“It’s easier for children to get marijuana than alcohol. Why? Because alcohol is controlled by the government, and marijuana is controlled by illegal drug dealers who don’t ask for ID. We’ve got this huge, colossal bureaucracy to fight the War on Drugs – to keep drugs away from our children – and it is absolutely having the opposite effect.” said Jim Gray, retired Republican-appointed judge from conservative Orange County (Dickinson).
Since Richard Nixon started the “War on Drugs” in 1971, there’s been much policy debate on how to handle drug punishment, treatment, prevention, decriminlization (which allows just for fines to be imposed), and legalization. While harsher penalties were invoked over the years, so was government spending of incarceration of these individuals, with no decrease in drug usage through the population (regarding every illicit drug) over the past forty years cbd oil for anxiety in cats.
The United States is now best known as the world’s largest market for drugs despite their prohibition-based drug control policy. Much of the cocaine and heroin that flows through the United States comes from foreign sources, but amphetamines along with LSD and Ecstasy is produced in the United States, and while some seem to think the nations “marijuana problem” is due to the cartels in Mexico, at least a third of it that’s consumed is grown within the United States. With crackdowns on foreign suppliers through the years, U.S. production soared. Specifically speaking of marijuana, California and Hawaii took advantage of the foreign drug policy and produced many farms. Once their operations were forced to be taken down, growers just began moving production to scattered areas and indoors.
As a cash crop, marijuana has a greater value to farmers than tobacco, what, or cotton, in many states being the largest revenue-producing crop. Only corn, soybeans, and hay rank as more profitable cash crops as marijuana growers get an estimated $15.1 billion with the wholesale market. Moving from the wholesale level, drug dealing is one of the very few kinds of well-paid employment available with the young in poor urban areas. Whats less well reported is that most of the nations drug production is among the nations poorest areas. Through parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia, marijuana has “become a substantial component of the local economy, surpassing even tobacco as the largest cast crop” says U.S. officials because “in this tri-state area financial development is limited, poverty is rampant, and jobs are few.” This can be shown through the unemployment rate through the area, as rates are usually 2-6% percent higher than either California or the United States (Profile).
If drug reform is indeed needed, how far do we need to go with it? While illicit drugs have been tossed into debate in the past (such as MDMA) the marijuana issue has been the one drug that the nation has been (recently) pushing for policy reform. The debate no longer revolves around the harms of marijuana, as it has in the past. Stephen Kisely cites that cannabis produces “acute effects include accidents with motor vehicles or machinery, and adverse reactions. In the longer-term, cannabis has been associated with cognitive impairment and psychosis, although not consistently, and direct causality is more difficult to establish than for acute effects.” The Runciman Report, which is commissioned by the Police Federation in the United Kingdom, concluded that both alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than cannabis, yet there has been no push for controlling those uses.
One argument many opponents bring up for the justification of prohibition of marijuana has been the increase in potency through the years and the idea of it being a “gateway drug”. Studies through the years (such as one held at The Science and Technology Committee of the United Kingdom House of Commons) have found no evidence to support this theory, even noting that most marijuana users never move on to more harmful drugs. Alcohol and Tobacco was even noted as having stronger evidence to being gateway drugs by the TSTC. Regarding the potency issue, this would probably be due to the drug’s illegal status. As bootleggers would increase the potency and amount of alcohol in their beer and “spirits” during the prohibition of alcohol, much can be said of marijuana’s growing and selling in today’s age.
So what options are on the table for dealing with this issue of the “War on Drugs” (which was uncoined by the new drug czar) and specifically dealing with marijuana prohibition. Health education has pretty much proved to be a dud, as the past forty years a number of commercials, ads, and general announcements have been made of the dangers of drugs. Through all this usage has just continued to rise. Through a comparison study of the United States, Australia, Canada, and 3 European countries showed that marijuana consumption isn’t affected by expenditure on law enforcement. With so much being invested on incarceration of marijuana users, money is essentially being taken away for treatment, research, and prevention for users. While punishment may seem like the easiest method, economically speaking it leaves a big dent in government expenditures for help programs.
Looking abroad towards the Netherlands, where marijuana was decriminalized 25 years ago, usage is well below the United States. Liberalization of the law on marijuana in the UK led to a reduction in arrests for cannabis possession by one-third the next year, saving 199,000 police hours without any increase in cannabis use. Public policy seems to have little affect on consumption at all actually. Liberal countries have low usage rates while countries with prohibition had high usage rates (Kisely).
The cost of this “war” goes beyond financial aspects. Careers are ruined and incomes are lost. Imprisoning what would be otherwise law-abiding citizens for marijuana use can criminalize and have harsh consequences, financially and mentally. With many being around the poverty level, criminal penalties can be very difficult to deal with.
Tobacco smoking is falling in high-income countries. Using Canada as an example, anti-smoking strategies have concentrated on demand rather than supply, interventions favoured for marijuana users, tax increases, health education, restriction on smoking in work and public places, advertising bans, and better access to treatment. Yet when the supply initiative is directed towards tobacco, limiting production has had little success, and prohibition of tobacco isn’t even an option.