Just Because You Don't Smoke Cannabis Doesn't Mean You Shouldn't Support Legalization
Every once in awhile I will be talking to a non-marijuana consumer, and they will tell me that the only reason they don't support marijuana legalization is because they don't smoke it. A common phrase I hear them say is, 'Why would I care about something that doesn't affect me?' The fact of the matter is, marijuana prohibition affects us all to some extent, whether we consume cannabis or not.
More than 27% or Americans come from a minority background according to the Census Bureau. Considering the fact that there are now more minority babies in the United States than there are white babies, that number is obviously going to continue to grow. According to our friends at Encyclopedia Britannica, one of 'Anslinger’s main weapons was inciting fear of Mexicans.' Think that things have changed? Marijuana has been, and continues to be, one of law enforcement's favorite ways to harass minorities.
Take for instance the city of Atlanta, GA. Last year, 93 percent of all marijuana possession arrests in the city of Atlanta were African-Americans, and 7 percent were white. The city’s population is 54 percent African-American and 38 percent white. If you are a non-marijuana consuming minority, and you don't think that marijuana prohibition affects you, please research this issue more. I guarantee you will see that reform is way, way overdue.
Marijuana prohibition is also a human rights issue. Anyone who doesn't think so should look at the terrifying pictures of headless bodies coming out of border towns in Mexico. A person might not consume marijuana, but I think we can all agree that no one should suffer the way people are in Northern Mexico. This suffering is due in large part to marijuana prohibition. As NPR previously stated, "As Mexico's biggest agricultural export, marijuana generates billions of dollars in revenues each year for the brutal narcotics cartels. By some estimates, it is the most profitable product for the Mexican drug gangs."
Ending marijuana prohibition in the United States would drastically cut back on what is possibly the greatest source of revenue for ruthless drug cartels. Right now people are dying at alarming rates in Mexican border towns because the gangs are trying to control the lucrative marijuana market. If America legalized marijuana, that market would dry up, and cartels would take a huge hit.
Another point that non-marijuana consumers need to consider is the economy. I think marijuana consumers and non-marijuana consumers alike can agree that resources are scarce these days. A lot of resources go into supporting the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Shouldn't those resources be directed to somewhere else? Perhaps to fight violent crime, or to fund schools, or just about anything anyone can think of besides prohibiting a harmless substance. I don't want any resources wasted, on marijuana prohibition or anything else. America needs to be smart with it's dollars. I have yet to find a non-marijuana consumer that disagrees with that last point.
Of course, not only would marijuana legalization save dollars on the outgoing end, legalization would usher in a 'Green Era' in American business that has never been seen before, and would generate enormous sums of money. All non-marijuana consumers can agree that we need more jobs in America. All non-marijuana consumers can agree that we need more tax funding for vital services such as schools and firefighters in America. It should be a logical conclusion then that we should legalize marijuana, which would do both of those things, almost overnight. Name one other industry on the planet that can say that truthfully.
Finally, non-marijuana consumers need to support marijuana legalization because even though they don't consume marijuana themselves, chances are they know someone that does. Statistically speaking, it could be someone living in their own home. My good friend Adam J. Smith that writes for this blog always points out to me that if someone's son or daughter gets caught consuming marijuana, that should be an issue left up to the parents, not the police. Non-marijuana consumers never think about marijuana prohibition in those terms. Should anyone's son or daughter go to jail because they got caught possessing a personal amount of marijuana? I'm not a parent, but I can't imagine any parent thinking that's OK.
Marijuana consumers are everywhere. We are friends with non-marijuana consumers, we are related to non-marijuana consumers, we work with non-marijuana consumers, and in some cases, we are even married to non-marijuana consumers. Non-marijuana consumers that don't support legalization likely haven't heard from someone they know or love that they consume marijuana, and that there is nothing to fear. Have a conversation with a non-marijuana consumer today and explain to them why they should support marijuana legalization. After all, you don't have to consume marijuana to realize that marijuana prohibition has failed!