TW Viewpoint | High Society: Does Legalizing Marijuana Reduce Crime?

May 31, 2017 | Stuart Wachowicz

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Many today are calling for and promoting the legalization of marijuana. One of their salient arguments is that legalization will be a blow against organized crime. Is this really the case?

As presented on an earlier Viewpoint, entitled "High Society", the vast weight of medical opinion, even as articulated on the Government of Canada website, and by the Canadian Medical Association, is that marijuana is a dangerous drug, with a host of serious, lasting and in some cases debilitating side effects, which should not be legalized for social use.

So why is it, against general medical opinion, that governments propose legislation to legalize a dangerous drug?

A key argument used by proponents is the assumption that legalizing pot will undermine a key source of income for organized crime. The position is put forward that legalization would reduce contact of users with the criminal element and hence lessen the likelihood of contact with more serious drugs.

While it is obvious that removal of the criminal status for marijuana would cause a drop in the crime rate, it does not follow that the illegal drug trade would be significantly harmed.

Even while enforcement of marijuana laws is relaxed, and the drug can still be accessed from storefront operations, the use of other drugs has not declined.

According to a University of Ottawa study, marijuana is used by at least 2.3 million Canadians. Nearly a quarter million of these users are between the ages of 12 to 17 years old.

Yet despite easier availability and decreased risk of prosecution, the consumption of even more damaging drugs is increasing.

Most empirical research shows that marijuana is a gateway drug to more serious drugs. Whether it is legal or not, organized crime will benefit from growing marijuana use.

Dr. Robert Dupont, first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse makes the following observation in the New York Times:

"... people who use marijuana also consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana."

He goes on to say: "Legalizing marijuana will have lasting negative effects on future generations. The currently legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, are two of the leading causes of preventable illness and death in the country. Establishing marijuana as a third legal drug will increase the national drug abuse problem, including expanding the opioid epidemic."

I recently received a letter that tells the tragic story of the impact of marijuana. Mr. Kenneth Williams, a 39 year old, wrote: "I was what you would call a third generation marijuana smoker. I was born into first breath taken in this world wasn't a lung full of fresh air, but weed smoke!...I could not learn reading, writing and arithmetic at an appropriate pace with others my age."

He indicates that marijuana drew him into a crowd that used "weed" and other drugs. While under the influence of pot he began committing crimes, as the drug is found to reduce one's sense of consequence. By the age of 21 he found himself on death row in an Arkansas prison, convicted of multiple murders, committed under the influence of the "harmless" drug-marijuana.

Today, Mr. Williams, has come to terms with his situation, and now seeks to warn others who have been, or may be, deceived by the lie that marijuana is a harmless substance. He has even written a book that will serve as a warning on this matter. (The Unrelenting Burdens of Gang Bangers) He writes:

"I share my story to warn others walking into darkness. Drugs like marijuana have led many to their deaths or a cold prison cell. It is harmful to users and to the nation. I am a living witness - at least for the time being... "

Mr. William's story bears out warnings provided by the CMA and even by the Government of Canada website.

Research and common sense demonstrate that legalization of marijuana will increase, not decrease, violent drug crime and the results of drug abuse. Legalizing ways to escape reality only result in a weaker and more violent society, where the only hope seems to be getting high.

There is hope however. Click here to discover the productive, drug-free future of Tomorrow's World

I am Stuart Wachowicz for Tomorrow's World Viewpoint.

View part 1 of this series, High Society: The Legalization of Marijuana

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