Welcome to The Intolerant Lefty Blog! I started this blog of commentary and analysis on some of the most pressing issues of our time that just happen to effect me. From politics to mental health, addiction to psychedelics, I provide my perspective, backed up by facts.
Saturday, October 8, 2022
The Cost of Continued Federal Cannabis Prohibition
"The Cost of Cannabis Prohibition"
It is time to end the Federal prohibition of cannabis. The costs of these laws far outweigh any benefits they may have had when they were first enacted. Today, we know that cannabis has numerous medical applications and can be used safely by responsible adults. It is time for the Federal Government to get out of the way and let the states regulate cannabis as they see fit. The negative impacts of Federal cannabis laws are far-reaching. They contribute to overcrowded prisons, tear families apart, and waste taxpayer dollars. Moreover, these laws disproportionately impact minorities. It is time for this injustice to end. Congress should act now to repeal all Federal laws on cannabis.
"The War on Drugs Has Failed"
It is well-documented that the War on Drugs has been a failure. In the nearly 50 years since President Nixon declared war on drugs, drug use has not decreased—it has actually increased. In addition, the War on Drugs has had a number of other negative consequences. For example, it has led to overcrowded prisons and torn families apart. According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the incarceration rate in the United States increased from 27 per 100,000 people in 1971 to 207 per 100,000 people in 2009—an increase of 765%. A large percentage of those incarcerated are non-violent drug offenders. This means that prisons are becoming increasingly overcrowded, which leads to poor conditions and even more crime. Moreover, 2.7 million children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated—that’s one in every 28 children. These children are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, substance abuse problems, and academic difficulties. They are also more likely to become incarcerated themselves. It’s time for this cycle of intergenerational crime and punishment to end—and it starts with repealing prohibitionary Federal laws on cannabis.
"Cannabis Laws Disproportionately Impact Minorities"
In addition to the overall failed War on Drugs, it is also important to note that current cannabis laws disproportionately impact minorities—specifically African Americans and Latinos/as. According to a 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU), Blacks were 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis charges despite equal rates of use between the two groups. Latinos/as were 1.46 times more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis charges despite equal rates of use between the two groups. There are a number of possible explanations for this disparity in arrest rates, including bias on the part of law enforcement officers and racial profiling. Regardless of the reasons for this disparity, it is clear that current cannabis laws are not applied evenly across different racial groups—and this needs to change.
"Cannabis Has Multiple Medical Applications"
In addition to the social justice argument for legalizing cannabis, there is also a strong medical case. Cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of medical conditions, including but not limited to chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy. In fact, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that cannabis could be used as a treatment for cancer. These medical applications have led many states—33 states plus Washington D . C . —to legalize some form of medical cannabis. It’s time for the Federal Government to catch up with the states and recognize the medical benefits of this plant.
The costs of prohibition far outweigh any benefits it may have had when it was first enacted nearly 50 years ago. Today, we know that cannabis has numerous medical applications and can be used safely by responsible adults. It’s time for Congress to act now and repeal all Federal laws on cannabis so that states can regulate it as they see fit. The negative impacts of these laws are far-reaching and it’s past time for this injustice to end.