentence on that person.
Not only does this tie up law enforcement and the courts from hearing more important issues, it also costs taxpayers a very large sum of money. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, that cost is around $3.6 billion a year.
Reason 1.5, marijuana arrests disproportionately target young African-American men who are then put in a system where they are labeled a criminal and a cycle is started that can lead to unemployment and other criminal activity.
According to the ACLU, whites and African-Americans use marijuana at roughly the same rates, yet African-Americans are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession.
Reason 2, criminalization is doing jack to the number of people using marijuana. The War on Drugs is so far beyond useless that it is not even funny at this point.
The U.S. spends around $51 billion a year on various programs and incentives including law enforcement in order to conduct the so called War on Drugs.
Wow, $51 billion! We must be getting a good return on our investment to spend this money. Every. Single. Year. Wrong, buckaroo.
The United States has some of the most stringent drug enforcement laws in the entire world and still we rank at number one for drug use. A 2016 Gallup poll revealed that 43 percent of U.S. adults have used marijuana at some time in their life and 13 percent use it regularly, up from 7 percent in 2013.
Reason 3, marijuana has legitimate medical purposes. Marijuana is an effective treatment for pain, specifically pain caused through nerve damage. Normal treatments for nerve pain include opioids, which are highly addictive and carry risk for overdose.
Weed also makes you eat! While it is normally the butt of jokes, the “munchies” effect is effective in increasing appetite in people who are receiving treatment for AIDS and cancer. Research also shows that marijuana oils may help decrease the number of seizures in epilepsy patients.
So what do we have? A costly, racist, ineffective prohibition against a near harmless, medically usable plant.
What do we do about it? We make the change happen.
Although I do not partake in weed, myself, I can see no reason why others should not be allowed to do so.
The first prohibition was ended after 13 failed years. We have already had almost 40 years of the War on Drugs, how much longer are we willing to allow this waste to continue?