1. Prohibition hasn’t worked — marijuana use is mainstream and widespread.
Relatively few Americans had heard of marijuana when the federal government first effectively prohibited it in 1937. Today, government datashows more than 118 million Americans admit to having tried it (24 million in the last month), and every year, the Monitoring the Future survey finds that four out of five high school seniors say marijuana is easy to obtain.
2. Prohibition wastes public resources
3. Arresting marijuana offenders prevents police from focusing on real crime.
In 2016 alone, the FBI reported more than 650,000 marijuana arrests and citations — more than for all violent crimes combined. Meanwhile, FBI data showed that less than 46% of violent crimes and only 18.3% of property crimes were cleared nationwide. Data published in Police Quarterly showed a higher percentage of some crimes were solved after legalization in both Colorado and Washington.
4. Prohibition sends an incredible number of Americans through the criminal justice system, ruiningcountless lives.
According to the FBI, there have been more than 13 million marijuana arrests in the U.S. since 1995. Eighty-nine percent were for possession. While marijuana consumers who were not convicted have gone on to be president or Supreme Court justice, a criminal conviction can stand in the way of securing a job, getting housing, or receiving a professional license, student loan, food assistance, driver’s license, or firearms permit.
5. Marijuana laws are disproportionately enforced.
According to the ACLU, blacks are more than three times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite similar rates of use.
6. Ending marijuana prohibition does not increase rates of teen recreational marijuana use.
According to the most comprehensive government surveys in each state, no state that legalized marijuana for adults has seen an overall increase in teens’ rates of marijuana use outside of the confidence interval. Most of the data indicates slight decreases within the confidence intervals.
7. Marijuana prohibition breeds violence.
As was the case during alcohol prohibition, driving this lucrative market underground results in violence. Both buyers and sellers are vulnerable to assault when normal commerce and purchase disputes cannot be solved lawfully, in courts.
10. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 30,000 alcohol-induced deaths per year, including more than 2,000 from acute overdose. It reports zero marijuana-induced deaths each year and there has never been a verified marijuana overdose death in history