Marijuana legalize it, don’t criminalize it

Marijuana has become the new focus of the War on Drugs, which began in the 1980s during the Reagan presidency.

 The focus of the drug war in the United States has shifted significantly over the past decade from hard drugs, such as cocaine, to marijuana, which now accounts for nearly half of all drug arrests nationwide, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The prevalence of marijuana has become so significant that April 20, was the day to celebrate the use of the cannabis.

On this day, protestors gather to rally in favor of the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and its users.

A study released by the Sentencing Project found that one in four people in state prisons for marijuana offenses can be classified as a “low-level offender,” and it estimated that $4 billion a year is spent on arresting and prosecuting marijuana crimes.

With the expensive price tag that comes with so many otherwise harmless offenders being prosecuted for either with the possession or use of pot, it is high time that the drug is decriminalized.

There are no credible studies that tie smoking pot to committing crimes, according to the Drug Policy Alliance Network. This makes pot’s illegal status even more meaningless.

Marijuana has been said to have some medical benefits. In fact, 14 states have made medical marijuana legal, Maryland being the most recent. Californians will vote in November on whether to legalize the drug completely, which could save the state millions.
There are those who believe that marijuana is a gateway drug, however, there are no studies that prove this notion is correct. A recent University of Pittsburgh study confirmed this fact.

Only time will reveal the effects that legalization will have on that state. The war on drugs has proven to be too costly.

The complete legalization of pot will take time, but by redeploying resources states can address more pressing problems – such as public education.