Crime News: Time to Legalize Marijuana?

 We place our articles on a variety of internet and crime news sites. We find that there are professional and blog sites where we have wonderful conversations about the materials we create. 

On one recent article we addressed the issue of society controlling itself rather than having the justice system exert so much control. The premise was that citizens and communities decide for themselves as to behavior that’s acceptable. We used Marijuana as one example. We stated  

“We seem to be moving towards decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing its medical use. This movement is not coming from the justice system because we understand that there are millions of people that should not touch anything stronger than aspirin; they do violent and stupid things under the influence. The effort to decriminalize or legalize is coming from citizens and advocates and we hope they know what they are doing.”  

Some responding stated that we were off base—that everyone knows that marijuana is an extremely soft drug with no connection to criminal use.  

Really?  

Before we begin our rant, few if any in the justice system want to see people arrested for possession of marijuana. It’s also clear to us that the tide is turning as to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. Legislation for pot as a medical intervention is popping up around the country. We within the justice system have serious issues to tackle. Arrests for issues like possession of marijuana just seem to get in the way. We have bigger fish to fry.  

Our objection, however, is the dishonest discussion as to the impact of millions of new marijuana users if legalized or decriminalized. Marijuana is a serious drug with serious consequences.  

Yep, so is alcohol, but we don’t kid ourselves about the damaging consequences of alcohol use and its multiple connections to violent crime, spouse abuse and child abuse.  

The bottom line is that there are millions of people who just cannot handle any drug. Regardless as to your personal experiences; they don’t necessarily translate to all other human beings.  OK, so you can smoke pot and drink and do just fine. Problem is that others can’t. Lots of others can’t.  

People high on marijuana beat their wives and children. They smoke and drive and kill people. They engage in violent crime. They do it all the time.  

This is how USA Today reported on a recent federal study drug testing people after they were arrested:  

In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug.  

Marijuana is the most common drug in every city where testing was done except Atlanta, where cocaine is most prevalent, the study found.  

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-27-arrestees_N.htm  

And this is from a press release from the federal government:  

Marijuana is the most commonly detected drug at the time of arrest. The percentage of arrestees testing positive for marijuana ranges from just under a third in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. to about half in Charlotte. Additionally, arrestees who are using marijuana use it frequently: in seven of the cities, marijuana users used the drug on average every other day during the past month.  

http://www.ondcp.gov/news/press09/052809.html  

Again, we do not want to return to the bad old days of locking people up for smoking pot. It’s a medical issue, not a criminal justice issue.  

We just want an honest discussion as to the public health consequences and what legalization or decriminalization of marijuana really means.  

And it probably means much more than you realize. But we do not seem capable of a rational discussion. So many have done it without consequence and believe that their experience is everyone’s experience. It isn’t.  

Crime in America.Net staff.

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Comments

  1. The bias in those statistics is that weed stays in your system for much longer times than alcohol. Just because they are arrested and test positive for marijuana does not mean it influenced them in there crime. They could have smoked days ago and it would come up positive in the arrest. I have known many people to be arrested due to alcohol, however I have not known anyone in my city to commit a crime because of marijuana. Weed was illegalized in the 1930s even against the strong disapproval by the medical community. I’ll trust the doctors and researchers over the government when it comes to marijuana. Hell, I trust most anyone over the government…..

  2. Drug free people beat spouses(husbands and wives), kill people while driving and engage in violent crime. What is the link between marijuana and these crimes?

    Also the fact that marijuana is second most common drug testing positive for drug test is not necessarily an accurate method for discerning what particular drugs criminals use, since it takes the body considerably longer to process marijuana. Not to mention the fact that many drugs, like oxy, ake specific tests to identify.

    I reread the article to find a statistical link to violent crime. Did I miss that part of the article.

