Study: Decriminalizing Marijuana Doesn’t Increase Use

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Bruce Mirken at the Marijuana Policy Project Blog points to some revealing data from the National Research Council:
The issue most extensively studied has been the impact of decriminalization on the prevalence of marijuana use among youths and adults. Penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use were significantly reduced in 11 states in the 1970s (Bonnie, 1981b). All of these laws preclude incarceration for consumption-related marijuana offenses, making the offense punishable only by a fine, and most also classify the offense in a category (typically a civil infraction) that does not carry the stigmatizing consequence of having been convicted of a crime— hence the term ‘decriminalization.’
Most cross-state comparisons in the United States (as well as in Australia; see McGeorge and Aitken, 1997) have found no significant differences in the prevalence of marijuana use in decriminalized and nondecriminalized states (e.g., Johnston et al., 1981; Single, 1989; DiNardo and Lemieux, 1992; Thies and Register, 1993). Even in the few studies that find an effect on prevalence, it is a weak one. …

In summary, existing research seems to indicate that there is little apparent relationship between severity of sanctions prescribed for drug use and prevalence or frequency of use, and that perceived legal risk explains very little in the variance of individual drug use. [NAP]
We’ve been placing marijuana users in handcuffs and taking them to jail. We’ve been stigmatizing them with criminal records and interfering with their job opportunities. We’ve been taking their children away. We’ve been revoking their financial aid for college. We’ve been taking away their hope for living a normal life and then claiming we’re trying to help them be normal.

Our marijuana laws are designed to hurt people. To inflict injury. And it’s all based on the idea that less people will use marijuana if we do these horrible things to them. But if that isn’t true, then we’re ruining lives for no reason. There remains no excuse for continuing this.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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It's not just marijuana laws

American drug policy, from start to finish, is designed to hurt people. The prohibition of drugs in this country started as a way for paranoid whites to control oppressed minorities. The so-called "war on drugs" was declared for the sole purpose of creating crime and criminals for President Richard Nixon to "get tough" on, thereby winning re-election.

The fact that agents of our government commit murder and mayhem under the pretense of "protecting" us from our own choices only makes it more heinous.

We are turning drug users into drug dealers

When you take away job and education opportunities, guess what the tempting alternative will be?

Prohibition is a very cruel joke!

Prohibition is a very cruel joke, in that by supporting prohibition, the very people they claim to want to protect are put more at risk. Our youth, who now tell me that it is harder to buy a pack of "Camels", than a quarter oz of herb.
By making anything illegal, they just put it in the hands and control of folks who will sell to anyone. (The word bootlegger mean anything)? Remember that ad a few years ago, from the "NRA"? "When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns". Just change the word "guns" for drugs, and we have today.
Our country's "great experiment", should have taught our officials, how insane this is. When people want somthing, they will get it. And by prohibiting that substance, they have created a false profit motive. Any dumb bunny knows its very easy to grow herb, but by making it illegal the "prices" go up dramatically. So, the higher the profit, the more the criminals will fight to keep their buisiness booming. So all in all the whole thing smacks of graft and kickbacks, crooked cops, and an overall disregard for the law.

Sorry grammar police here

The sentence: "And it’s all based on the idea that less people will use marijuana if we do these horrible things to them." should read "And it’s all based on the idea that fewer people will use marijuana if we do these horrible things to them." We make a much better impression on those outside our choir if we use proper grammar skills.

A reminder that politicians rarely do what they say they will...

I would just like to comment this....why the fuck can't a politician give a shit MORE about children suffering from child abuse or being molested. Every time I turn on the news its some pervert teacher, family member, even mall Santas that are previous MULTIPLE offenders being slapped on the fucking wrist for a sexual abuse/molestation charge! Yet our non-violent drug users/providers FILL our fucking jails and prisons.

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