Originally published July 5 2011
US spends billions every year prosecuting marijuana violations while economy tanks
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The US economy is rapidly unraveling, vital services are being cut, and millions of Americans are losing their jobs and struggling just to survive. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to spend billions of taxpayer dollars every year to fight its endless "War on Drugs," which includes spending about $7.7 billion a year just on enforcing marijuana laws, and preventing sick and injured patients from accessing this natural, side effect-free treatment for their ailments.
Despite numerous recent cases of relaxed or reneged marijuana laws in various US states, the federal government's attitude towards the plant remains the same. It considers marijuana to be a dangerous street drug along the lines of cocaine and heroin, despite the fact that it is safer than prescription drugs, and provides natural relief for pain and illness without devastating side effects.
"Without [marijuana], I would be living on morphine and other horrible drugs. I couldn't do that to my family," said 71-year-old Marcy Dolin of Rohnert Park, Calif., to The New York Times recently. Dolin, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, smokes marijuana regularly because it is the only remedy for his extreme pain and muscle spasms that works, and that does not cause other harm.
"I used to take a drug called Neurontin, and I just never stopped crying. I was in a fog, totally depressed. I told my doctor that I was going back to just marijuana; he said he would have me arrested if he could. What are they going to do? I'm 71 years old. Are they going to put me in jail? I'm not hurting anybody. It's just here in my own house."
And there are literally thousands, if not millions, of other patients like Dolin that would benefit from smoking or consuming marijuana rather than dangerous prescription drugs. Most of them will likely never experience relief without excruciating side effects, thanks to current government policy that favors the drug industry at the expense of what is best for the public. After all, marijuana used to be a legal substance used in medicine, long before the days of Big Pharma's hijacking of the political structure that now opposes it.
Besides wasting massive amounts of money, the war on marijuana is also preventing significant economic development, according to a recent report in The Morningside Post. If legalized and effectively regulated and taxed, marijuana could generate billions of new dollars in revenue for local and state governments, and create an untold number of new jobs.
"[L]egalization of marijuana -- the cessation of prosecutions and tax revenue -- could put more than $13 billion into government coffers," states the MP article.
"A look at Montana ... shows how the state has been given a much needed bump from the legalization of medical marijuana. Since 2004, investors have put millions of dollars into the newly legalized medical marijuana sector, creating jobs for professional horticulturists, construction workers, and electricians put out of work by the Great Recession. This small marijuana industry created 1,400 jobs last year -- this in a state with less than a million people."
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