Sunday, March 18, 2012

Should cannabis prohibition be repealed?

The primary problem with cannabis prohibition is basically the same problem we had with alcohol prohibition. When a majority of the people in a country want something, whether it is legal or not, they will find ways to obtain it even if it has to be obtained through underground means.  The fact is that most people really don’t care how they obtain something they want as long as they can get it, and if they want it bad enough they will go to great lengths to get it.  As a result, the more people want something the greater lengths business oriented people will go to supply it for a profit. It is the law of supply and demand.

According to a United Nations survey there are over 90 million regular users of cannabis. That large of a number does not necessarily mean that those people are right about the use of something that is illegal in most all countries, it only means that they will do whatever is necessary to obtain it. This fact leaves the criminal element to step in and fill the gap between a country’s prohibition laws and those wanting a substance like cannabis that is illegal in their country. The shining example of this is the mob organizations that became so powerful in this country during alcohol prohibition. One has to wonder if we could have avoided all the violence that developed out of organized crime syndicates that came into being then if prohibition had not been enacted.

It seems reasonable to me that instead of spending billions on “The War on Drugs” and still not stemming the tide of cannabis use, we could instead possible be making billions from a controlled and taxed industry of cannabis production.  When we put a young person in prison for cannabis possession we only serve to make them more criminalized and they seem to only learn skills that make them better criminals. When we spend billions on housing, feeding, and maintaining those incarcerated for cannabis possession, we take billions away from those who are starving and living in cardboard shacks, those who could really use our assistance.  In my opinion, we need to re-evaluate our priorities and consider the needs of the many over the prohibition objections of the few.

Finally, hemp, the generic form of cannabis, can be used to make a lot of other products, as they were in the past before prohibition. The fact is that our American classic “Blue Jeans” were originally made from hemp fabric because it is much more resilient and stronger than cotton weaves.  Once cannabis prohibition was enacted, a lot of things that were originally made from hemp were changed and produced from other resources because prohibition made it very difficult to get a permit to grow hemp for commercial uses. Even our founding fathers knew the value of hemp production for raw materials. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington had large hemp fields and often referred to them in letters and other writings as being very productive.

Now I realize there is a lot of debate about this issue and that I haven't even touched on the medical side of this issue, and that there are many who will disagree with me vehemently no matter what reasons I may have. However, in my opinion if like those who were against alcohol legalization for ethical or moral reason, you are against cannabis legalization, then my advice to you is don’t use it and avoid any moral dilemmas for yourself. What I would hope that you don’t do is what would be in my opinion costing us more young lives and billions more in tax dollars by keeping it illegal for others who do use cannabis.

1 comment:

  1. There is a fairly good Documentary running on the History Channel titled "Marijuana: A Chronic History" ... it tries to give both sides but seems to me a little "Right" slanted.


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