Ever wondered why marijuana is illegal in America?
Growing Pot Arrests
Do you get high? If so, you have a lot of company. Although no country has yet legalized marijuana, almost half of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 147 nations have, to some extent, decriminalized it. In the United States, according to an April 2009 Zogby poll, 52 percent of the population now favors legalizationÃ¢â‚¬â€the largest percentage ever.
Despite marijuanaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growing acceptance, most of our elected officials are still reluctant to advocate for the cause. As Rick Doblin, President of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)Ã¢â‚¬â€a nonprofit that has advocated on behalf of medical marijuana since the 80sÃ¢â‚¬â€points out: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Most politicians still wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come out in favor of medical marijuana because they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to appear pro-legalization. And theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re afraid of appearing pro-legalization, because theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re scared of being accused of wanting to give drugs to children.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unlikely things will change anytime soon. PotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s continued criminalization has been championed, sometimes overtly, often covertly, by powerful groupsÃ¢â‚¬â€among them law enforcement agencies, the alcohol and tobacco industries, pharmaceutical companies and the prison-industrial complexÃ¢â‚¬â€who have repeatedly shaped laws and public opinion to reflect their views.
So weed remains a crime, albeit a very popular one.
Pot Arrest Statistics
Pot arrests are at a near-record high. According to FBI statistics, in 2009 more than 1.7 million people were brought in on marijuana-related chargesÃ¢â‚¬â€almost half of them (758,593 to be exact) for simply smoking pot (as opposed to growing or dealing it). According to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lost Revenues and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws,Ã¢â‚¬Â a report written by Drug Science public policy analyst Jon Gettman, enforcing AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pot laws costs taxpayers an annual $10.7 billion. Not to mention the overburdening of our criminal justice system and disruption of the lives of those who find themselves with a criminal record for smoking an occasional joint.
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