5 Burning Questions About Legalizing Pot
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Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition, Americans’ consumption of and demand for cannabis is here to stay. It is time to acknowledge this reality; the American public has spoken. It is clear by the results in Colorado and Washing that the voters want to pursue a new approach to marijuana policy. It is time to stop ceding control of the cannabis market to untaxed criminal enterprises and put forward common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ personal use by adults and licensing its production.
NF: No one on our side is saying that legalization means that drug abuse problems will simply disappear. What we are saying is that when we don’t have to waste so many of our limited resources arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people for simple possession (and when we generate new tax revenue through legal sales)we will have many more resources available to invest in treatment and prevention programs that actually work.
MT: The social and health costs associated with marijuana use are vastly outweighed by those associated with alcohol and tobacco use. In fact, the costs for alcohol consumers are eight times greater than those for marijuana consumers, according to an assessment recently published in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal. More specifically, the annual cost of alcohol consumption is $165 per user, and tobacco-related costs are $800 per user, compared to just $20 per user for marijuana. This should not come as a surprise given the vast amount of research that shows alcohol poses far more – and more significant – health problems than marijuana. Studies have shown that the majority of costs associated with marijuana are specific to enforcement of marijuana prohibition laws. If marijuana is a legal and regulated product, we can expect to generate far, far more in revenues and savings than we will see in costs.