Ending the war on drugs is extremely important, not only for medical reasons with whole plant reform, but also treating people that have addictions as a medical issue instead of a criminal one. Nearly 1/3 of all people in jails and prisons are non violent drug offenders, who only made a choice for their own bodies, and more than half of that is marijuana. Legalization of marijuana would eliminate 1/6 of jail residency and by shifting the focus of treating addiction instead of making it criminal, would free up the remaining 1/6 to be rehabilitated using the money saved so they can rejoin society healthy and whole.
Legalization of Marijuana
It is my belief that marijuana should not only be legal for medicinal purposes, but also for recreational use. Obviously I believe that similar restrictions like impaired driving and age limits should be in effect, but it is time for the stigma of marijuana use to fall to the wayside.
This takes away a vital cash crop from the cartels in Mexico, which in turn will decrease the violence in the border region. It also the potential to create thousands of jobs in the United States. This improves the economy drastically. The money being spent is no longer being spent underground, but out in the open.
Drug Users Are Not Criminals
Most drug users are not criminals. They are folks who unfortunately started using a substance that is addictive and bad for them. One of the things we need to look at is rehabilitation for people who want to break the cycle and become whole again. Currently, we spend approximately $33,000 per year to just lock them up. This takes care of a temporary symptom, but does nothing to cure the disease.
Once these people are released from jail, they have a record. This makes it harder to be a productive member of society. When you have drug charges on your record, it is difficult at best to find gainful employment. If we were to focus on helping with the money normally spent on incarceration, we would be able to keep criminal charges off their records so they can improve their quality of life. We are spending the money already, so why not put it to better use?