  3. Where is the evidence that people high on marijuana beat their wives and children?

  4. Alcohol &just tobacco are way worse than Marijuana. The only reason you guys wanna keep it illegal is because it is a huge source of revenue for city’s N states thru fines & useless rehab programs. Suggesting that people become violent on weed is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. Now the Majority of people in the united states want it legalized, last I checked this is a democracy & now it’s what the people want. Get over it &just let it go, quit pushing your blown up & exaggerated statistics.

  5. Brendan K Callahan says:

    “In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug. ” They all tested positive for breathing oxygen & drinking water. Causality, causality, causality!

  6. You know that marijuana will be detectable for 1 month to more if they are heavy users. It does not mean that they are under the influence of marijuana when they commit the crime. Poverty is the number one reason for crime. so should we make poverty illegal. arrest everyone who is poor? what a dumb article. taking facts out of context and making outlandish statements. I wouldnt put my name to this article either. thats how you can tell the article is rubbish if no one wants to claim it.

    • Hi B. We don’t advocate arrests (let alone incarceration) for possession of marijuana unless the peson is concurrently doing something illegal. We simply agree to disagree as to legalization.
      Best, Adam.

  7. john miller says:

    that is all nothin but lies. people dont beat other people with weed, it diffuses all emotions of violence, and by the way all your staistics say the criminals had multiple drugs in they’re system meaning they raging on meth or heroin get it right yo

  8. Let me see if I got this right, the survey says that most people arrested for a variety of crimes had marijuana in their system. Some had multiple drugs in their system too. I’d be willing to bet that these people would have had marijuana in their system if it was legal too. Most of the crime associated with pot is in the growing and distribution of the illegal substance. You would take that element or most of it out, if it was legal. Even if it’s legalized for medical use only. Look, everyone knows if someone wants to get alcohol illegally they can and will, the same applies to marijuana. Even if it was decriminalized it would help, just busting someone with a little pot is just counterproductive, it takes more paperwork and processing than it’s worth. And our court systems wouldn’t be clogged up with these nonviolent “crimes”.

    As a health risk, hmmmm, I’m not sure if there would be any more risk if it was legalized. I do know that more people would be inclined to start using marijuana if it did become legal. So I guess in that way you would have slightly more people “suffering” from the side effects in long term use. I’ve recently started using marijuana after 18 years of no use because of the type of job I had. I was involved in a tractor trailer accident that left me disabled from doing any kind of gainful employment, and in a lot of long term pain. In fact, I’d probably be on narcotic pain relievers for the rest of my life If I didn’t try pot again. I used to smoke it for the high, that was back in the 70′s, now I use it to survive. And try to live as pain free as I can. And to have a somewhat normal life. Weed is illegal where I live, so I take my chances. So, in the context of this discussion, I’m part of the criminal “problem” when it comes to my use of marijuana……..

    • Thanks for writing–great comments. Very sorry about your condition.
      We think that’s there’s a good chance that marijuana will be legalized so we may see soon who is right. But there is a ton of good research indicating that the current form of marijuana is strongly connected to crime and a greatly increased need for treatment.
      We don’t want arrests for possession; we don’t want prison or jail for possession. We just want an honest debate as to the social consequences. We’ve said it many times–there are a ton of people who can’t handle any substances. The more people we have doing pot, the more social problems we will have. It’s just that simple.
      We appreciate your comments.
      Best, Adam.

  9. Caleb b says:

    I forgot to add an important point to my “rant” or what have you, and that is cannibus legalization is not about legalizing a drug its about breaking propaganda, and the freedom of choice that us americans hold so dear and true. But cannibus prohibition is a clear misaction by the federal govt and it under minds the states governing them selves. For example if a state does not uphold the federal law of cannibus prohibition then the federal government reserves the right to cut federal funds and aid to that state! Basiclly they are forcing the states to agree or suffer the consiquences. And it also undermines freedom of choice, buy disabling peoples ability to chose if they feel its wrong or right. They are telling you we dont think its right so you have to agree or suffer the consiquences. Well over 54% of americans would rather suffer the consequences. So after 70 years we the people feel its our turn to decide what we wish. Thats the point a majority of people asked about legalization will make, personal freedom or big brother you decide.

