Tuesday, May 01, 2012

prohibition costs billions, legalization would earn billions - but what about its effect on dopamine hegemony?

aclu | Over 300 economists, including three Nobel Laureates, recently signed a petition that encourages the president, Congress, governors and state legislatures to carefully consider marijuana legalization in America. The petition draws attention to an article by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, whose findings highlight the substantial cost-savings our government could incur if it were to tax and regulate marijuana, rather than needlessly spending billions of dollars enforcing its prohibition.

Miron predicts that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco. The economists signing the petition note that the budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition are just one of many factors to be considered, but declare it essential that these findings become a serious part of the national decriminalization discussion.

The advantages of marijuana legalization extend far beyond an opportunity to make a dent in our federal deficit. The criminalization of marijuana is one of the many fights in the War on Drugs that has failed miserably. And while it's tempting to associate only the harder, "scarier" drugs with this botched crusade, the fact remains that marijuana prohibition is very much a part of the battle. The federal government has even classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance (its most serious category of substances), placing it in a more dangerous category than cocaine. More than 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana use and possession each year, and 46 percent of all drug prosecutions across the country are for marijuana possession. Yet this costly and time-consuming targeting of marijuana users by law enforcement and lawmakers has done little to quell use of the drug.

The criminalization of marijuana has not only resulted in a startlingly high number of arrests, it also reflects the devastating disparate racial impact of the War on Drugs. Despite ample evidence that marijuana is used more frequently by white people, Blacks and Latinos account for a grossly disproportionate percentage of the 800,000 people arrested annually for marijuana use and possession. These convictions hinder one's ability to find or keep employment, vote or gain access to affordable housing. The fact that these hard-to-shake consequences – bad enough as they are — are suffered more frequently by a demographic that uses marijuana less makes our current policies toward marijuana all the more unfair, unwise and unacceptable.

8 comments:

Big Don said...

Wonder if the referenced studies factored in the additional costs of accidents, injuries, from DUIM -DWStoned.  Not to mention your own grief when member(s) of your family are taken out by such a driver.  Not all users will be doing it responsibly.  Car & Driver magazine did an experiment many years ago where several of their editors drove a parking lot course of traffic cones while progressively getting further stoned.  Driving skills, and Driver CONCERN for those deteriorating skills, took huge losses, cones took a real beating...

Dale Asberry said...

You know the effects of DWO right? Old geezers (50+ yo men, 60+ yo women) under the influence of dopamine hegemony like yourself are far more numerous and far more anosognosiac... someone needs to pull those keys out of those sweaty sausages of yours.

BTW, anyone else smell a threadjacking?

Big Don said...

The thread is about Pot.  You, sir,, are the threadjacker by introducing the issue of geriatrics...shame....

Dale Asberry said...

Don't call me sir. 

The thread is about prohibition, not pot, per se and certainly not about intoxication and deteriorating skills. However, I took your lead to indicate that driving while under the influence of old age is nearly as dangerous as DUI of ... and, since you are an old geezer, you are a clear and present danger on the roads.

Big Don said...

The graphic and each of the four paragraphs in the article dealt with Marijuana.  But since you want to threadjack it to general Prohibition and Old Age, BD can deal with that---> You must be an Obama supporter whose agenda, under his showpiece health plan, is clearly to Prohibit Old Age....ROTFLMAO!!

Tom said...

Verdict ... Jacked.

Dale Asberry said...

+1

Sabrinabee said...

Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol. Not legalizing it does not prevent people from using it as often and as much as alcohol. People who want to use it are going to use it regardless. That means there are people on the roads right now, in the same percentages there would be if it were legal. If one is going to use the fact that they are imprisoned to suggest that there is not as many drivers on the road who are under the influence of marijuana, one must consider the number of people who are popped every day for DUI, DWI, vehicular manslaughter, hit and run, due to alcohol. The numbers even out. There is no reason why marijuana should not be legalized. Especially if it helps to bring in much needed government resources. Until of course, Republicans realize how successful it could become then seek to privatize it.