A “War on Drugs” approach to marijuana is ineffective and counterproductive. It simply doesn’t make sense to spend limited resources going after individual non-violent drug users.
But the other extreme – legalization – is also a serious mistake. Commercializing marijuana will create the next “Big Tobacco” industry of our time. A new industry of lobbyists and special interests intends to put profits and special interests over public health and safety.
Now is the time to stop and ask if we are sure we’re moving in the right direction on marijuana. In states that have legal marijuana, the black market continues to thrive, youth drug use is increasing, and the number of fatal drugged car crashes is skyrocketing. No amount of tax revenue can outweigh the social costs citizens are already being forced to pay.
Science and evidence should guide our approaches to marijuana laws, not ideology or profit. And the research is clear: today’s marijuana is higher in potency, is driving treatment admissions for addiction, and making it harder for our workforce to compete globally. We can reform our nation’s criminal justice system without commercializing a drug we know to be harmful. It’s time to have an honest conversation about marijuana before it’s too late.