    • Thanks for your comments. Great points; let the American society decide, but have an honest debate. It won’t be the first time society chooses something seen as dangerous in the spirit of individual freedom. But legalization will not make us a safer society.

      Best, CIA staff.

  10. Caleb b says:

    You know its funny i happened upon this forum because i was just descussing this with my local representitive, and ill say the same thing i said to him. Marijuana is dangerous, but so is alcohol and most importantly so are perscription pills, be it narcotics or others. Yet our federal govt advocates for perscription drugs all the time!! Some narcotics are closer to heroin then anything, yet doctors prescribe them like candy. Marijuana can be used as treatments for a viriety of diseases glacoma and cancer being the top two. ( notice i did NOT say cure i said treatment meaning to treat the symptoms.) I agree with the administrators of this forum claiming that we as advocates dont recognize or admit to the health issues associated with marijuana, but i also beleive that the people who are against it do not descuss the benefits enough if at all. We ne to end the propeganda and start reporting on the correct information because we all know the government lies to us thats why there is a peice of parchment titled “the constitution of the United States of America” to protect us from that front and for most on this issue the first amendment “freedom of the press” but now a days the press is pressured by the people who cut your checks, who in turn are pressured by the government.

  11. Marijuana can cause you to beat your children, any one who has smoke know thats wrong!Nobody legalized alcohol because it’s completely safe, they legalized alcohol, because it was more dangerous having illegal.People who don’t smoke pot think it’s some far out wild drug and people who do smoke regularly know the Truth. Marijuana is not a debilitating drug in the same way alcohol is,marijuana is a safer alternative for responsible ADULTS ” not teenagers in high school”. Obviously if you smoke pot all day every day that’s not good for anyone and if worried about your lungs use a vaporizer or put it in food ! legalize it already. If you don’t want to smoke weed then don’t and for the people that want it legalized we will thank you.

    It’s like gay marriage why would I give a s*** if 2 gay people want to get married it has nothing to do with me if people would just mind their own business

    • Hi. Thanks for writing.
      Once again, we wish we never wrote the line you are referring to. Even if true, it detracts from the issue we wanted to address and that’s a public discussion as to the ramifications of legalization or decriminalization.
      Commenters in this form and others insist that marijuana is essentially harmless or mildly dangerous. But there is considerable research that clearly states that marijuana extracts a considerable price. See http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/03/02/more-on-marijuana-and-crime-crime-statistics/.
      There are a ton of people who use marijuana without personal consequence and there are a ton of people who use alcohol without personal consequence. Do we deduct from that that there is no connection between alcohol and crime?
      Again, we do not want people who use marijuana to be arrested and heaven knows that we do not want them to serve time; the criminal justice system is suffering from massive budget cuts and we have bigger priorities.
      We just want people to have the courage to have an honest debate as to legalization or decriminalization. And that debate needs to go a bit further than “I use it so it’s OK.”
      People use a long list of legal and illegal drugs with strong connections to crime and a wide array of terrible social ills, yet they feel that they can handle it. The biggest reason people do not enter drug treatment is that they feel that they don’t need to go (ask the parents of drug addicts).
      Maybe they can “handle it,” but the presence of these substances, legal or otherwise, has devastating consequences for everyone.
      Why can’t we have the courage to have a rational reasonable examination and let society vote on the issue? We will cast the first vote for no arrests and no incarceration for personal use. The larger society will have to finish the slate as to legalization and, according to public opinion polls, they just might approve. But please let them know that marijuana is anything but harmless, regardless of our personal histories.
      We appreciate your participation.
      Crime in America.Net staff.

