Marijuana laws as a deterrent have done nothing to benefit the general public. The marijuana laws that are currently in place are due to old laws passed in the early 1900's. These laws have been shown to be unneccesary yet the government continues to enforce them instead of trying to better the community and our country.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana never has been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspired homicidal rages were counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.
Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults.
The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless, tough-on-drugs politicians who built careers confusing the drug war's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant.
Original article: http://www.thetimesherald.com/article/20120104/OPINION03/201040322