Law enforcement was designed to protect our communities, but marijuana prohibition – and the drug war as a whole – has become an overbearing distraction towards the maintaining of public safety. Prohibition contributes to an overall decrease in public safety and misuse of valuable resources. Here’s why law enforcement across the country and around the world are pushing for marijuana legalization:
1. Marijuana prohibition funds criminal organizations
Criminalizing a high-demand commodity only creates an illegal marketplace that generates wealth for individuals seeking to profit. If legalized, marijuana would create a legal marketplace and diminish illegal operations. Marijuana is often called the “cash crop” by Mexican cartels, and legalizing medical marijuana access and recreational access in only a few states has already begun to weaken their cash flow. Nationwide marijuana legalization would devastate the enormous and lethal underground networks brought about by prohibition.
2. Marijuana prohibition overburdens the legal system
Minor marijuana possession or consumption arrests wastes time and resources at every step of the legal process. Arresting officers must file paperwork, possibly make a court appearance – all of which account for time and money that could be spent on catching and arresting people posing a danger to others, such as murders, rapists, con artists, terrorists, etc. Law enforcement used to solve 90% of murder cases, but now only 64% get solved. Furthermore, only 40% of rape cases are solved and there are an estimated 400,000 unprocessed rape kits – containing crucial evidence to prosecute dangerous criminals – sitting in storage across the U.S.
3. Marijuana prohibition is detrimental to public health
People in need of medical help should never have to forego treatment for fear of being arrested or be considered a criminal for using medicine that helps them. Arresting elderly, sick and disabled individuals for deciding to use marijuana instead of prescription drugs is unethical and a waste of time. Law enforcement should be catching criminals that are a risk to society.
4. Marijuana prohibition endangers children
In much of the U.S. marijuana access is unlimited, unregulated and uncontrolled because it is prohibited. Yet it’s still being sold. Americans need to ask themselves: Who do we want in charge of those sales: licensed and regulated businesses or illegal cartels? Furthermore, unregulated marijuana often contains toxins or is laced with dangerous substances. Put simply, cartels don’t care about the age of their customers. Legalizing and regulating marijuana by selling it in childproof containers is one of the best ways to keep children safe.