Marijuana: Criminal or Patient? (Part I)

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If we can’t keep drugs out of a super max prison, then even if America became one huge prison, there would still be drugs. Supporting prohibition based on the belief it will eliminate or even radically reduce drug consumption is both absurd and counterproductive. If incarceration fixed addiction, there almost certainly wouldn’t be repeat offenders in the system.

Graph of US Population incarcerated provided by: The Sentencing Project

Graph of US Population incarcerated provided by: The Sentencing Project

 

China continues to struggle with opium even as Chinese radio announces weekly executions of people involved in the opium trade. There is no amount of cracking down that will produce results remotely resembling what prohibitionists purport to desire. Either they’re completely stupid for adhering to beliefs unsupported by facts, or they are cruel for harboring a hidden agenda that is nothing more than hateful and punitive.

In 2012, I took a job at my county sheriff’s office. While this is not an “all inclusive list” of offenders in this particular jail, it is what I saw and who I booked in my time with the department.

In that time, we had a constant rotation of individuals and repeat offenders. In one unit, we had four men who were being held on murder charges. In another unit, we housed eight to ten men who were either openly gay and housed in this cell for their protection or were accused of rape and/or child molestation. The general population unit housed everyone else. Some were there for traffic offenses, while others were there for other nonviolent offenses (i.e. childsupport, probation violation, drugs, etc.)  with the majority of the population being minor marijuana possession of one ounce or less.

Current Georgia Law states:
O.C.G.A. 16-13-2(b) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, any person who is charged with possession of marijuana, which possession is of one ounce or less, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 12 months or a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, or both, or public works not to exceed 12 months.

In Georgia’s last legislative cycle, HB1 was introduced and was eventually voted on. Governor Nathan Deal made a statement:my thinking has evolved when talking about medical marijuana. Here’s a fact, he isn’t talking about medical marijuana. Deal is speaking of cannabis oil, which contains minimal levels of THC. This statement comes after a the Federal Government released a study which shows that marijuana does, in fact, have medicinal value. Might I remind you that Gov. Deal is NOT a doctor, he is a lawyer. He was also a criminal prosecutor, a Northeastern Judicial Circuit judge, and a Hall County juvenile court judge, so his bias is quiet justified in that he has never had to view marijuana as a medicine, but rather as an illegal drug for which he has prosecuted and imprisoned individuals for.

THC/CBD chart PROVIDED BY http://azmarijuana.com

THC/CBD chart PROVIDED BY http://azmarijuana.com

I propose that we stop locking up good people and start supporting a system that understands the medical aspects of marijuana. I also propose that we stop locking up good people and start supporting a system that tackles the root of any addicts problem… Addiction.

To be continued…

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[In Part II, I will dive into opiates and their mass production/distribution in America, particularly the Veterans Administration.]

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