As we all know, "growing up is hard to do".
As a Nation, we’re still relatively young in age, and as is the case with most young, growing minds, we generally take the "trial and error" approach to problem solving (and therefore to obtaining knowledge). Of course, the ultimate success of this method is predicated on an ability to detect error, and unfortunately, as individuals and as a Country, we are often blind or oblivious to such "errors", and hence engage in trials which are needlessly lengthy, not to mention costly (on a number of levels). Such extended trials can be seen as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results", which of course was Einstein’s definition of "insanity".
Well my friends, as individuals, and as a Country, it is time to open our eyes, recognize the error, discontinue this trial, and stop the insanity.
It is time to legalize Marijuana.
This Wednesday, Chicago Alderman Danny Solis will introduce an ordinance that decriminalizes marijuana possession, (10 grams or less), with "offenders" now receiving $200 tickets, as well as a life long record. A slight departure from the standard erroneous trial-yes, a local step towards sanity, which many other cities and states have already made- great; but facts, common sense, reality, they all demand more than baby steps, they demand a collective leap, they demand outright legalization.
743 out of every 100,000 Americans are in prison. That comes out to roughly 2.3 million people behind bars. For the patriotic optimists out there, both those numbers are good/bad enough for tops in the world, so in other words, no country is as good as us, at locking up their own citizens-yay America! (BTW China has 4x the population, yet only 1.6 million prisoners).
According to the US Department of Justice, roughly a third of all these inmates are imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses, with over 41,000 jailed (not including County/Local Jails) solely due to marijuana offenses. (That’s more than the number imprisoned on all charges combined, in eight individual European Union countries)
It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of those arrested and jailed for drug offenses, are minorities (in Chicago, 78% of those arrested, and 90% of those convicted, are minorities).This of course is despite the fact that Caucasians are just as likely to use illegal drugs as minorities.
So what does locking up non-violent pot offenders cost taxpayers annually? Around $1 Billion. A lot of money yes, but an amount that is dwarfed by the $8 billion spent annually in simply enoforcing Marijuana laws. (Law Enforcement costs , 800,000 arrests, court costs, etc).
Well the expensive means must at least result in the desired end….deterrence/less marijuana use…right?
A 2010 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, found that marijuana use among Americans aged 12 and older, rose from 5.8 percent in 2007 to 6.9 percent in 2010. That equates to 17.4 million American teens and adults....who were honest on the survey. That’s 17.4 million (plus 5-10 million liars) "black market consumers", consumers who spend billions of dollars annually on marijuana.
Well I gotta say, that seems like a thriving, highly profitable industry to me; I wonder if I know anyone who could benefit from such a thing.
Oh yea, the United States of America.
It is estimated that if Marijuana was legalized and taxed much the way alcohol and tobacco are, it could generate anywhere from $40-$100 Billion in revenue annually. (If the cost of retailing and distribution is the same as for legal tobacco cigarettes-about 10¢ a gram, and is sold around the same price as on the street today-$10 per gram).
Man, that would look good in the "public purse" huh? It could go towards such "luxuries" as modern schools and infrastructure, as well as more cops, firefighters and teachers… and all without raising taxes on billionaires/upsetting Grover Norquist!
But enough of the complicated facts, let’s talk common sense.
Why is alcohol legal…or Vicodin and OxyContin for that matter, and yet marijuana is not?
Because Marijuana is more dangerous-both for the individual and society?
Well it is more addictive.
Well...it's a "Gateway Drug", and moreover, its legalization would begin a slippery slope to complete social destruction (Legal Marijuana one day, kids legally doing lines of coke off the stomachs of terrorists in Grant Park the next).
Because the outdated opinions on marijuana are fueled by myths more than facts, stigmas more than stats, fundamentalism more than science?
Because Marijuana doesn’t have hordes of lobbyists paying off Politicians?
I however, and millions more like me, will continue to fight, not with big checks, but with indisputable facts, not necessarily appealing to individual connections, but to collective common sense.
I am simply an advocate for progress, a fan of laws and policies being based on facts as opposed to fear; a backer of knowledge and common-sense, in their never ending fight against well financed ignorance.
Ultimately, I’m just a fan of what is right.
Sometimes, what is right is inherently clear.
Other times, we figure it out through trial and error.
Well, this erroneous trial has gone on long enough.
Time for it to finally go up in smoke…
Be Good Friends,