Ending the War on Drugs

RECEIVED Wed., Dec. 16, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Re: "Majority Favors Marijuana" [Newsdesk blog, Dec. 11]: It's no wonder that the legalization movement is picking up steam in our current political climate. People's senses tend to rebel at the idea of spending (between the federal government and state/local governments) $48.7 billion on enforcing regulations on criminalized substances and diminishing control of our own bodies, especially when the majority of that money goes to regulate a criminalized substance that most in the medical community have acknowledged has little negative effect and, in actuality, offers a lot of medicinal promise.
    That's the monetary cost alone. If it weren't enough, there are 1.7 million people arrested annually for drug offenses, more than half (roughly 839,000) arrested specifically for cannabis violations. Of that 839,000, 89% were arrested for merely possessing cannabis. That's 839,000 people not working, not helping to rejuvenate the economy. That’s 839,000 people who will likely have a hard time even finding a worthwhile job after they are freed from custody because of the frequency of employer background checks. 839,000 people filling our jails for being involved with criminalized recreational/medical substances.
    There is no benefit to this senselessness, and the cost is insurmountable. In a day and age where the far-right in this country is more than willing to tell us what we can and can't afford, perhaps it's time they took another look at the war on drugs.
Adam Martin
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