Dear Media – Marijuana Prohibition Is No Laughing Matter
Not that long ago Barack Obama was asked at a media event to respond to the fact that the number one petition on the White House’s ‘We the People – Your Voice In Our Government’ site was asking about marijuana legalization. Barack Obama smirked and chuckled at the question, as if it was a joke. Many media members that were in attendance laughed as well. In a recent episode of ‘Meet the Press’ the topic was marijuana legalization, and again, the media members on the show laughed repeatedly throughout the conversation. Even on my local sports radio channel, yesterday they were talking about marijuana legalization and laughed throughout the segment.
What is so funny about marijuana reform? I get it that consuming marijuana can give people the giggles, especially inexperienced consumers. I get that one of the first things that comes to mind for many people in society when they think of marijuana is a Cheech and Chong comedy. However, when we are talking about marijuana prohibition, not marijuana entertainment or bong sessions, there’s nothing funny about it.
Marijuana prohibition is a very harmful public policy that has ruined lives and wasted resources. That’s not funny. African Americans are almost four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana compared to white people, even though consumption rates are about proportionately the same between races. In some areas of America, that number can be over eight times as likely for African Americans. Marijuana prohibition is a racist public policy. Explain to me how that’s funny? Racism is never funny, especially when it involves public policy.
Marijuana prohibition is an enormous waste of law enforcement resources. In Oregon, where I live, a medical marijuana dispensary was raided in Southern Oregon which involved 70 officers. The same weekend that 70 officers were dedicated to raiding the safe access point, a lady in Southern Oregon called police to report that her ex-husband was trying to enter her residence to harm her, and that she had a restraining order against him. She was told that there weren’t any police officers that they could send. The lady was assaulted and raped as a result. 70 officers can be dedicated to raiding a harmless medical marijuana dispensary, which later had almost all of the charges dropped that were involved with the raid, yet there’s not even one officer that can be sent to enforce a restraining order. How is that funny?
Jail cells should be dedicated to real criminals like pedophiles, rapists, murderers, etc. However, people are sitting in jail cells across the country right now for marijuana only offenses. Jeff Mizanskey is sitting in a prison cell in Missouri right now serving a life sentence for marijuana only offenses. His family will never see him outside of the prison’s walls, and his life is virtually gone due to activity involving a plant that has never killed anyone. Meanwhile, a violent criminal that should be sitting in that same cell is out on the streets due to ‘prison overcrowding.’ When that same violent criminal harms another human being, I wonder if Obama and members of the media will be laughing then?
Marijuana prohibition puts marijuana sales into the hands of cartels and gangs. People are dying near the Mexico/United States border in horrific ways at the hands of cartels. Gangs that profit from blackmarket marijuana sales are making law abiding citizens in neighborhoods live in constant fear. If marijuana was legalized, sales would go out of the shadows and into regulated outlets, and cartels and gangs would be devastated. Instead, cartels and gangs continue to profit off of the misery of innocent people. People will continue to get their heads chopped off in Mexico because rather than have a constructive, productive conversation about marijuana prohibition, Obama and mainstream media would rather chuckle and make pot puns. If this was happening with any other public policy issue of this magnitude, the world would be outraged and would call out the White House and American media for being heartless cowards. But instead, because it’s marijuana, the laughs continue despite the overwhelming evidence that marijuana prohibition has failed and is ruining lives.