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Are you one of the almost 57 million Americans living in a state
that’s voting on marijuana legalization this Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016?
Your vote YES may help end the criminality of marijuana for over one out
of six Americans, bringing the total to almost one out of four
Americans who will live in a legal state.
Here are the ten best reasons to help convince your friends and family to do the right thing and vote YES on legalization:
1) Legalized Marijuana is Safer than Alcohol and Tobacco
How did we end up in a society where the two most damaging drugs—alcohol and tobacco—are the two legal ones? There are over a half-million deaths annually from
those two substances. They also lead to countless illnesses and
injuries that affect society in health-care costs, lost productivity,
and law-enforcement expenses.
Marijuana is non-toxic and has never caused a fatal overdose in over
7,000 years of recorded human use. Its greatest harm is the arrest,
incarceration, and lifelong hurdles created by prohibition. Opponents
worry about “putting a third legal drug on the menu,” as if marijuana
isn’t already the third-most popular drug used in America. It’s already
on the menu; you just have to commit a crime to order it.
2) Marijuana Prohibition is a Costly Failure
Next year is the 80th anniversary of the Marihuana Tax
Act, our first nationwide attempt to suppress pot smoking. Back then,
maybe a few hundred thousand people nationwide were “smoking reefers”.
Today, it’s more likely than not that someone under age 50 has tried pot
and there are over 30 million Americans consuming cannabis on a regular
basis—whether it is “on the menu” or not.
The costs of this counter-productive prohibition are staggering.
Since President Nixon declared a war on drugs, over 25 million Americans
have been arrested for marijuana violations, costing us over $1
trillion to prosecute. But in the four states that have legalized,
marijuana arrests have plummeted, crime has decreased, and youth use
The drug trade has long been a source of income for organized crime.
But now that four states have legalized marijuana; their domestic
product is beating imported Mexican marijuana in both price and quality.
Mexican farmers growing for the vicious violent drug cartels have seen
their returns drop from $100 per kilo to under $25.
Legalization isn’t going to put the cartels out of business—they’re
criminals who will turn to other crimes for their funding. But we can
take from them the market for the most widely-used drug and shrink their
customer base substantially.
Heres another way to look at it: Why should we continue to give
business opportunities to violent criminals who don’t pay taxes and
follow no regulations?
4) Marijuana Prohibition Hurts Youth & Minorities Most
America is coming to grips with institutional racism in our
criminal-justice system. Marijuana prohibition has been a prime factor
in fueling that racism. African-Americans are four times more likely
than whites to be arrested for marijuana violations, even though they
use and sell marijuana at about the same rates.
Marijuana prohibition sets up an incentive for police to make easy
arrests and reap forfeiture and drug grant dollars. This, in turn, leads
police to concentrate on minority neighborhoods where pot smokers are
more easily caught and have fewer resources to fight the charges. This
contributes to the cycle of distrust between minority communities and
the police. Legalization won’t fix bad racist cops, but it will provide
them far less opportunity to act on their racism.
5) Legalized Marijuana Protects Kids Better Than Prohibition
For the past forty years, the Monitoring the Future survey has asked
high school seniors how easy it would be for them to get a bag of pot.
For forty years, the answer has consistently been between 80 to 91
percent of them claiming access to marijuana was either “easy” or
“fairly easy.” That’s because weed dealers don’t check ID and don’t lose
a license if they’re caught selling to a kid.
Nothing’s ever going to stop a determined kid from finding a joint,
any more than kids today aren’t completely stopped from accessing
alcohol and tobacco. But with those drugs, somewhere along the line a
corrupt adult had to be involved. Now, kids sell weed to other kids.
Legalization moves weed sales into secure, adults-only stores and
reduces the profit potential for illegal sales. (When’s the last time
you saw a high school tequila dealer?) Last year, with four legalized
states, was the first year ever that “easy” access to weed for 12th graders dropped below 80 percent.
6) Legalized Marijuana is a Safe Therapeutic Supplement
While half the states have initiated protections for medical use of
marijuana, that doesn’t legalize the use of marijuana by patients. Even
in California, where nearly anybody can get a medical marijuana
recommendation and possession of less than an ounce is just a $100
ticket, there are still over 2,000 people a year who go to jail for
marijuana alone, serving an average of over five months in a cage.
That’s because doctor’s visits and medical cards cost money; it costs
upwards of $400 in some states to qualify and register for a medical
marijuana card. Why should a disabled person in poverty or a sick person
suffering a condition not covered by law be treated as a criminal for
using an herb safer than over-the-counter aspirin or cough syrup?
America is suffering from an opioid overdose epidemic. Legal
pharmaceutical drugs kill more people annually than all illegal drugs
combined. Marijuana is an herb one can grow at little cost and use to
replace over 17 popular pharmaceutical medications. Legalizing marijuana
will literally save the lives of countless patients.
The pharmaceutical industry knows this. That’s why Big Pharma has been funding anti-pot campaigns. This
election, one of them, Insys Pharmaceuticals, has donated a
half-million dollars to defeat legalization in Arizona. They’re a maker
of Fentanyl, the opioid painkiller that took Prince’s life and is 100
times more powerful that heroin, and are seeking patents on synthetic
cannabinoid drugs they’re researching.
8) Legalized Marijuana Opens the Possibilities of Industrial Hemp
The demonization of marijuana is so entrenched in America that we
even ban the non-psychoactive variety known as industrial hemp. We are
one of the few countries in the world engaged in the lunacy of banning a
plant because it looks like one that gets you high.
It’s a little like banning powdered sugar because it resembles cocaine!
While many states have passed laws allowing for industrial hemp
cultivation and the federal government has passed laws allowing that to
happen, these are all work-arounds for a crop that our Founding Fathers
grew freely and copiously. Marijuana legalization will help open up the
uses of hemp from food to fuel, fiber to medicine, building material to
revolutionary energy technologies and more.
9) Legalized Marijuana Raises Millions in New Tax Revenue
Legalization doesn’t invent marijuana; it just recognizes that it is a
popular commodity that should be taxed and regulated like all other
commodities. The market for marijuana is never going to go away; we can
only determine who controls most of it—taxpaying, job-creating,
law-abiding businesses, or murderous, police-corrupting, criminal
Prohibition doesn’t control marijuana—prohibition is the absence of control.
States under prohibition gain nothing from it and spend money, time,
and resources enforcing it. The four states that have legalized
marijuana have already reaped over $200 million in combined tax revenue,
while saving money in the police department, courts, prisons, parole
and probation offices, and other agencies that are burdened by pot
10) Legalized Marijuana Works!
It’s not 2009 anymore. Legalization of marijuana isn’t some
hypothetical policy proposal—we’ve done it already in four other states.
We had some initial difficulties concerning kids and edibles, but those
have been addressed through education, labeling, and packaging changes
the newly-legalizing states will adopt as well. Meanwhile, the older
folks that legalization was intended for have increased their use
But despite putting legal marijuana “on the menu,” the roads are
safer than ever, overall driving fatalities are down, workplace
productivity is up, problematic dependence on marijuana is unchanged,
and millions of dollars in tax revenue are rolling in. In Colorado
alone, legalization has created over 18,000 jobs and contributed over
$2.5 billion to the state economy.