Author Topic: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition  (Read 2463 times)

Offline stromboli

The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« on: April 12, 2014, 11:14:59 AM »
http://www.policymic.com/articles/54803/this-is-how-much-marijuana-prohibition-costs-you-the-taxpayer

Whether you are for its legalization or not, you are paying for marijuana to be illegal. According the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 43.3% of all "Arrests for Drug Abuse Violation" are of people who are in possession of marijuana. Six percent of all drug-abuse violation arrests were for the "Sale/Manufacturing" of marijuana. In other words, a whopping 49.5% of all drug-violation arrests are connected to marijuana. Half of the population that is in prison for substance abuse is in prison for marijuana-related crimes.

Funnily enough, there was a time when it was illegal for farmers not to grow hemp, marijuana's industrial and THC-deprived cousin that can be used to make fiber, oil, paper, fiberboard, rope, and nutritional hemp-seeds, among a copious amount of other things. in 1619, in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, a law was passed that required farmers to grow "Indian hemp-seed," along with various other "must grow" laws spanning the next two centuries.

Why did a renewable resource that had such a wide variety of uses suddenly become taboo for the American citizen and have its history nearly erased from every textbook and museum? The government decided to do what it does best: tax and regulate. 1937 saw the passing of The Marihuana Tax Act. This bill forced any individual who dealt in the sale or transportation of marijuana in any capacity to pay a tax of $1. This would only be a mere $16.18 in today's economy, but the kicker is that if an individual or party did not pay this tax they would be subject to five years in prison or a fine of $2,000— $32,353.47 today.

It seems as if the government flip-flopped its stance on hemp and marijuana after the repeal of Prohibition, which itself was repealed because of the rise in organized crime and violent illegal suppliers of alcohol that it caused — a result which, interestingly enough, seem to be the same tragic result of the prohibition on marijuana.

Let us work out some arithmetic based again on FBI statistics. In 2011, law enforcement personnel arrested a massive 12,408,899 individuals. Of these, 1,531,251, 12.3%, were for "drug abuse violations." 49.5% of these individuals were for crimes relating to marijuana. That is 757,969 people arrested for crimes dealing with marijuana. Knowing how many people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana related offenses, let us calculate the cost of this incarceration for taxpayers.

According to Urban Institute Justice Policy Center, the yearly cost for an inmate in a minimum security prison is $21,006. Let us use this figure because 56% of all inmates are housed in minimum security institutions. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in 2010, the average prison sentence for inmates incarcerated for marijuana abuses is 36.8 months.

With 757,969 individuals incarcerated for marijuana abuse, at $21,006 a pop, that is $15,921,896,814 to keep these individuals imprisoned for one year. At this rate, over the course of 36.8 months, $44,765,690,442 would have to be coughed up by the American taxpayer to clothe, shelter, offer medical, dental and psychiatric care, maintain, transport, and educate these individuals and maintain facilities for them to live in. This — $44 billion over more than 30 years — is the grand cost of petty crime.


My last 6 months in the Navy I spent at Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston. This was towards the end of the Vietnam War. A lot of the patients at the hospital were Vietnam returnees who were addicted to Heroin. At the time, Methadone and other treatment methods was as yet untried, and the sudden return of so many Heroin addicts in uniform. The Navy in all honesty was a bit clueless.

I knew these vets and I spent time with them. I was working as a cook. Unlike regular Navy I had my nights free. I commiserated and drank with these guys, and smoked a lot of Pot. The irony of it was that the Heroin addicts, self medicating with Pot, were doing better than the ones who were under treatment without it. there were also some officers that smoked it, which was rather a surprise.

Right now my wife is in the latter stages Relapsing/Remitting MS. Going from fairly able to walk and get around, even drive, to phases of being in a wheel chair and in pain, requiring drugs to cope and the reason I built a wheel chair ramp for my trailer.

The idiocy of all this is that Marijuana could be a big benefit to her, but Utah doesn't have Medical Marijuana. They just barely legalized THC oil as a treatment for seizures for certain children's diseases.

Marijuana, Hemp and all of the potential uses, and the mere rescheduling of Pot to a schedule 2 drug would save literal billions, and become a taxable product and be useful for medical reasons in many areas. In any case, I'm becoming an advocate. I'm going on a letter/email campaign to congressmen and influential people to do my part to get the drug rescheduled.

Offline Solitary

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2014, 11:23:01 AM »
 :sad2: Very sad to hear about your wife's condition! I still don't understand how marijuana is considered a narcotic when scientifically it isn't. And even if it is, why can't it be used for treatment like narcotics are for pain or whatever. We really have some stupid laws, and who are the law makers?  :pidu: Solitary
There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.

