One of the biggest arguments that we offer up as marijuana activists is that Marijuana reform will harm organized crime. Marijuana is not going away, so does America want to see the marijuana industry taxed regulated, or does it want the marijuana industry controlled by cartels and gangs? Marijuana opponents will act like prohibition is working, and that if it’s just enforced more, it will work even better.
History has shown that not to be the case. They say that the definition of crazy is doing what you have done in the past and expect a different result. That’s pretty much prohibitionists in a nutshell. Marijuana opponents feel that we can arrest marijuana users to the point that people are too scared to consume marijuana. But the fact of the matter is that all prohibition does is push marijuana sales into an unregulated market, resulting in large amounts of money going to cartels.
That’s not a safe and sound approach to marijuana policy. Marijuana legalization works, proven by the DEA’s own words in its recently released 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, as first pointed out by Marijuana Majority:
Marijuana: Marijuana is the most widely available and commonly used illicit drug in the United States. While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, many states have passed laws allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana within their respective states. Due to these varying state laws, as well as an abundance of media attention surrounding claims of possible medical benefits, the general public has been introduced to contradictory and often inaccurate information regarding the legality and benefits of marijuana use. This has made enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult, especially in states that have approved marijuana legalization. State-legalization measures have had several observable effects, including increases in marijuana use, increases in domestically-produced marijuana, shifts in demand for higher-quality marijuana, increases in seizures of marijuana concentrates, increases in the number of Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) extraction laboratories, and declines in the overall amount of Mexico-sourced marijuana seized at the SWB.
The bold font was added by me for emphasis. As you can see, legalization has resulted in declines in the overall amount of Mexico-sourced marijuana seized at the US/Mexico border. To be fair, the DEA kind of tried to passively bash marijuana legalization by pointing out that more people are using marijuana, but those are adults, not kids, proven by federal data and national surveys. Increases in domestically produced marijuana is a good thing, and I don’t feel that there has been a shift in demand for higher-quality marijuana – consumers have always wanted the best. As for concentrates and labs, those are arguments for legalization. If the DEA doesn’t like seeing dab activity in the shadows, they should want to see them brought into the light and regulated.