    • Well the thing is same sex marriage has no effect on the others around them. (other than going against someones morales.) Pot smoking causing health risks. Increased cancer and the new findings of linking it to schizophrenia and bi polar disorder. Throws your dopamine producers in your brain out of wack messes with the chemicle balances and causes mental disorders.

      • Thanks for writing. But we see the point of marijuana advocates; why declare something that millions of Americans peacefully use as illegal when alcohol is just as destructive (or more destructive) yet it’s legal? Also, this is America and the prevailing wisdom is freedom to do something that doesn’t harm others. We have states where it’s legal to ride motorcycles without a helmet. We have states where it’s OK to carry a gun in public. We do these things on the presumption that being an American allows us to do what we want with a minimum of government interference. Yet we believe that marijuana use, if legalized, will prompt millions more to use it. We further believe that a sizeable portion of those millions will do stupid things that will have a profoundly negative impact on their lives and the lives of others. We have enough societal problems without inviting more. I just can’t ride my Harley helmetless at 100 mph through roads in my state regardless of my belief that I have a right to do it. I may say that it’s pure hypocrisy because you can do it in some states. Regardless, most of society believes that it’s bad for the collective good. It’s the same thing with marijuana.

  12. I’m sorry but the following statement is just ridiculous : “People high on marijuana beat their wives and children. They smoke and drive and kill people. They engage in violent crime. They do it all the time. “… The fact that a drug that makes you passive will make you more likely to hit you wife is contradicting. If any effect, It will probably stop you from doing so.

    I agree about the statement being made about public health. I am a user myself and would very much like to be informed about the dangers of smoking pot. I did a great deal of effort to inform myself about this and could only find things that make it negative because you smoke it. If you would use a vapouriser then you would probably get a totally different picture. I would very much like to read a full study on the long term effects of pot use.

  13. The pure fact that alcohol is an intoxicating beverage which is easier to cosume than a joint, or a smoke of marijuana is enough to reinforce that more of the populous will be driven to try alcohol once before they attempt marijuana. this one time may be the start to a horrid addiction to family abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, and worst of all a rapid increase in crime. Test 3A showed that alcohol in short time provoked aggression and mind failure to control the body, unlike marijuana which showed a passive and rather laughtitious time from all of the subjects tesed….

    • Thanks Eric. Yep, alcohol is bad for society, but does that detract from our point?

      We concede that marijuana stays in the body for up to 30 days, so drug tests at arrest are not “proof” that the person arrested is high at the time. But people who commit crime routinely use drugs and alcohol before their crimes and cities who drug test at arrest do record that an amazing number of people have marijuana in their systems. Getting high goes hand-in-hand with doing crime. Marijuana and alcohol are the drugs of choice. If marijuana is decriminalized or made legal, what does that mean from the standpoint of crime? We are amazed that people are not willing to discuss the public-health and crime aspects of widespread use of marijuana. People simply assume that their passive and non-aggressive experience is everyone’s experience, yet we know that different people are affected differently by any drug. There are happy drunks and dangerous drunks; the same may apply to pot.

  14. “Cannabis legalization = Health care reform”

  15. Marijuana stays in your system for 30 days after usage. So any crime stats are seriously flawed. Just because marijuana is in someones system DOES NOT mean they are high. Alcohol intoxication is easy to spot and to test and most violent crime in America, according to stats, is done under the influence of alcohol. The violence that surrounds marijuana is due to the black market. I agree some people can’t handle any drug, but it makes no sense to have a dangerous substance like alcohol legal and less dangerous substances illegal. It reeks of hypocrisy, and if you look at history most drugs were made illegal because of the people who used them. If white suburban housewives were smoking pot instead of mexican immigrants in the early 1900′s do you think it would be illegal?

    • Hi Eric: Good points. We do not expect to win this discussion. Our only objective was to point out that there are major public health issues coming with the effort to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. Regardless of the issues of alcohol or suburban housewives or the black market, we believe that it’s a simple issue of consequences; consequences that few are willing to admit or discuss.
      Thanks for writing.

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