Prohibition is an utter failure.
Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal’s drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.
(From time.com, emphasis added)
- We’ve spent billions on enforcement, and more on prison and court costs, and marijuana usage hasn’t changed significantly in adults.
- Just like in the 20s, prohibition of a substance makes it more, not less, dangerous. We’ve artificially inflated the price of cheap-to-produce commodity due to the risk involved in selling it. Cartels make a killing growing a plant.
- We arrest users who have at worst risked their own health. Criminal punishment should be reserved for people who directly infringe others’ rights, or put others at significant risk, not using a substance in the privacy of their homes.
- Keeping pot illegal means that we can’t get proper dosage information, can’t properly research it, and we have to deal with obvious lies from the government about it.
- Assuming you believe everything they say, marijuana’s addiction rate is 9%, far lower than what most people would call a dangerously addictive drug (and about the same as caffeine). And if you do get addicted, you’re looking at some of the mildest withdrawal symptoms any drug has to offer.
- The only “gateway” marijuana has is to the illegal dealers who offer more dangerous drugs. Legalize it and that connection is broken.
- Areas where it’s decriminalized or legal don’t have significantly higher usage rates than the U.S., and in many cases have much lower usage rates (see quote above).