This is all happening so fast my head is spinning. The country is in upheaval. Can’t wait till all these prudes shut up about marijuana.
663,032: Number of marijuana possession arrests.
3,600,000,000: The amount of money states spend enforcing marijuana possession laws.
4,000: An estimate of the number of people actually in prison for marijuana possession.
So just so everyone is on the same page; at the state level alone, 3.6 billion dollars is spent to enforce marijuana related laws. This culminates in ~650,000 arrests. Of those arrests less than 1% end up in jail. Seem like a HUGE waste of time and money if you ask me. I think a lot of people who argue against legalization don’t realize just how much damage an arrest does. Even if you’re not convicted every job you ever apply for is going to ask you if you have been arrested and why. For someone without a fancy schmancy lawyer, probably 90% of those arrested, that means they are now disadvantaged for their entire life. Of course people who have been arrested or convicted of crimes often return to crime. It’s not like anyone is going to hire them.
A lot of the people against legalization come up with the same arguments, which have no real backing considering cigarettes and booze are legal. Every argument about how pot stunts young kids mentally can be said about alcohol. If you’re getting drunk at 12, 13, 14, which are the ages I assume they’re talking about, you’re going to be just as fucked up as if you smoked all the time.
“Whether the age is set at 18 or 21, he said, legalization would send ‘a signal to children that marijuana is OK.'” Because sending the message that cigarettes are OK is way better. We have years upon years of data that cigarettes are one of the most addictive things ever invented and that they contain carcinogens and smoking them leads to an incredibly elevated risk of lung cancer. Those are facts. We have only hypotheticals on the damage marijuana does, and only a small amount of research on the benefits marijuana provides. In case anyone was keeping score at home, there is no literature that says that cigarettes provide any benefits to the smoker in any way.
I think legalization is a double bonus in terms of money made off of marijuana taxes and money not spent on trying to enforce the current laws. If we could give public teachers the resources and raises that they deserve, its well worth whatever hypothetical detriment legalization could have on “society.”