Should We Call for a Truce in the War on Cannabis?
Mitch Earleywine, in his review of Doug Fine's (2012) Too High to Fail: Cannabis and the New Green Economic Revolution, briefly summarizes moral and economic arguments for ending our decades-long prohibition on cannabis. These include the following: (1) even though the Drug Enforcement Agency spends $2 billion a year on the war on drugs and someone is arrested in the United States for cannabis possession every 40 seconds, teenagers still report that it is easier to obtain than beer; (2) people of color are arrested and locked up at rates far in excess of Whites; and (3) almost twice as much of California's budget goes to prisons than to higher education. Earleywine might have added other arguments from his own work, e.g., legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco are addictive and together lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, whereas cannabis is not addictive and has never caused death due to health complications in recorded history. Is it time to stop throwing people in jail for cannabis and instead regulate it as we do cigarettes and alcohol?
By Mitchell Earleywine
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(3)