Legalizing Marijuana to Lower Crime Rate

Discussion in 'Legalization/Decriminalization' started by dj Dozhe, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. dj Dozhe

    dj Dozhe New Member

    Last year I remember seeing a State (can't remember which) put a bill up to legalize marijuana, and use the taxes to fund rehabilitation clinics. This seemed like an excellent way to lower the crime rate and improve people's quality of life.

    Personally I feel that drug abuse/addiction is what leads to users committing crimes that negatively impact themselves and their communities. This comes from my viewing friends fall down the hole that is heroine, meth, and cocaine specifically.

    For those that become addicted, the drug becomes necessary to their daily survival. As use increases, they begin getting fired from their day jobs. This causes them to go on unemployment, and that isn't enough money to provide them with clothes, food, shelter, AND drugs. The addiction puts the body's desire for drugs above these first three which is what qualifies it as a disorder in the DSM-IV. Without legal employment they turn elsewhere to get the drugs.

    They steal, whore themselves, or many times attempt to sell drugs to support their own habit. They usually sell the drugs THEY THEMSELVES are looking to get high with, and this can create a three step process: First, they sell more drugs than they use and make a bit of money; then, they begin using just as much as they are selling and only break even; then they begin using MORE than they are selling and find themselves in bigger trouble than when they started.

    This behavior does not occur because the user failed to see their actions were illegal, or didn't know they risked jail time or fines. It occurred because of abuse ending with addiction. With so many people addicted to these drugs it would make sense to help people fight the addiction first, but rehab is NOT cheap or 100% effective.

    Narcotics Anonymous provides a fantastic free support group, but higher success rates are found when someone enrolls in a multi-week in-patient program, followed by time in a sober living complex FOLLOWED by Narcotics Anonymous meetings. So what's stopping people from enrolling in these programs? Two major things: an inability to recognize the addiction, and the money required for the program.

    Rehab clinics are incredibly expensive, and so is sober living. While some hospitals do offer 1 week programs for detox it doesn't help prepare the addict to return to their previous situation and avoid the drugs that hurt them in the first place.

    Legalizing marijuana with taxes that go to rehab clinics could be a major step to improving many people's quality of life by releasing them from the strangle hold of addiction, and thereby reduce selling of the drugs, thefts to gain the money to purchase, and self prostitution. The idea that legalizing marijuana could actually help the "war on drugs" will seem odd the the people in charge, but why not consider the possibility?

    Of course this post is all speculation on my part, but it's based on my own personal experiences in the drug community. I guess it could only be proven if a state took a chance and then had the results monitored by multiple groups. I don't know if this has been brought up before, and I'm sorry if it's a reposted argument, but I had to get it off my chest. Jails don't help addicts, showing them we care enough to help does.
  2. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    Prohibition leads to users committing crimes. If the drugs were legal and available at anywhere near their true market value (w/o the black market "vig"), no one would need to steal to get them.

    Rehab is much less expensive than incarceration. Incarceration isn't 100% effective as a deterrent to future crimes.

    Why is sober living expensive? It would seem that w/o buying drugs at black market prices, sober living would be a lot less expensive.
  3. timiscute

    timiscute Funky Monk

    I think by sober living the OP was refering to sober living environments which are pretty much places for people to go to after rehab so they can ease themselves into the real world while not being surrounded by the drugs or alcohol that originally sent you to rehab. It's like a halfway house for rehab. And to the OP I dig what you're saying. It all makes sense to me the hard part is convincing those with the actual power to change the laws.

    ~Tim
  4. dj Dozhe

    dj Dozhe New Member

    As this was the first time I ever put that thought down on paper I guess a few points need clarification:
    1. The Sober Living I mentioned is as timiscute described, not to be confused with living with sobriety.
    2. When I discussed theft as a possible avenue to attain drugs I didn't mean to suggest people would steal drugs, I meant stealing to support the habit (i.e. purses, wallets, liquor stores, cars, etc.). I probably should've used grand/petty theft/larceny to describe the behavior I meant.
    3. Rehab IS definitely less expensive than incarceration, and if rehab possibly followed by sober living and attendance of meetings was the sentence given we would most likely be looking at a better rate of recovery; not to forget a drop in criminal behavior.
    4. Crime rates would fall as possession, use, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana would cease to be crimes. So to get an accurate look at change, marijuana related offenses would have to be dropped from the previous crime rate numbers for a proper comparison.
  5. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    So did I.

    See? Nothing about stealing drugs. Not "steal them": "steal to get them."
  6. dj Dozhe

    dj Dozhe New Member

    Pardon my misread. I was reading your post off my phone on a class break.

    My brain hiccuped because of your comment that if they were legal and readily available, people wouldn't have to steal. I failed to understand how easy access would help someone afford a drug after they've been fired and can't keep gainfully employed. This comment, as I hope my original post indicates, involves people I've known addicted to heroin, meth, or cocaine to support their habit.

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