In the last 15 years there were more than 10 million arrests in the United States for marijuana possession, with an additional million for trafficking. In 1995, the total for possession was 503,000; in 2010, the number had grown to 750,000. In New York City alone, the annual rate has been approximately 50,000, although a softening of the policy has resulted in a 15% decrease over the past year. What do those increasing arrest statistics say about the success or failure of the “War on Drugs”? In 2007, 14.4 million Americans, or 5.8 percent, said they were regular users of marijuana; three years later the number jumped to 17.4 million, or 6.9 percent. Undoubtedly the growing acceptance of its use for medical purposes has played a part in these increased numbers, and it is likely that the trend will continue, particularly since the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, has announced that the Federal Government will no longer challenge states that have defied federal statutes in their approval of marijuana’s medical use. Where will this end? We might look to our more liberal neighbors to the north for a clue.An article in today’s issue of the Vancouver Sun reported that 50,000 marijuana users are busted every year in Canada despite the fact that 66 percent of the population favors legalization. More importantly, at a weekend convention of the Liberal Party, 77 percent of the delegates voted to legalize weed. The headline above the story in the Sun led with “Hallelujah!” To which I say, “Amen!”
Country Joe and the Fish ask that you “Don’t Bogart That Joint”.