Support is growing nationwide for the eventual legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in all states- but not just amongst marijuana users. Now even cops, such as Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, have come out to criticize the system for its continued criminalization of pot. In a radio interview, McClelland listed many of the inherent problems with things as they stand now, saying that attempting to arrest every person with a minor marijuana violation wastes police time and resources, not to mention taxpayers’ dollars. It also, he noted, puts many young people in the position of having a felony conviction on their record, which can cause irreparable damage to their career prospects. Through his arguments and others such a CNN’s Dr. Gupta, it is becoming clear to see how marijuana legalization would benefit our country as a whole by not wasting tremendous resources in policing and jailing for a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol.
As American growers can now increasingly cultivate and control their own crops of marijuana, the need for illegally grown and obtained pot from Latin America decreases dramatically. A recent NPR piece spoke about the long-standing place countries such as Mexico have held in the marijuana industry and how the competition between drug cartels there has led to high crime rates and dangerous underground networks. That same piece talked about the rapidly falling prices of Mexican marijuana and how American consumers find they prefer home-grown varieties for any number of reasons. If the demand for foreign marijuana falls in favor of a safer, legally cultivated American drug, then could the illegal industry and the crime associated with it effectively disappear?
Remove the Crime, Lower the Crime Rates
While an overnight upheaval of the foreign drug industry seems unlikely, its gradual unraveling looks more and more possible as Americans vote to legalize marijuana. And through decriminalization stateside, crime rates may be lowered both domestically and across the border; if the drug industry in Mexico cannot support itself due to dwindling demand, then the crime perpetrated in its name would theoretically be eliminated. Decriminalizing does not just make it possible for Americans to gain access to higher quality, legal marijuana, but it may make it safer in countries where the violence of drug cartels has so long defined them.
Police Chief McClelland raised the valid point in his radio interview that the continued criminalization of marijuana is not sustainable. “Offenders” who are charged with use or possession of the drug are filling our jails while true criminals walk free. In Latin American countries, violence and crime fuel the illegal drug trade to the detriment of the people living there. With so many consequences of criminalization out there for all to see, it is only a matter of time before legalization becomes the safe, logical norm.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.