- Cannabis prohibition has led to a brutal black market.
Sometimes this market benefits an average Joe just looking to get by, and to us that’s fine, but behind the curtains it vastly benefits criminal organizations, handing them a method of financial empowerment. This fuels violent crime throughout the country, and world. Many of the most dangerous criminal syndicates get a majority of their profit from the illegal cannabis market.
For example; Mexican drug cartels, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in recent years, gain roughly 60% of their profit from U.S. cannabis sales.
- Cannabis prohibition has inflated our prison population with nonviolent individuals.
It’s a statistic that’s often used, but remains factual and powerful: As a nation, we possess 5% of the world’s population, yet harbor over 25% of the world’s prisoners. The failed war on drugs – which has primarily been a war on cannabis – plays a large part in this.
- Cannabis prohibition ruins lives.
Whether it’s a person being sentenced to life in prison, a child being taken from his or her parent, a student losing college loans and grant money, a parent being refused employment or food stamps because of a current or past cannabis related conviction, etc., cannabis prohibition consistently destroys the lives of those undeserving of punishment – all over their choice to use a safer alternative to legal substances such as alcohol.
- Legalization would create jobs.
If we legalize one of the top cash crops in the country, we’ll legitimatize an industry that will quickly generate tens of thousands of jobs throughout the state and nation. Medical cannabis has already created thousands of jobs in states where it’s allowed, yet these workers, ridiculously so, remain subject to arrest. Our national job market isn’t strong enough to ignore this expansive industry.
- Cannabis is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Legalization would bring a substantial and worthy revenue boost at a time when we could desperately use it. The cannabis market, if brought above ground, is projected to be an industry worth nearly $50 billion.
- Prohibition disproportionately affects minorities.
Studies consistently show this to be true. For example; according to past reports, African-Americans and Hispanics make up 20% of cannabis consumers in the country, yet comprise nearly 60% of those sentenced under federal law. Further reports show that African-Americans to be 250% more likely to be arrested for a marijuana offense than someone who’s white, and 8 times more likely to go to jail for a drug offense.
- Cannabis is a vastly beneficial medicine.
Despite this, prohibition leads to us refusing to take full advantage of what this plant has to offer. On top of this, we continue to imprison and ruin the lives of qualified medical patients. We need to repeal cannabis prohibition in order to fully protect those who truly need it, and so that we can end the federal blockade on further research.
- An end to cannabis prohibition is an end to hemp prohibition.
Hemp is one of the most diverse and useful products on the planet. It’s illegality is a travesty, as is the fact that, according to congressional research, we import hundreds of millions of dollars of hemp from Canada and China, rather than allowing our farmers to take advantage of this useful crop. According to the same research, the hemp market likely consist of over 25,000 various products.
- Cannabis is a non-lethal and therapeutically beneficial substance
No amount of cannabis consumption has any effect on mortality, and is an excellent therapeutic substance. Adults should have the right to use without fear of criminal prosecution.
As former DEA Judge Francis Young stated in 1988, “In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume….it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”
- Cannabis is simply a plant.
Outlawing nature in its rawest form should always be seen as unacceptable, especially when it’s in the form of a non-lethal, medically beneficial plant.
[Editor’s Note: Sources are hyperlinked throughout the article.]