The U.S.’s War on Drugs started nearly 50 years ago, and now the U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, with a majority of those being incarcerated for non-violent marijuana possession charges.
States that have legalized marijuana in some form have helped reduce the number of those incarcerated, according to CNBC. Legal marijuana markets are also creating tens of thousands of jobs while lowering opioid abuse. But, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to intensify the U.S.’s war against marijuana.
Sessions is creating a crime reduction task force to review federal policy on items such as marijuana. The task force will be reviewing current policy and looking at how the DOJ is handling things that contribute to crime. It will present its findings to Sessions at the end of July.
Sessions also went a step further asking for the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to be removed from the annual budget bill. This amendment protects medical marijuana states from federal interference and prosecution. Between 2001 and 2010, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, there have been 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests in the U.S., with almost 90-percent simply being for possession.
Over 50-percent of the country has legalized marijuana to some degree, and data from these state markets show that legalization and regulation work much better than prohibition. Just one year after marijuana legalization in Colorado, according to Drug Policy Alliance, there was a 2.2-percent drop in violent crime in Denver. Property crime also declined by 8.9-percent across Colorado.
Between 2011 and 2014, violent crime dropped 10-percent in Washington state after recreational marijuana was legalized. Due to the influx of drug-related incarcerations and severe punishments, it prevents those convicted of drug crimes from finding employment. Prohibition has essentially increased the poverty rate in all minority communities nationwide.
Of course, those working as prison guards, corrections officers and those in the private prison industry oppose marijuana legalization because their jobs are at risk.