A new two-decade-long study by the University of Colorado and Montana State University found that the criminalization of marijuana leads to an increase in road deaths. In 16 states where medicinal marijuana was legalized, road deaths dropped 9%. Alcohol sales also dropped 5% in those states. This may explain why alcohol companies are spending big dollars to defeat any legislation that would legalize marijuana.
Increased road deaths certainly aren’t the only public danger that the criminalization of marijuana brings with it. The drug war has killed more than 50,000 Mexicans in the last four years and has also been responsible for thousands of American deaths as well. Alcohol causes 23,000 American deaths per year while marijuana causes 0, so if alcohol consumption will drop 5% with legalization then that would save an estimated 1,150 people per year. Around 37,000 American deaths are drug-related every year. Two of the major causes of these deaths are criminalization’s effect on increasing drug prices, thereby providing a lucrative underworld that people are willing to kill for; and drug addicts’ lack of access to clean needles and medical care while overdosing. (http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30)
In fact, the War on Drugs has cost the American taxpayer over $2 trillion since the 1980′s. Imagine the amount of medical care that could have been provided to those in need for just a fraction of those funds. The United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and that is directly attributable to the war on drugs. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ “State Court Sentencing of Convicted Felons, 2004” report, of the 1,078,920 people convicted of felonies in the state courts that year, 362,850 were drug offenses. More than 700,000 people are arrested for marijuana possession every year, which is over 50 percent of all drug-related arrests.
Many of these non-violent drug offenders are raped, assaulted, and even murdered while incarcerated. Although it is extremely difficult to gauge prison assaults because most go unreported, it is fair to estimate that at least half of all inmates are either assaulted or commit assaults in prison. The Federal Bureau of Prisons estimates that between 9 and 20 percent of all prisoners have been sexually assaulted. A Struckman-Johnson study also observed that 22 percent of male inmates had been coerced or persuaded into some form of sexual contact in prison.
While in prison, parents lack the ability to care for their family, which increases the likelihood that their children will follow their example and commit violent crimes.
The most disgusting aspect of the drug war is that we have proof that decriminalization is the most effective way to deal with drug use. For example, while drugs are technically illegal in the Netherlands due to international treaties, the Dutch do not prosecute for the consumption or possession of small amounts, and their crime and drug consumption rates are significantly lower than those in America.
In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs and, as a result, dramatically reduced its prison population and cut its addict count in half; what’s more, the nation’s rate of HIV infections from drug use fell 90 percent.
Switzerland’s policy of offering heroin addicts substitute drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine has led to a significant reduction in their addict counts. Given these facts, American politicians who push to keep drugs illegal are either completely ignorant or making the false claim that Americans can’t handle deciding what to put in their bodies even though many other people around the world can.
From a legal standpoint, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to pass laws that prohibit the consumption practices of individual citizens; that is a right expressly given to the states.
From a logical standpoint, it is ridiculous to criminalize drugs selectively based on which ones are deemed less harmful. A panel of experts from the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs conducted a study in 2010 that ranked twenty drugs ranging from alcohol to crack cocaine based on the psychological, physical, and social problems they create. They developed a point system based on categories of harm caused to the individual and to society. The panel concluded that alcohol was most harmful to society and that crack, methamphetamine, and heroin were most harmful to the individual. When all the categories were tallied, alcohol, a legal drug, received the most overall points, making it the most harmful drug. The study said that Britain’s drug penalties, which by the way are very similar to America’s, had “little relation to the evidence of harm.”
The benefits of criminalization are hard to find. It certainly doesn’t deter people from using drugs—many still do. Nothing has changed there. If anything, the illegality has made drugs more alluring. It also hasn’t stopped people from getting them, a fact proven by researchers at the University of Michigan who concluded that the massive increase in drug arrests and convictions has not reduced the availability of drugs. In fact, a survey has shown that 90 percent of high school students claim they could easily buy marijuana, and about 50 percent say they could acquire other hard drugs, including amphetamines and cocaine.
Unfortunately, Americans have allowed criminalization to become commercial. Rolling Stone magazine reported that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent $1 million to defeat a California bill that would decriminalize marijuana, because it would have eliminated some of their jobs. The California Police Chiefs Association, alcohol producers, and the California Narcotic Officers’ Association also chipped in to defeat the bill. Paying to keep people in prison to retain jobs or make more money is reprehensible, and these organizations aren’t the only ones doing it. The two largest private prison companies in America, Corrections Corporation of America and GEO (formerly Wackenhut), are large contributors to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which pushes for restrictive laws and severe sentencing policies. ALEC recently campaigned for an Arizona law that makes the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and forces police officers to incarcerate people who can’t prove they entered the country legally. That law passed.
Essentially American politicians are taking money from lobbying firms in order to take away American’s freedom. These politicians are more than willing to sacrifice American lives in order to keep the campaign financing coming. This should be viewed as murder, and our politicians should be tried for it like any other common terrorist.
In another grotesque case of American politicians murdering their constituents for money, the needless war in Iraq cost 1,000,000 Iraqis their lives as well as tens of thousands of Americans killed and injured for the defense of Israel. The international community knew Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and so did the CIA, but AIPAC, an Israeli lobby that was caught stealing American military secrets in 2005, spent millions of dollars mercilessly lobbying American politicians to prosecute the war. In addition, former AIPAC employees inside Bush’s administration, like Paul Wolfowitz, actually planned the invasion. Of course the American media, which is completely controlled by Jewish Americans who support Israel, (see the following link for the names, pictures, and titles of these people: http://www.youtube.com/user/abilzeria?feature=mhee) called Americans who were unsupportive of the war traitors and against the troops. Non-gentiles who support Israel give American politicians 50% of their total campaign contributions, and use that influence to manipulate our foreign policy at great detriment to America. James Traficant, a US Representative for almost two decades, admitted that American Congressman usually ask how Israel feels about a bill before voting on it.
When the WMD argument turned out to be a lie, the government shifted the argument to: Saddam was a bad guy who supported terrorists. Well, America killed more Iraqis than Saddam ever did, and we know now that Israel has more connections to Islamic terrorists than Saddam ever did (it has recently come to light that Israel fiannces the Iranian Mujahideen). Most Americans believe that the government wanted to invade Iraq for oil, but that could not be further from the truth. For a full understanding of this issue, please see the following article: http://thebilzerianreport.com/
The monetary cost of the Iraq and Afganistan wars are now more than $1 trillion, and we have yet to withdraw. Although Obama celebrated the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, he forgot to mention that we still have tens of thousands of private contractors there making many multiples of what our soldiers make, so that their deaths can be brushed under the rug. Think of how many starving kids a trillion dollars could feed. Think of how many of those kids that trillion could provide medical care for. When resources are allocated to kill people for Israel, they are not being used elsewhere for good.
Americans should view every single death linked to the drug war and Iraq war as a murder, and every single political proponent of these wars as murderers and terrorists. Given the evidence, and common sense, there is just no other way to view it. The depth of the violations of personal liberty that have been sacrificed in the prosecution of these wars are too deep for this article to investigate, but our politicians must also be taken to task for those violations as well.