Obama and the 46 Drug Offenders – A Small Step in the Right Direction
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 07/23/2015 in Medical Marijuana Laws
Recently President Obama commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders and this made headlines all across the board. While this is a step in the right direction, there are thousands of new arrests made each year dwarfing this action by the president.
While I’m sure those 46 offenders, some of who had decades to their sentences, are quite happy about the decision made by Obama, it is high time that criminal penalties in general for drug consumption gets ‘nerfed’ by lawmakers.
The Problem with Arresting Drug users
The biggest issue with arresting and incarcerating drug users is that is a huge waste of time. For the most part, addicts tend to find their drugs behind bars without any real problem and for those who were caught with ‘lesser drugs’ often find themselves introduced to ‘harder drugs’ once in prison.
In addition, through incarcerating drug users, you attach a criminal record to thus said user. This means that finding a job will become infinitely more difficult and the odds of them finding a job that can raise them out of the social problems that help reinforce their drug habits become even more dismal.
Not to mention that all of this is done using public funds and the results in terms of drug use and sales in the United States are pretty much unaffected. In fact, one could even argue that this current system creates the black market, which in turn makes it easier for users to get their hands on the substance.
Is there a better way?
For the most part, people from lower-income demographics tend to lean towards ‘harder substances’. With limited choices and social reinforcement, the odds of them taking drugs significantly rise. On the other hand, when you provide options for low-income individuals in terms of personal development, housing options and job opportunities, the odds of someone squandering their lives on addictive substance diminish quite substantially.
By diverting funds from incarceration to education and community development, we could easily rake back the rates of addictions and in turn create people who actually contribute to society.
Should we decriminalize all drug use?
Wouldn’t that cause a spike in use? Well, even if heroin consumption is decriminalized in the US, one should ask the following question: “If heroin is available to you right now, would you use it?” If the answer is yes, then the odds are that no law can stop you from using it. However, for the majority of society…the answer is no!
That’s because educated people know about the risks of using a substance as addictive as heroin. Thus, they make an informed decision to stay away from this kind of behavior. There is no correlation between decriminalization and increase of drug use, and if we look at the statistics in Portugal, evidence suggests that use actually goes down.
Therefore, while Obama pardoned these 46 individuals, a real act of valor would be to decriminalize all drugs and to dismantle the machine known as prohibition.
However, a snowball has a greater chance in hell than that happening any time soon.