From the Journal of the American Medical Association
Jan. 19, 2005, Vol. 293, No. 3, p. 298:
Jan. 19, 2005, Vol. 293, No. 3, p. 298:
- Tobacco (435,000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths)
- Poor diet and physical inactivity (400,000 deaths; 16.6%)
- Alcohol consumption (68,347deaths; 3.5%)
- Microbial agents (75,000)
- Toxic agents (55,000)
- Motor vehicle crashes (26,347)
- Incidents involving firearms (29,000)
- Sexual behaviors (STDs, hepatitis B and C, and cervical cancer) (20,000)
- Illicit use of drugs (17,000)
- Deaths from aspirin (U.S. per year): 180 - 1,000 +
- Deaths from legal drugs (U.S. per year) at doses used for prevention, diagnosis, or therapy: 106,000
- Deaths from marijuana use: ZERO!
- Marijuana Prohibition is a $15-billion-per-year government subsidy for drug traffickers, organized crime, and street dealers. Because the government prohibits well-regulated liquor stores from selling marijuana, the government ensures that organized crime and street dealers will flourish. Prohibition escalates violence and corruption as mobsters, street gangs, and thugs fight for control of the marijuana trade and bring the average user closer to their lifestyle (hard drugs/violence/etc.). Just as Alcohol Prohibition escalated violence and corruption during the 1920s, Marijuana Prohibition does the same today.
- A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.
- In spite of the established medical value of marijuana, doctors are presently permitted to prescribe cocaine and morphine (both proven to be addictive and destructive to the body)--but not marijuana.
- In societies where cannabis use has been decriminalized no appreciable adverse effects have resulted. A positive benefit has occurred: a considerable saving of public money, a lower crime rate and less cases of violence.
- Organizations that have endorsed medical access to marijuana include: the AIDS Action Council, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Public Health Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Nurses Association, Lymphoma Foundation of America, National Association of People With AIDS, the New England Journal of Medicine, the state medical associations of New York, California, Florida and Rhode Island, and many others.
- Because vigorous enforcement of the marijuana laws forces the toughest, most dangerous criminals to take over marijuana trafficking, prohibition links marijuana sales to violence, predatory crime, and terrorism.
- Our failed marijuana laws cost taxpayers $7.7 billion a year, keep police from focusing on real crimes, and fail to keep marijuana away from minors. Strict regulation and control to reduce the criminal market and lower teen use. Marijuana use is far higher in the United States than in the Netherlands, where marijuana is sold in regulated establishments instead of on the criminal market. In the U.S., 41% of people over 12 have tried marijuana versus 17% in the Netherlands.
- According to government-funded researchers, high school seniors consistently report that marijuana is easily available, despite decades of a nationwide drug war. With little variation, every year about 85% consider marijuana "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that more U.S. high school students currently smoke marijuana, which is completely unregulated, than smoke cigarettes, which are sold by regulated businesses
- There have been over seven million marijuana arrests in the United States since 1993, including 755,186 arrests in 2003 an all-time record. One person is arrested for marijuana every 42 seconds. About 88% of all marijuana arrests are for possession not manufacture or distribution.
- Lengthy mandatory minimum sentences apply to myriad offenses. For example, a person must serve a five-year mandatory minimum sentence if federally convicted of cultivating 100 marijuana plants including seedlings or bug-infested, sickly plants. This is longer than the average sentences for auto theft and manslaughter!
- Civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize the money and property of suspected marijuana offenders charges need not even be filed. The claim is against the property, not the defendant. The owner must then prove that the property is "innocent."
- "Decriminalization" involves the removal of criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use. Small fines may be issued (somewhat similarly to traffic tickets), but there is typically no arrest, incarceration, or criminal record. Marijuana is presently decriminalized in 11 states California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon. In these states, cultivation and distribution remain criminal offenses.
- A 2001 National Research Council study sponsored by the U.S. government found "little apparent relationship between the severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use, and ... perceived legal risk explains very little in the variance of individual drug use." The primary evidence cited came from comparisons between states that have and have not decriminalized marijuana.
- In the Netherlands, where adult possession and purchase of small amounts of marijuana are allowed under a regulated system, the rate of marijuana use by teenagers is far lower than in the U.S. Under a regulated system, licensed merchants have an incentive to check ID and avoid selling to minors. Such a system also separates marijuana from the trade in hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
- "Zero tolerance" policies against "drugged driving" can result in "DUI" convictions of drivers who are not intoxicated at all. Trace amounts of THC metabolites detected by commonly used tests can linger in blood and urine for weeks after any psychoactive effects have worn off. This is equivalent to convicting someone of "drunk driving" weeks after he or she drank one beer.
- The arbitrary criminalization of tens of millions of Americans who consume marijuana results in a large-scale lack of respect for the law and the entire criminal justice system.
- Because marijuana is typically used in private, trampling the Bill of Rights is a routine part of marijuana law enforcement e.g., use of drug dogs, urine tests, phone taps, government informants, curbside garbage searches, military helicopters, and infrared heat detectors.
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