The United States’ drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2012, there were 749,825 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession.
At a time when a majority of Americans want to see marijuana legalized, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. The result of this unpopular culture war is not lower rates of marijuana use.
The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete.
As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.