Yesterday President Obama and his administration released a new National Drug Control Strategy that completely opposes the legalization of marijuana. This might pose future problems if California legalizes marijuana this November. What’s going to happen if California grants every adult in the state the right to enjoy herb recreationally?
The National Drug Control Strategy states “this Administration firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug.” Their new strategy relies on old notions like prohibition reduces the availability of marijuana. 75 years ago, during the Great Depression, we learned that alcohol was much easier to obtain while it was banned than during any other time in history. And, the same is true about marijuana.
Not only does marijuana prohibition make weed more easily accessible and readily available it increases its allure as well as its cost not only for the herb itself but to society both financially and morally. In the US last year, more than 800,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges. Not only does that ruin lives, it costs an enormous amount of money to arrest, convict and incarcerate people for nonviolent drug offenses while the possibility of accruing massive tax revenue from legal sales withers on vine.
According to the White House drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, the War on Drugs is far from over. He says the new strategy “Changes the whole discussion about ending the war on drugs and recognizes that we have a responsibility to reduce our own drug use in this country.”
The current War on Drugs program spends about twice as much money on enforcement as it does on programs to reduce demand. So, to even things out during this economic recession, Kerlikowske is requesting a 13 percent increase to ratchet up drug prevention programs and a 3.7 percent increase for addiction treatment.
The Justice Department, last year, said it would not seek to arrest users or providers of medical marijuana, so long as they are in compliance with state laws, but they’ve not said anything about what will happened when or if state laws are changed by the people via a ballot initiative. Seriously, what’s going to happen if the state of California grants every adult the basic human RIGHT to smoke weed?
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