Although marijuana has been legalized for recreational and medical use in nine states and is legal for medicinal use in 25 states, it makes up 43 percent of all drug arrests. To put it another way, someone got arrested for marijuana possession every 49 seconds in 2017. Is the war on drugs unfairly targeting marijuana users?
There are two ways to look at this. For example, a total of 643,000 people were handcuffed and arrested because of marijuana last year, according to the FBI. We can either look at it as getting drug offenders off the streets, or as unnecessarily harsh punishment for having a small amount of the drug for personal use.
A Growing Majority Supports Legalization
The reform group, Marijuana Majority, reports that a growing number of people support full legalization of marijuana.
What would full legalization mean for the occasional user? It means they wouldn’t have their entire life ruined by getting caught with a joint in their possession.
For instance, misdemeanor or criminal marijuana convictions can lead to:
- Inability to adopt a child in 38 states.
- Suspension of driver’s license for 6 months in 21 states.
- Revoked professional licenses in 20 states.
- No access to public housing for three years in 46 states.
- No federal financial aid for a year in 28 states.
What would legalization mean to a dealer? More customers, more profits. But, it could also mean more competition to a dealer as more people decide to get in on the profitable action.
Who Pays the Highest Price in the War on Marijuana?
According to a report by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the war on marijuana costs taxpayers $3.6 billion every year. On another note, the government rakes in billions in cash and assets that they seize from those who are arrested for marijuana sales or possession. This practice is known as “policing for profit.”
So, who suffers most? Society as a whole suffers because the costs are usually passed along to taxpayers in one way or another. Not to mention the costs for each person who is incarcerated for possession or dealing.
It’s somewhat ironic. On the one hand, a lot of people are making a lot of money from this little green plant. On the other hand, many people are struggling in life because they chose to experiment with marijuana.
A Mixed Blessing and a Curse
Marijuana is a mixed blessing in many ways. However, it is also a curse. In medical use, the benefits are surprising. However, recreational use there are some side effects that cause health problems after heavy or prolonged use.
As with prescription drugs, proper use of marijuana can bring a wealth of healing and pain relief for millions of people. On the other hand, the results can be life altering or deadly with abuse. These are also reasons for targeting marijuana users.
Some of the side effects of prolonged or heavy abuse of marijuana include:
- Decreased learning capabilities
- A shortened attention span
- Weakened verbal communication skills
- Depression, suicidal thoughts
- Anxiety, mood swings
- Same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers
- Dependency or addiction
As the controversy over marijuana continues, the need for treatment for those who are dependent or addicted is a daily concern across the country. For this reason, targeting marijuana users may be one way to bring down the number of adverse consequences of marijuana abuse.
Benefits of Targeting Marijuana Users
Many marijuana users need professional treatment to overcome their substance abuse. If you or someone you know needs help for marijuana abuse, please contact us today. Remember, even though marijuana is legal in many states, it can still have serious side effects. “Legal” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe.”
engage.drugpolicy.org – Drug Laws are Destroying Lives for No Reason
ucr.fbi.gov – Crime in the United States