By Sam Loose | USA
In school, a child will find themselves presented with lectures, booklets, and propaganda claiming that marijuana could ruin their lives. The life-ruining side effects of the plant come not from the substance itself, instead, they find their root in the government’s abuse of power, where one can find themselves facing a harsher sentence for possession of marijuana than a criminal serving time for the atrocities of rape and murder. The war on Marijuana is an ill-founded crusade that has in no way bettered the United States because it is not within the Federal Government’s scope of power to regulate the sale and possession of marijuana, it is a complete waste of taxpayer money, it grows the black market, its regulation results in more deaths than the matter itself, and spores cronyism.
While the Federal Government has completely illegalized marijuana within the United States, including cases of the terminally ill using it for its medical properties, the authority of the government to do such is not dictated in the constitution. The ability of the Central Government to regulate interstate commerce is permitted by Article One, Section Eight, Clause Three of the Constitution of the United States of America. However, not the possession nor the sale of marijuana falls under the regulation of interstate trade as it is the local sale and trade of a good between two consenting individuals. The ninth and tenth amendments delegate the right to the states and the people to define liberties and rights not delegated by the constitution and protects those liberties. Legalization of marijuana is an issue of individual and states rights, not the central authority.
Twenty-Five Billion dollars, Five hundred dollars a second, spent fighting the war on drugs in 2010. Of the largest prison population in the world, the vast majority of Americans behind bars sit in jail for a victimless drug crime. With a recidivism rate of around 70% is it really worth it to overpopulate our prisons, costing billions upon billions of tax dollars, and only creating real criminals? When legalized, marijuana has the effect of not only lowering marijuana use but also lowers addictions to all other drugs. If the goal of the government is a drug-free country, legalizing marijuana would only get more people off of drugs, without massive spending or violations of civil rights. Legalized marijuana can be taxed, which in turn could help to replace the unfair and useless income tax. The solution to drug abuse is not to squander tax money, it is to allow the people to decide what they put in their own bodies.
Banning marijuana has only had the effect of birthing a black market for it. Cartels and gangs soon became the distributor of marijuana; leading to a spike in gang violence. Since the start of its war on drugs, Mexico has seen 80,000 deaths due to gang violence. Unfortunately, Mexico is just one of many participating in the war on drugs. Every year hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians die at the hands of the black market. Cartels are also known to spike their marijuana with other drugs in an attempt to get users addicted to far more potent and addictive drugs. Legalization is inherently accompanied with regulation preventing such practices resulting in fewer drug deaths.
In addition to the multitude of deaths due to the black market, thousands lose their lives in the pursuit of unhealthy alternatives. The abolition of marijuana is a perfect example of such a concept. When American Citizens lost their right to own and use marijuana they sought alternatives, some turned to alcohol(killing 88,000 Americans annually), some turned to smoking(Killing 480,000 Americans annually), and some tuned to prescriptions(Killing 55,000 Americans annually, with the possibility of turning into a heroin addiction).
The sole problem with marijuana is that it reduces the profit margins of big tobacco, big alcohol, and big pharma. Why let people relax with the help of the no addictive marijuana in place of forcing people to buy your product, become addicted, and stay a lifelong consumer? Why allow someone use a nonaddictive curative substance with actual health benefits opposed shoving opioid or amphetamine based medication down their throat, shortening their lifespan, and making them a slave to the drug. The abolition of marijuana had nothing to do with the danger or side effects of it, rather it was completely driven by profits, greed, and cronyism. In place of allowing the market decide which product is best, the alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical marched to Washington with bribes in hand in exchange for regulation banning the profit stealing miracle substance.
The question is neither shall it or shall it not: rather the question is why? Why should the government be allowed to criminalize a crime without victim while they themselves violate the law of the land? Why is it that a war on drugs has only lead to a surplus of drug use? Why is tax money being burned in the name of a harmless plant? Why are the only victims of this war victims of nothing but the war, not the substance? Why does the government allow major corporations to force the people to be slaves to their product? Why?