The business of medical marijuana was prohibited and pushed down for over a hundred years in the United States, but now, medical marijuana finally fights back. As Ric Flair famously said, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” It’s been a battle for decades, and marijuana had a tough time beating the man – until now.
The war on drugs officially launched in 1971 by U.S. president Richard Nixon, but marijuana had been prohibited for decades before that. Reagan declared that narcotics were “public enemy number one” and medical marijuana proponents have fought the system ever since.
While the government continues to funnel more than 51 trillion into the war on drugs annually, hundreds of thousands of people are arrested for marijuana laws violations. In 2014, almost 800,000 people were arrested for marijuana-related violations with 88% of those arrested for possession only. The war on drugs was always meant to target drug smugglers and black market dealers, but in reality, the war has mostly put small-time users in jail.
The amount of money spent on the failed war on drugs, and the amount of people arrested for simply possessing weed is clearly the “man” attempting to bring down the medical marijuana community. But, the war on drugs is no real success, and the states are finally taking marijuana legislation into their own hands.
Why is the war on drugs not really a success? Have you noticed fewer drugs on the streets? The war on drugs didn’t lead to fewer drugs on the streets, but it did lead to more violence. As demands for the illegal substances remained consistent and operations were shut down, the prices started to rise and the “dangers and costs associated with these operations lead to increased violence.” Mexico, for example, experienced a dramatic increase in homicide rates related to the illegal drug trade increase after Colombia’s attempts to reduce drug production.
The failed war on drugs, combined with the fact that more research pops up every day showing the benefits of medical marijuana, makes people rethink their position on marijuana legalization. In a 2015 national poll, 81% of US adult voters supported the legalization of medical marijuana in their state.
The failed war on drugs and the fact that the states are taking matters into their own hands to decriminalize, legalize and tax legal marijuana means that the violent, unsuccessful system is finally beginning to break down. Marijuana proponents are finally beginning to beat the “man” at its own game – through legal action.
Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana. Four of these states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington) approved the legal taxing and selling of recreational marijuana. And many other states have already passed laws decriminalizing marijuana possession with a handful getting ready to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in the coming election in November.
The age of marijuana prohibition is coming to an end, and marijuana is finally beating the “man” after decades of fighting the system. Legal medical marijuana dispensaries are able to provide quality medical marijuana to patients across the country. Those who suffer from chronic medical conditions are finally able to legally access the medication they need to feel better and live a better life. So, as Ric Flair suggests, marijuana is finally earning its place in the medical community after beating the system with facts, research and support.