Even though the war on drugs began 45 years ago, not much good has come of it.
Since the late 1970s, drug possession arrests have skyrocketed. However, illicit drug use among Americans age 12 and older is higher than it was in the early 1980s. Accordingly, there has been no correlation found between drug-related arrests and drug use rates.
There are five states in the U.S. that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Marijuana sales in Colorado – one of the five states – are expected to generate $140 million in 2016 tax revenue. This money will go towards building schools, drug abuse prevention, and law enforcement. Colorado has not seen an increase in teenage marijuana use since its legalization. Additionally, OWI/DUI fatalities and injury crashes are down from where they were before legalization.
Arrest rates from marijuana have significantly dropped in Colorado and Washington – another state that has legalized marijuana – by 60% in Colorado and 90% in Washington. The racial disparity in marijuana arrest rates, however, has remained unchanged.
The cost to continue marijuana prohibition in the states that haven’t legalized marijuana usage is $465 million a year for arrests and a staggering $3.6 billion to enforce marijuana laws.
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