If health consequences determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best.
White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda. Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults.
The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who’ve built careers confusing the drug war’s collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. Students who want to help end the intergenerational-culture-war, otherwise known as the war on some drugs, should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com.
Other suggested Web sites to learn the facts about marijuana use include:
United Nations drug stats: www.unodc.org/
Comparative analysis of U.S. vs. Dutch rates of drug use: www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm
The Virginia Law Review’s overview of the cultural roots of marijuana legislation: www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm