Despite the growing realization that the global war on drugs has been a caustic – and costly – failure, the DEA and the United States federal government still consider marijuana to be a drug with no medicinal benefit or value, and therefore, give it no legal standing whatsoever. Still, recent Gallup polling shows that the number of Americans in favor of full legalization of marijuana has surged 10% in the past year alone, up to an all-time high of 58%, providing further evidence that the prohibition/incarceration model is in desperate need of reform.
According to an annual report released last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, 2012 saw one marijuana related arrest every 42 seconds in this country, the exact same ratio that the previous year’s study revealed. If you take out the “serious offenders”, and just look at low-level possession cases, you’ll still find one life potentially ruined every 48 seconds – for mere possession!
The latest blow to professional prohibitionists is a study released by the International Center for Science in Drug Policy. Their report was published recently in BMJ Open, a trade publication produced by the British Medical Journal. In the study, seven separate drug surveillance data sets from various national governments were gathered by researchers in Canada and the U.S., some going as far back as 1975.
What they found was that, despite an ever-growing multi-trillion dollar price tag to fund the so-called-war, drugs worldwide have become cheaper and more potent across the board. “The war on marijuana” may be a more appropriate description of what we have witnessed since the ‘70s, as this country now sees more marijuana arrests each year than violent crime arrests, and nearly half of all drug-related arrests are tied to weed.
A textbook example of the findings released in the study is the fact that DEA-led cannabis crop seizures in the U.S. increased by a staggering 465% between 1990 and 2010, but potency has still risen by 161% and the average price has dropped 86% in that same window.
Marijuana use is shown to be up among American teenagers, as well as adults, and worldwide cannabis consumption has grown by 9% overall since 1998.
These facts, handed over by the same governments perpetrating this decades-long ideological battle, forced the authors of the study to concede that government efforts to cinch the “global drug market through law enforcement are failing”.
Ooh, the F-word.
“The notion is that we have done something that is protecting our communities,” says Dr. Evan Wood, one of the authors of the study, “Unfortunately, that snapshot really doesn’t capture the reality of what’s happening in those markets.”
In a statement released by the Drug Policy Alliance, DPA director Ethan Nadelmann is quick to agree with the findings, “The punitive prohibitionist approach to global drug control has proven remarkably costly, ineffective and counterproductive. It has generated extraordinary levels of violence, crime and corruption while failing to reduce the availability and use of psychoactive drugs.”
As Canada prepares to pump a projected $1.3-billion government dollars into its own marijuana normalization efforts, and as Uruguay positions itself to be the first country to completely legalize the plant, states like Colorado and Washington look to lead America’s lawmakers out of the fog of the failed war on weed.
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