Offline Contemporary Protestant

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2014, 09:27:05 AM »
Why do people (people who don't want to legalize it) even care about weed? It seems to me like lobbying is the root of this problem

Offline stromboli

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2014, 10:09:07 AM »
I did a paper in uni decades ago that came to the conclusion that Marijuana be decriminalized. And this is long before all the findings about medial pot. Marijuana was made a schedule 1 drug for political reasons, out of fear, racism, protection of corporate profits, bad journalism, ignorance, incompetence and pushing personal political agendas.

Everything that is wrong about pot can be undone with just one step, making it a schedule 2 drug. Open up the doors for the growth and manufacture of Hemp for numerous uses- creating whole new industries. Raising in millions in tax revenues, emptying prisons, providing health benefits and so on. The idiocy of it being illegal is impossible to understand.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2014, 11:18:20 AM »
Even worse is prohibition turned Mexico and most of central America into defacto narco states.
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Offline Shiranu

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2014, 01:18:14 PM »
Even worse is prohibition turned Mexico and most of central America into defacto narco states.

This. Lets ignore the medical and economic harm it has done... besides destroying millions of lives in the United States by tearing apart families, years in jail and the mark on your record, it has destroyed millions of lives in other countries through drug violence and drug money being fed to corrupt politicians. This is something that is going to take a long time to fix even after the US legalizes.

The "war on drugs" is one of the most immoral practices being carried out today by the U.S. government, and that's saying alot given how low we rank on the world's, "Countries Who Behave Morally" list. It simply has no rational arguments in favour for it; it is bad policy economically, logically and ethically.

Offline stromboli

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2014, 01:58:44 PM »
The criteria for a Schedule 1 drug:

-The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
Marijuana has never been proven to be addictive or dangerous.

-The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
It is now marketed variously in medical form for seizure meds and other uses.

-There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
No one has ever overdosed or been shown to be clinically harmed by it.


By this alone it should never have been classed as a schedule 1 drug. Tobacco, on the other hand, meets all 3. And it has never been listed as dangerous.

Online Hydra009

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2014, 02:17:41 PM »
The classification scheme in general is completely off kilter.  The legality of most of these substances aren't very closely related to harm.


Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2014, 02:50:08 PM »
The classification scheme in general is completely off kilter.  The legality of most of these substances aren't very closely related to harm.

That chart is off kilter as well. Heroin by itself, taking away dependence and all the impurities of illicit heroin is far less harmless than solvents. Clean heroin if administered with clean needles is rather benign if not taken in to big of dosages.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 02:51:48 PM by AllPurposeAtheist »
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Offline stromboli

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2014, 03:02:41 PM »
I'm putting together a package that will be sent to all Republican congressmen initially. It will clearly state what the cost, damage and idiocy of pot prohibition has done to this country. Probably mostly a waste of time, but if even one or two get the message, it could make a difference. Pot oil has been legalized on a trial basis. Get this- referred to medically as "non narcotic hemp oil."
Marijuana is still narco shit to Utahns. It took an influential and persistent group of parents to get it done, but that's what it takes here.

I live for the day when I can step put on my deck with my wife and have a toke, while enjoying the Wasatch Mountains. May not happen, but I'll do my part.

Offline doorknob

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 03:23:38 PM »
all illicit drugs are considered narcotics to law enforcement even though they are not narcotics in the medical community. Crack for example is a stimulant not a narcotic but is still call narcotic by law enforcement. Why? Probably a lack of education.

I think all drugs should be legalized so they can be regulated taxed and programs from the taxes can fund drug treatments and research on more effective ways to treat drug addictions.

Offline AllPurposeAtheist

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 03:35:04 PM »
To many for profit fingers in the prohibition cookie jar is the problem.
All hail my new signature!

Admit it. You're secretly green with envy.

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 09:14:45 PM »
That chart is off kilter as well. Heroin by itself, taking away dependence and all the impurities of illicit heroin is far less harmless than solvents.

I agree the chart is not accurate. Solvents is a broad category and some chemicals are very dangerous.
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Offline stromboli

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2014, 10:42:20 PM »
And the good old DEA. Something's got to be said of an agency that spent billions on drug enforcement, and the drugs only got more plentiful and cheaper.

Reminds of a news documentary of a bunch of narcs going after a pot grow in California. These guys are pulling the plants out of the ground, and I swear a sheriff pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lights one, and then says, "yeah, feels good to know we're gettin' this poison off the streets." I fell out of my chair laughing.

Offline Contemporary Protestant

Re: The Cost Of Marijuana Prohibition
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2014, 11:00:57 PM »
What was the price of weed in the past? I know I can get some for $15-$20, but I don't have much of a frame of reference considering I've only been aware of this for 2-3 years