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Don't alcohol and tobacco use already cause enough damage to society?
While there are indeed health and societal problems due to the use of alcohol and nicotine, these negative consequences would be amplified if consumption of either substance were prohibited.
Think back to the prohibition era.
The Demon Alcohol was outlawed and drinking was forbidden and criminalized.
Bootleggers and gangsters ran the streets and crime waves swept the country.
Instead of causing the country to stop drinking as these laws were intended to do by the christian right, they forced an underground movement that in some instances involved the local governments of city's town's and whole states in a lucrative enterprise that had it's profits driven ever higher by the laws that were passed to stop it from being available.
Marijuana is already the third most popular recreational drug in America, despite harsh laws against its use. Millions of Americans smoke it responsibly. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.
The fact is marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco yet both remain legal consumables in the United States and are even for-sale in your neighborhood convenience store.
Marijuana fails to inflict the types of serious health consequences these two legal drugs cause.
Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning.
From 2001–2005, there were approximately 79,000 deaths annually attributable to excessive alcohol use.
Excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for people in the United States each year.
Tobacco smoking kills at least 5 million people around the planet every year with about 443,000 U.S. deaths attributable to legal cigarettes each year. Another 8.6 million people have a serious illness caused by tobacco smoking. Have a look at the US CDC Website for the tobacco statistics and alcohol statistics if you want to fact check the tobacco claims.
No one is suggesting there should be more drug use.
I am also not suggesting that legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana will cause a huge increase in the use of it. I am simply saying that we should stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers and wasting valuable legal resources in our country.
In recent years, we have significantly reduced the prevalence of drunk driving and tobacco smoking by educating our youth of the consequences of there use.
We have not achieved these lower level figures by prohibiting the use of alcohol and tobacco or by targeting and arresting adults who use alcohol and tobacco responsibly.
We have used honest educational campaigns.
We should apply these same principles to the responsible consumption of marijuana.
The negative consequences primarily associated with marijuana, such as an arrest or jail time, are the result of the criminal prohibition of cannabis, not the use of marijuana itself.
The jail time threat doesn't seem to be working at this point and the waste of our national budget on the housing or marijuana related "criminals" could be better put to use elsewhere.
Click here to read Part III of this article: What about industrial hemp and the value it could add to our economic situation?
Click here to read Part I of this article: Could marijuana and industrial hemp feed our starving economy?
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