To the Editor:
Have you ever noticed the most dangerous thing about marijuana is getting caught with it?
Every year almost 800,000 people are arrested for marijuana; that’s one arrest every 42 seconds.
Prohibition sends an incredible number of Americans through the criminal justice system, ruining countless lives.
A criminal conviction can stand in the way of securing a job; getting housing; receiving student loans or the right to vote.
Some fear that legalization would lead to increased use, but those who want to use marijuana are probably already doing so under our ineffective prohibition laws.
When we stop wasting so many resources locking people up, perhaps we can fund real public education and health efforts. Recent polls have shown that more Americans now want to legalize marijuana altogether than support continued prohibition on adult use.
Prohibition of Marijuana has failed.
Arresting and prosecuting marijuana offenders prevents police from focusing on real crime.
In Chicago alone the police superintendent estimated officers spend 45000 police hours on arrests for 10 grams of less of marijuana.
Meanwhile, FBI data shows that less than half of violent crimes and only 18% of property crimes were cleared nationwide in 2010.
It is true that gangs make considerable amounts of money selling marijuana.
The only reason criminal groups make any money at all from marijuana is that our current policies allow them to.
By keeping marijuana illegal and confined to the black market, our wildly ineffective marijuana laws are to blame for handing criminals a virtual monopoly on the lucrative marijuana trade.
As long as marijuana remains illegal in the U.S. drug gangs will resort to horrendous acts of violence, including torture, beheadings and the murder of entire families to carve out a share of the trade.
The war on drugs has not reduced crime, disease, death, or addiction.
The public has realized that we need to change our marijuana laws. Politicians would do well to catch up.
Noor Chaudhry is a junior computer science major.