Should Marijuana be Regulated like Alcohol?

It wasn’t that long ago that alcohol was treated the same as marijuana. During the American Prohibition, alcohol was persecuted just as violently – if not more so –as law enforcement efforts against marijuana today. The Prohibition taught us that a long, futile war against alcohol could never be won: ultimately, people want to drink. People will be drawn to substances that alter their state of mind – this is inevitable. Consequently, many people argue that because marijuana is considered more benign than alcohol, it should be regulated and made available to the public in the same way that alcohol is.

The relative benign nature of marijuana has been touted as one of the central arguments in support of the legalization of the drug. In an article for, Anaridis Rodriguez quotes Dick Evans, author of the Massachusetts Act to Regulate and Tax the Cannabis Industry as saying;

“These are people who don’t smoke pot but they see people who do and they realize that, compared to alcohol or tobacco, the effects of marijuana on public health and public safety is virtually benign.” (1)

However, some people have pointed to the fact that despite its legality, alcohol causes a significant amount of social problems throughout many aspects of American society. This includes the severe disruption of families and a high number of drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths each year. By legalizing marijuana, some fear that these types of problems may be exacerbated. And because marijuana seems to be generally acceptable among young people, if these risks were increased by legalization they might affect our most sensitive populations.

But the vast amounts of money spent in control and eradication efforts in the end do little to disrupt the supply of pot. And in their attempts to stop the traffic of marijuana, law enforcement and drug traffickers engage in a significant amount of violence that affects thousands of innocent citizens each year. Additionally, American prisons are not filling up with dangerous drug manufacturers, dealers or traffickers – they’re filling up instead with petty criminals convicted of little more than possession of pot. In fact, even devout evangelical Christian Pat Roberts has publicly decried this fact:

“I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance.” (2)

But despite the fact that considerable efforts are expended on behalf of the American taxpayer to control marijuana – unsuccessfully – even those who are against drugs have pointed to the futility in the particular arm of the War on Drugs that targets marijuana. Because the drug is readily available nearly everywhere, some have stated that it would make little difference socially if it were legalized.

But financially is an entirely different story, as legalizing and taxing the cannabis industry could result in millions or even billions of dollars in American tax revenue, as well as the creation of a large amount of domestic jobs. Whether this comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: American drug rehab centers will be ready for any potential rise in substance abuse or addiction that the legalization of any drug might cause.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to any substance, take action right now before more damage is done. All it takes is a simple phone call to the number at the top of your screen, regardless of what time it is or where you’re located.

(1) Rodriguez, Anaridis Marijuana Advocates Get Hearing on Beacon Hill 03/07/2012
(2) The Washington Post Pat Robertson: Marijuana should be legalized, regulated like alcohol; war on drugs has failed 03/08/2012

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