Other Countries and The War on Drugs
After I’d written my last blog, (about the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment Update and Marijuana as a Gateway Drug), I read about other countries’ approach to the war on drugs.
Norway’s parliament has voted to decriminalize marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Norwegians found with small quantities of drugs will be diverted into treatment programs rather than criminally prosecuted and jailed.
Norway is adopting a system similar to Portugal’s, which has been heralded by drug law reformers worldwide.
An article by Kate Linthicum in the Los Angeles Times on January 27, 2018, reported that Mexico legalized the use of marijuana for medical and scientific needs last June, but has maintained a ban on recreational use and cultivation.
For decades, grass flowed north across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Now, drug enforcement agents are regularly seizing specialty strains of retail-quality cannabis grown in the United States and smuggled south.
The RAND Drug Policy Research Center estimates that Mexico nets between $6 and $8 billion in drug revenue per year, with revenue from marijuana declining from 26% to 15%.
Mexican leaders are taking a more liberal stance on marijuana and considering legalizing pot for recreational use. They’re also considering legalizing sales of marijuana-based medicines, foods, drinks, and cosmetics.
Canada, Central, and South America
The New York Times reported that Canada is scheduled to approve recreational sales this summer and that Uruguay has legalized cannabis. Chile, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica and Colombia, have changed laws to make marijuana more available for either medical or recreational use.
As of January 8, 2018, thirty states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance, hundreds of thousands of new jobs have been created, and revenue from marijuana is exceeding initial estimates.
My long-time friend, Millie Paul, shared in an email: My close friend’s oldest son (she is a Washington State Senator) is making a very comfortable living by managing the largest pot-selling store in Seattle. Rather than going into the already over-crowded field of computers, perhaps the hottest careers will be selling marijuana.
The January 30th, 2018 Drug Policy Alliance Newsletter reported states with legal marijuana have experienced dramatic decreases in marijuana arrests and convictions, saving millions of dollars and sparing thousands of people from getting branded with a lifelong criminal record.
However, despite the medicinal benefits, employment opportunities, and additional revenue, the war on drug is escalating. The 2018 FY budget has allocated $27 billion to drug law enforcement—not treatment or prevention.
The Economist estimates the drug war costs the U.S. taxpayers $51 billion per year.
The Drug Policy Alliance believes the cost is significantly more at $1 trillion per year.
Of the developed countries, we have the highest incarceration rate. Last year, there were 1.25 million arrests, and 84% were for possession–not selling or distributing. One in 111 Americans is imprisoned, and as a result, our productivity loses.
What’s the cause?
When prohibition was in effect from 1920 until 1933, it didn’t work.
And it’s not working with drugs.
Sadly, the demand for drugs continues to rise.
When there’s demand, someone will fill the supply.
Instead of financing the cartels, I support legalizing, regulating, receiving the revenues, and treating addicts as patients rather than criminals.
Thanks for reading.
Warmest Regards, Michele
Author, Busted www.michelekhoury.com Link to subscribe to my blogs: http://michelekhoury.com/blog/