The War on Drugs, Truly A War on People
By Arjun Walia
Misguided Stigma Attached to Pot Smoking Still Alive and Well
Marijuana is blamed by many people for many medical and societal ills out of ignorance – despite recent medical evidence clearing up many of these misconceptions!
Watching the local news might bring another report to the fore – another neighborhood “grow op” busted or a local man who has been charged with possession of marijuana – a plant so highly stigmatized that mere possession of its flower can land one in jail for years. Social understanding of the reality of marijuana use is slowly coming to pass; it is now uncommon for many people to believe the tired half-truths and aggressive propaganda foisted by D.A.R.E and other Law Enforcement Agencies surrounding the cannabis plant.
Racism, Ignorance Mostly to Blame for Prohibition
Initially, prohibition of marijuana or “marihuana” in the Western world was primarily a racist backlash against Mexican workers and other immigrants who worked in the southern states of the United States – later that focus would shift to black Jazz musicians and other social minorities and marginals who were easily cast as “the Other” to a largely white, suburban demographic.
To read more about the basis of marijuana prohibition, please click here.
History, Medicinal Use of a Relatively Benign Substance
The history of cannabis does not begin there, however – it is a plant that has been used since at least well before the time of Jesus Christ to reduce pain, to relax the body and soul, and to heal and alleviate sickness and the associated symptoms of many illnesses. In the history of civilized existence, there have been exactly zero cases of death directly attributed to marijuana use – according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
It is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana. Further, medical research suggests that it is impossible to develop a physical addiction to cannabis as well. While long-term marijuana smoking has been shown to increase the chance of developing bronchitis, evidence compiled by the largest case-controlled study of its kind by Dr. Donald Tashkin indicates absolutely no correlation between heavy use of marijuana and increased incidence of lung cancers. (Source)
By comparing and contrasting these facts alone with those surrounding socially accepted drugs such as tobacco and alcohol – let alone a plethora of toxic and extremely addictive prescription pharmaceuticals – the hypocrisy surrounding the “War on Drugs” becomes evident to most critical thinkers.
The Real Cost of the “War on Drugs”
Aside from the tens of billions of dollars in lucrative federal revenue that could be accumulated by simple legalization and taxation of the cannabis plant, and also not accounting for the millions of dollars spent enforcing antiquated prohibition laws – there is a very real human cost associated with the “War on Drugs.”
In 2017 alone, there were 659,700 people arrested on marijuana-related charges in the United States. Of those persons 599,282 were arrested for simple possession. In other words, more than half a million persons a year in the United States are arrested for choosing a safer, healthier, and more productive medicine or recreational drug than alcohol, tobacco, prescription pharmaceuticals, or even aspirin – aspirin being responsible for thousands of deaths per year in the United States.
In a society that supposedly rests a great deal of its foundation on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – it seems extremely hypocritical, illogical, and farcical to continue this misguided and propaganda-fueled war on our fellow citizens. When heart disease (heavily influenced by extremely fatty diets and obesity) continues to be the leading cause of death of death in America – killing over 1800 people each day – it seems foolish and unjust to jail more than half a million persons a year in the West for choosing a substance which has never killed a single human being since its recorded use.