Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Criminal Marijuana Prohibition Is A Failure

By any objective standard, marijuana prohibition is an abject failure.

Nationwide, U.S. law enforcement have arrested over 20 million American citizens for marijuana offenses since 1965, yet today marijuana is more prevalent than ever before, adolescents have easier access to marijuana than ever before, the drug is on average more potent than ever before, and there is more violence associated with the illegal marijuana trade than ever before.

Over 100 million Americans nationally have used marijuana despite prohibition, and one in ten – according to current government survey data – use it regularly. The criminal prohibition of marijuana has not dissuaded anyone from using marijuana or reduced its availability; however, the strict enforcement of this policy has adversely impacted the lives and careers of millions of people who simply elected to use a substance to relax that is objectively safer than alcohol.

NORML believes that the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.  http://www.norml.org/

The Case For Legalization/Regulation

Regulation = Controls
  • Controls regarding who can legally produce marijuana  
  • Controls regarding who can legally distribute marijuana 
  • Controls regarding who can legally consume marijuana 
  • Controls regarding where adults can legally use marijuana and under what circumstances is such use legally permitted 
Prohibition = the absence of controls – This absence of control jeopardizes rather than promotes public safety


Prohibition abdicates the control of marijuana production and distribution to criminal entrepreneurs, such as drug cartels, street gangs, drug dealers who push additional illegal substances

Prohibition provides young people with easier access to marijuana than alcohol (CASA, 2009)

Prohibition promotes the use of marijuana in inappropriate settings, such as in automobiles, in public parks, or in public restrooms.

Prohibition promotes disrespect for the law, and reinforces ethnic and generation divides between the public and law enforcement. (For example, according to a recent NORML report, an estimated 75 percent of all marijuana arrestees are under age 30; further, African Americans account for only 12 percent of marijuana users but comprise 23 percent of all possession arrests)

Go to the http://www.norml.org/ site to find out more.