Last night, my wonderful wife Keri asked me how my “40 blog posts in 40 days” was going, knowing full well I hadn’t written anything since my initial post. She was very excited that I appeared to have fallen on my face.
Unfortunately for her, this was not the case. I quickly reminded her that 40/40 was a goal that my brother in law Maurice had. I simply wanted to start writing again. And since I wanted to write about topics that can be polarizing, I wanted to make sure that when I DO write, I’ve got my opinions clear and my facts straight.
Which leads me to the topic of the day, marijuana legalization, which I started thinking about after reading an article discussing how much money is spent on prevention.
I have yet to hear a compelling argument for the continued prohibition of this drug. Like anything, over indulging is not good for you. But the law isn’t stopping people who want to use marijuana excessively from doing so. It isn’t saving lives, or keeping violent criminals off the streets.
What many people don’t know is that Marijuana has only been illegal in the US since 1937. This is a full 4 years after the prohibition of alcohol ENDED. The reason for outlawing it? The Federal Bureau of narcotics ran a smear campaign, claiming that cannabis users were insane, suicidal and had murderous intentions, despite scientific evidence that proved otherwise.
In other words, it was outlawed for literally no reason.
So, just like we accepted for decades that women can’t vote, non-whites are 2nd class citizens and homosexuals can’t serve in the military, we continue to accept the fact that marijuana is a drug that will destroy our society, despite factual and circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
Fast forward to today.
In the last decade, the state of WA has spent $210,000,000 cannabis crime prevention. That’s $210,000,000 to prevent and prosecute the use of a drug which was outlawed for no factual reason over 70 years ago. I know there are at least 3 (and soon to be 4) teachers reading this right now. Mind you, the “prevention” doesn’t actually stop anyone from getting it. And any crime related to marijuana (besides possessing or using it) is typically caused by the fact that it’s illegal. Like the people who steal energy from the county so that their grow house doesn’t set off red flags by using abnormal amounts of electricity. I can’t help but wonder what $210,000,000, or even a fraction of it, would have done for the WA st school system?
This is a drug that is not physically addictive, like alcohol or tobacco. You can’t overdose, like every other drug out there. The plant itself can be used to make all kinds of products from paper to clothing. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a stoned driver causing a car accident. Not that I think it doesn’t happen from time to time, but clearly it’s much less frequent than alcohol.
Now, like anything, used irresponsibly, it can cause harm. I’m not denying that. But the harm it causes is insignificant compared to the harm caused by other legal drugs, including prescription medication. And even some other vices like gambling.
For that matter, the people who oppose legalization point to health issues. Well, I hate to say it, but McDonalds is pretty darn unhealthy too, let’s outlaw cheeseburgers to save Americans from themselves! Or better yet, TOBACCO, a drug that actually causes health issues for people who don’t even smoke.
Am I saying we should all fire up the bong? No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying it’s baffling to me that we continue to spend almost $60,000 per day to enforce this law at a time when our school system is practically broke. We might want to double check our priorities. You want to take half that money and dump it in to better health education, which includes mood altering drugs? Fine by me! But let’s stop wasting our money enforcing a law that was only passed because of a smear campaign in 1936 that was comprised of nothing but lies, which were proven false at the time.
I understand that shifting $21,000,000 from marijuana prevention to education isn’t as simple as saying it, but you have to start somewhere. Let’s stop wasting our money trying to run other people’s lives and start spending it where it belongs… on our future.