“What’s your addiction? Is it money? Is it girls? Is it weed?” Kanye West asked on his 2005 disc “Late Registration.” At the time, he was having trouble with “not one, not two, but all three.”
His plight does not stray far from that of many Americans.
Presently, marijuana, an illegal substance, ranks as the number one cash crop in the United States and every 19 seconds an American is arrested for violating a drug law, according to Uniform Crime Reports.
Many pass the blame on inadequate border protection. As though the Mexican drug cartel lazily waltzes across the boundary and targets weak, huddled masses of Americans down on their luck.
Blame rests with no sole entity, but yet, America’s love affair with illegal substances and Mexico’s wherewithal to supply partake in a mutually parasitic relationship.
The 2010 UN World Drug Report estimates one in five Americans use marijuana annually.
Seemingly, the U.S. has entered a second prohibition with 12 states trying to pass legislation in order to allow cannabis residence in a halfway home of legality.
On a federal level, government spends nearly $500 per second on the War on Drugs. In 2010, over 1.6 million people were arrested due to drug law violations.
The biggest reason states across the union are pushing for more lax drug laws is the unsavory fact that the justice system is struggling to handle the load.
Couple America’s lust for illegal drugs with the estimated $30 billion cartels rake in on an annual basis. The steady supply of drugs crawling up from the south comes at a devastating cost for the Mexican people.
Since Felipe Calderón took the office of president in 2006, over 45,000 Mexicans have been killed. Calderón’s crackdown on the cartels, instead of the deal cutting his predecessors practiced, led to a war where public servants (police officers, senators, judges, etc.) become primary targets.
America’s incessant need for supply comes at a crippling demand on the Mexican people.
The solution? The most substantial argument stands to “decriminalize” marijuana.
Freeing up the justice system, lessening the amount of tax dollars going toward prisoners serving drug use-related sentences and gutting the demand for the Mexican cartel’s product would be a push in the right direction.
America would follow the standard set by Portugal who decriminalized all illegal substances. Since Portugal decriminalized illegal substances in 2001, the number of drug-related deaths and infectious diseases has dropped tremendously.
With the use of illegal substance in Portugal regarded as a public health issue, panels decide if a drug user outside of the law should be fined or sent to treatment.
Providing proper treatment versus imprisonment has allowed a decline in drug usage.
America does not need a blanket decriminalization of all illegal drugs, as many substances have substantial health risks.
The current stance on marijuana must be reevaluated and reconfigured to ensure greater harmony for the nation of Mexico, a lighter load for the court system, and a lesser amount of tax dollars going to provide for prisoners.