US Policy on Drugs was driven by the Drug War, the U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as most Western European nations. The United States is a close second only to Russia in its rate of incarceration per 100,000 people. In 2010, more than 746,000 people were arrested in the USA for marijuana-related offenses alone.
- 6th of November 2012 marijuana was legalized for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state. People over the age of 21 can possess up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use. At least these people can now carry weed without worrying about the police arresting them.
- 31st of May 2013 former Mexican president Vincente Fox states that he wants marijuana to be legalized in Mexico and the USA.
- 10th December 2013 Uruguay becomes the first country to legalize growing, selling and smoking marijuana. However tourists will not be able to legally purchase cannabis.
- 1st January 2014 Colorado became the world’s first state licensed marijuana industry which started to sell weed to residents and non residents. In the Netherlands you have been allowed to purchase and smoke cannabis since 1976. Ironically the Dutch have never actually legalized marijuana.
- 19th January 2014 Another significant milestone for the legalization of marijuana. President Obama says that marijuana is less damaging than alcohol in terms of the impact on the individual consumer.
- 26th February 2014 A recent poll of residents in Texas show that 49% of Texans support legalization of marijuana and 77% support the legalization of medical marijuana. This is a great sign that the majority of people in the USA think marijuana should be legalized. Texas can be considered one of the most conservative states in the USA.
- 4th November 2014 Oregon becomes the 3rd state to legalize recreational marijuana. Washington, DC also legalizes marijuana.
- 4th November 2014 Alaska becomes the 4th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Alaskans voted 53-47% to end decades of harmful and ineffective marijuana prohibition, and replace it with a system in which marijuana is taxed and regulated like alcohol.
- 16th January 2015 These are the 8 states that are most likely to legalize cannabis next.
- 10th March 2015 Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Cory Booker of New Jersey push through a bill to remove federal prohibitions on medical marijuana in the 23 legalized medical marijuana states.
- 20th March 2015 Three senators push to rewrite federal drug laws in relation to marijuana. They are pushing to at least decriminalize marijuana for medical use.
- 25th March 2015 Five states that are looking to legalize marijuana. The states are Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.
- 11th September 2015 Florida could legalize recreational and medical marijuana in 2016.
- 16th September 2015 There is growing support to legalize marijuana globally. Italy, Denmark and the United Kingdom are showing strong support to legalize cannabis.
- 1st May 2017 Come July 2018. Canada is to fully legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use thanks to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
The US war on drugs places great emphasis on arresting people for smoking marijuana. Since 1990, approximately 17 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined. In 2010, state and local law enforcement arrested 746,000 people for marijuana violations. This is an increase of 800 percent since 1980 and the highest per capita in the world.
As has been the case throughout the 1990s, 2000’s and continues that the overwhelming majority of those charged with marijuana violations were for simple possession, around 88%. The remaining 12% were for “sale/manufacture”, an FBI category which includes marijuana grown for personal use or purely medical purposes. These new FBI statistics indicate that one marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. Taken together, the total number of marijuana arrests for 2010 far exceeded the combined number of arrests for violent crimes, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Like most Americans, people who smoke marijuana also pay taxes, love and support their families, and work hard to make a better life for their children. Suddenly they are arrested, jailed and treated like criminals solely because of their recreational drug of choice. State agencies frequently step in and declare children of marijuana smokers to be “in danger”, and many children are placed into foster homes as a result. This causes enormous pain, suffering and financial hardship for millions of American families. It also engenders distrust and disrespect for the law and for the criminal justice system overall.
Responsible marijuana smokers present no threat or danger to America or its children, and there is no reason to treat them as criminals, or to take their children away. As a society we need to find ways to discourage personal conduct of all kinds that is abusive or harmful to others. Responsible marijuana smokers are not the problem and it is time to stop arresting them.
Once all the facts are known, it becomes clear that America’s marijuana laws need reform.
This issue must be openly debated using only the facts. Groundless claims, meaningless statistics, and exaggerated scare stories that have been peddled by politicians and prohibitionists for the last 60 years must be rejected.
Like any substance, marijuana can be abused. The most common problem attributed to marijuana is frequent overuse, which can induce lethargic behavior, but does not cause serious health problems. Marijuana can cause short-term memory loss, but only while under the influence. Marijuana does not impair long-term memory. Marijuana does not lead to harder drugs.
Marijuana does not cause brain damage, genetic damage, or damage the immune system. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not kill brain cells or induce violent behavior Continuous long-term smoking of marijuana can cause bronchitis, but the chance of contracting bronchitis from casual marijuana smoking is minuscule. Respiratory health hazards can be totally eliminated by consuming marijuana via non-smoking methods, i.e., ingesting marijuana via baked foods, tincture, or vaporizer.
A 1997 UCLA School of Medicine study (Volume 155 of the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine) conducted on 243 marijuana smokers over an 8-year period reported the following: “Findings from the long-term study of heavy, habitual marijuana smokers argue against the concept that continuing heavy use of marijuana is a significant risk factor for the development of chronic lung disease.”
Neither the continuing nor the intermittent marijuana smokers exhibited any significantly different rates of decline in lung function as compared with those individuals who never smoked marijuana.” The study concluded: “No differences were noted between even quite heavy marijuana smoking and non-smoking of marijuana.”
Marijuana does not cause serious health problems like those caused by tobacco or alcohol (e.g., strong addiction, cancer, heart problems, birth defects, emphysema, liver damage, etc.). Death from a marijuana overdose is impossible. In all of world history, there has never been a single human death attributed to a health problem caused by marijuana. Legalize marijuana and life would be better for most people.