America needs a paradigm shift in the manner it deals with products that affect our moods, psyche, and our overall well-being. We must do so based on data instead of ideology. Deprogramming many will be difficult. But marijuana must be decriminalized in its entirety.
Houston cannabis activist, Ashley Miller, appeared on Politics Done Right to bring awareness to many issues about marijuana aka weed aka cannabis. Her goal was first to dispel the notion that there are any valid reasons why marijuana is illegal. And second, to activate Americans both locally and throughout the country. As one listens to all the arguments and discourse about marijuana, there can only be one conclusion. The product should not be illegal.
Here are some interesting facts about alcohol.
- 2,000+ Americans die every year from alcohol poisoning.
- 1.4 million alcohol-related acts of violence are committed each year.
- Nearly 10,000 people are killed annually on U.S. Roadways for alcohol-related accidents.
- Alcohol is involved in more homicides across the United States compared to other substances, like heroin and cocaine. In fact, about 40 percent of convicted murderers had used alcohol before or during the crime.
- An estimated 37 percent of sexual assaults and rapes are committed by offenders who were under the influence of alcohol.
- Roughly four in ten child abusers have admitted to being under the influence of alcohol during the time of the offense.
And here are some interesting fact about opioids.
- Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.
- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
- Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.
- The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent from July 2016 through September 2017.
- Opioid overdoses in large cities increased by 54 percent in 16 states
And the facts on marijuana.
- There are no recorded instances of anyone dying from a fatal dose of marijuana alone.
- The first, conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, analyzed insurance claims for vehicle collisions filed between January 2012 and October 2016. The IIHS researchers compared claims in states that had recently legalized marijuana (Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) with claims in similar neighboring states that hadn't.
They found that over that time period, collisions claim frequencies in the states that had legalized marijuana were about 3 percent higher than would have been anticipated without legalization. The researchers characterized that number as small, but significant.
- A second study, published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), that found no increase in vehicle crash fatalities in Colorado and Washington, relative to similar states, after legalization.
Reliable data that associated violent crime to marijuana was hard to come by because even government studies tended to tie cannabis use with alcohol. What is clear is that marijuana legalization did cut violent crimes in implementing states.
It is clear that of the three substances, alcohol, legal virtually unregulated, opioids, legal and regulated, and marijuana, illegal most everywhere, that marijuana is the least dangerous. The question then is why is it that weed is illegal. One cannot help but make calculated assumptions.
Laws on marijuana are changing all the time all over the world. So much so, people struggle to keep up to date with the latest news. Have a look at Marijuana101.Org to keep in the loop with the latest news. Can you imagine what would happen if marijuana was immediately decriminalized nationally? The results from the states that have done it are a net positive. That said, it is easy to see several forces colluding to keep the clamps on keeping marijuana illegal.
Counties would make less money in penalties and fines. They like to tote low taxes as they use draconian law enforcement to make up revenue that should be made from taxes.
The prison industrial complex would lose quite a bit of business. It's not only that they would lose those convicted of marijuana offense, but as the herb is legalized, the reduced violence means that other associated crimes are reduced as well. That means less incarceration.
Most importantly, however, drug companies would likely lose big. Why? There are many ailments where marijuana in one of its many forms may be preferable. As all the proven uses of marijuana go mainstream it cannot help but impact pharmaceutical companies' bottom line.
Anyone who doubts that those realities are not in the back of the minds of the politicians doesn't understand how the country works. Thousands of lives have been destroyed by ridiculous marijuana laws. Because many value money and ideology over humanity, thousands of more lives are likely to be destroyed before real change comes. It is up to us to enlighten others to force the change.