The era of prohibition in the United States of the 1920s, during which time alcohol was banned for a period of 13 years, turned out to be impossible to enforce. The same basically applies to the prohibition of marijuana: It must fall.
This is not claimed by just anyone; it is a call made by The New York Times, the most respected quality newspaper of the country. It appears to have sped up the discussion concerning the legalization of marijuana in the U.S.
For the last couple of years, cannabis has already been slowly on the rise in the U.S. Various states experimented with allowing it, in some cases for medicinal use and sometimes — to a small degree — also for recreational use. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have even legalized sales and possession of the soft drug.
The New York Times thinks it is now time to also come to a decision on a federal level: Marijuana has to be legalized. The harmful effects of it are, after all, no greater than those of alcohol and tobacco.
At the same time, the prosecution of the possession of cannabis is causing a lot of social damage, the newspaper says. In 2012 there was a total of no less than 658,000 arrests for possessing cannabis as opposed to just 256,000 arrests for possessing genuinely harmful drugs, such as heroin.
It is young African-Americans in particular who are the victims of this. Their social opportunities have decreased even further, since [arrest for possession] will give them a criminal record at a young age, and [they will] come into contact with crime as a result of time spent in prison.
The counterargument, which holds that the use of cannabis is a “gateway” for use of harder drugs and, as such, also has a lot of harmful effects, is something the newspaper dismisses as fanciful.
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