Costs of Prohibition

Marijuana users are probably the most persecuted minority on the planet.

“There is no other group, no religious organization, no single color or people, who are persecuted in such numbers in so many different places anywhere on the globe.” Former High Times editor Peter Gorman

1. Enforcement costs are huge. An Australian Institute of criminology publication states “it has been estimated that Australia expends between 1.2 and 3 billion dollars annually on drug law enforcement activity.” This money would be better spent on rehabilitation, education and regulation.

2. Tax dollars from this potentially huge industry as well as international trade etc could be used to provide jobs and develop sustainable industries.

3. Falsely inflated prices give rise to massive dealer profitability, an incentive for organised crime and a perfect way to raise funds for other illegal activities … and they (dealers) are the least likely participants in the ‘drug trade’ to get busted.

4. Prohibition laws have created a huge unregulated black economy. A gigantic sector of our society’s commerce lies beyond the states control with millions diverted into the black-market and away from legitimate cash flow.

5. High street prices impact heavily on the frequent user, especially the poor, homeless and deprived, contributing to their despair rather than inducing them to cut back. They may have to perform other sorts of crime like theft to assist their habit.

6. Unjust laws cause disrespect for authority and the justice system.

7. In the black market there is no quality control, and no responsibility for the seller.

8. Prohibition breeds suspicion, fear and greed and disrupts community life, and breaks families apart.

9. Prohibition makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens, restricting life prospects, employment opportunities and international travel.

10. Surrounded by a necessary cloak of secrecy it is harder for people to seek help, access information or rehabilitation.

11. Cannabis prohibition panders to political opportunism and makes hypocrites of governments who support the legal and unhealthy alcohol and tobacco industry.

12. Drug Law enforcement acts as a multiplier for the drug lords. Police crackdowns cause a brief disruption of supply, causing prices to increase, an incentive to organised crime.

13. Prohibition hypocrisy and black market profitability invites corruption in the police force, judicial system, customs and other authority areas

14. “Forbidden fruit syndrome” The use of illegal substances (that they know is not as harmful as it is made out to be) is romanticised, causing the development of a sub-culture, making it much more attractive to young people.

15. Medicine Cannabis preparations have been used as remedies for thousands of years and can be used to treat a multitude of severe medical conditions. Some of the uses of the active ingredients of the hemp plant include appetite stimulant, antiepileptic, antispasmodic, migraine relief, antidepressant-tranquillizer, anti-asthmatic, withdrawal agent for opiate and alcohol addiction, antibiotic and glaucoma.

16. Industry As an annual or bi-annual crop, Hemp is a renewable resource that can provide fibre and oil for cordage, rope and canvas, clothing, building materials such as hemp bricks, paper, paints, varnishes and fuel.

17. Food Prior to prohibition Hemp seed was a staple food for many cultures for thousands of years. Hemp seed is 36% Essential Fatty Acids including Omega-3 Linolenic Acid and Omega-6 Linoleic Acid, as well as the hard-to-get Gamma- Linoleic Acid. It contains 31% complete and highly-digestible protein. Hemp seed oil has both nutritional and medicinal value.

18. The underground market does an extremely poor job of keeping marijuana out of the hands of teens and others who should stay away from it. A regulated market could better educate users to potential risks and prohibit sales to young people.

19. The list is endless

Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party

Insanity … Continuing to do the same things and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

Men seldom, or rather never for a length of time, and deliberately, rebel against anything that does not deserve rebelling against. – Thomas Carlyle

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” – Mark Twain

“About 140 million people-nearly 2.5% of the world’s population-smoke marijuana.” – U.N. Estimates Drug Business Equal to 8 Percent of World Trade…” (Associated Press, 1997, June 26)

“Being a street cop, witnessing the tragedy firsthand, I’ve become convinced that drug prohibition — not drugs themselves — are driving the HIV epidemic and the systemic crime that has swamped our criminal justice systems. Drug Prohibition does exactly the opposite of what it was intended to do. Drug Prohibition creates violence; it creates more addicts; it creates more dysfunction in society.” – Constable Gil Puder, Vancouver City Police

In the 1920s, we thought the problems associated with alcohol could be solved by police and jails. Prohibition taught us we were wrong. ” Rodney S. Quinn, Secretary of State of Maine

They used to burn witches. Today we laugh at them. Today we jail people for marijuana. Tomorrow they’ll laugh at us.” Robert “Rosie” Rowbotham

Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself” – Jimmy Carter

Having reviewed all the material available to us we find ourselves in agreement with the conclusion reached by the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission appointed by the Government of India (1893-1894) and the New York Mayor’s Committee on Marihuana (1944), that the long term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects.” – Cannabis: Report by the Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence (England, 1968)

“A little rebellion now and then…is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” – Thomas Jefferson

“The people’s right to change what does not work is one of the greatest principles in our system of government” – Richard M. Nixon

There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.” Sun Tzu,

“The Art of War” I don’t really know what we can learn from America. They’ve certainly got one of the, if not the worst drug problems in the world, – Jason Meotti, regarding a visit from General Barry McCaffrey.

“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road turn back.” – Turkish Proverb.

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