Posted: 04/16/17 22:32
by Dave Mindeman
I found this somewhat interesting....
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuana is "not a factor" in the war on drugs and that solving the nation's drug problem does not involve "arresting a lot of users."
I have been convinced for some time now that marijuana is less of an abuse problem than alcohol and not a so-called gateway drug. At least Kelly seems to be moving in that direction.
We spend so much time and energy with marijuana law enforcement, its trafficking, and the incarceration of users that we failed to examine why we consider it illegal....and as near as I can tell, we no longer know why. I have long held the belief that if marijuana was simply legalized and law enforcement could spend their time and effort on more important things, and if we could keep purchasers from using illegal sources that place them in the illegal drug culture, then marijuana would virtually cease to be a "drug" problem.
In 2015, the number of arrests for drug law violation was 1,488,707. The number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation was 643,121. That is 44% of the total. And 89% of those 640,000, were for POSSESSION ONLY. In addition, the % of offenders who are black or Latino is 57%....even though use and sale are done at the same rate as whites.
Here are some other statistics of note....
Over 200,000 students have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction.
Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 28 + District of Columbia.
Number of states that have approved legally taxing and regulating marijuana: 8 (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington)- as of 2015.
Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion.
The annual cost for the "war on drugs" in the US is $51 billion. And this is while drug treatment programs are being cut at the Federal level.
We have all of this so backwards. But at least Gen. Kelly has started to get the proper context. What he needs to do next is to convince our nation's police and law enforcement that it is in everybody's interest to end this useless war on drugs - especially when it comes to marijuana.
When Minnesota takes up marijuana law changes, it is police departments that put up the most strenuous objection. Maybe they should be learning what General Kelly is learning...because they need to change their mind. It will be of great benefit to their ability to do their job.