The war on drugs began when Nixon first introduced it, which I’m sure was done to keep the minds of the people on the war on our own people, instead of the war on the other side of the world. It started off as a 350 million dollar a year cost in 1971, now is a 20 billion dollar a year cost to the American people. Over 700,000 people are arrested for drug charges, and that is only for marijuana, 75% of those arrests are for possession alone. Most of these people aren’t real criminals, the way a lot of us think of the idea of a criminal, they aren’t harming or killing anyone. The department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has found that nearly 6.9 million Americans are in jail or prison, or on probation or parole as of December 31, 2003. That means that 3.2% of the adult population of America, or 1 out of 32 adults are under some form of correctional supervision. It costs over 20,000 dollars a year to keep a pothead in prison.
The war on drugs has increased the amount of drug users in America. Since 1994, marijuana is up 62%, along with that cocaine and ecstacy use is also up among high school seniors. The drug prohibition has increased the profit of drugs on the street. Heroin in the early 1970s had 5% heroin in it and cost 30 to 40 dollars a bag, today it costs 4 dollars a bag and is 80 to 90% pure. Adjusting for inflation, heroin is 600% cheaper than when the war on drugs started.
Marijuana also has medical benefits, and it works. A child with a type of leukemia had horrible nausea and vomiting with each session of cancer chemotherapy, and when the child had smoked marijuana before his chemotherapy, he did not have nausea or vomiting at all. Also, the government has it’s own medical distribution of marijuana for a select few people. This is the ultimate hypocrisy with the drug prohibition in America.
If drugs were legalized, we could set the amount of actual drug used to reduce the amount of hospital visits, destroy the huge black market profit, we would have millions of cells free for real criminals, and the police would be able to focus more on real crime.