As of now only 4% of the American public believes we’re winning the War on Drugs, and the supporters of prohibition are becoming desperate.
As of late some supporters of the WoD have re-branded themselves as kinder, gentler drug warriors. They don’t want to put you in a cage for smoking pot, they only want to arrest you, send you to a drug court, place you in a rehab you don’t need, and subject you to urine screens. If you fail on of those tests, however, they still want to put you in a cage. I call them “rehabitionists” and the king of them all is former drug czar flack and current TV talking head, Kevin Sabet.
From time to time, we at HIGH TIMES will take one of these rehabitionist’s talking points and expose it to the harsh light of truth. Today, we tackle the supposedly scary proposition that if we legalize marijuana, people will use it.
This proposition is frightening because to the rehabitionist, there is no good use of marijuana. Will more people use marijuana when it is legal? Perhaps, but that stat doesn’t occur in a vacuum, it affects other measures of social wellbeing, too. Do drunken driving fatalities decrease as more people switch to pot? Do prescription overdoses fall as people replace addictive opioid painkillers with medical cannabis? Do cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s rates fall?
It’s impossible to predict, but rehabitionists will try. In one re-tweet, Kevin Sabet stated, “New [Colorado Quinnipiac] poll suggests marijuana [use] might rise 40% compared to current rates!” and then provided links to the poll and the most recent Colorado use rates provided by the National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH). The poll stated “only 15% of Colorado voters, including 35% of voters 18 to 29 years old, say they will smoke marijuana after recreational sale becomes legal in January.”
The NSDUH figures say 15.94% of those voters aged 18+ use marijuana annually in Colorado. For those aged 18-25, the figure is 41.29%. Looks like the Quinnipiac poll matched the current use rates, not exceeded them by 40%.
Remember folks, it's not the rate of use that matters, it is the harm caused. Notice there are few campaigns to get Americans to drink less alcohol, despite the easily proven fact that increased use leads to increased social harm. Instead, the focus is on drinking responsibly -- reducing the harm. With marijuana legalization, we can finally cease the futile attempt to eradicate pot smoking and instead focus on teaching consumers about responsible use.