Since the criminalization of marijuana in the U.S. during the 1930’s, officials have stigmatized marijuana users as thieves, felons and all-around dangers to society. Many may remember the “pot paranoia” during the days of propaganda films such as Reefer Madness (released 1936), in which two teenagers are pressured into trying marijuana and subsequently go on a felony crime spree. Today it is widely accepted that much early marijuana propaganda was misinformed and misleading. Though numerous government studies and private research has led to a general shift in public perception and acceptance of marijuana, many states have yet to reform their laws to reflect this change.
Almost all of the early accusations made against marijuana are now accepted as incorrect. However, one that continues to be made is that the use of marijuana fuels gang-related violence and crime. Some government studies have estimated that more than 60% of Mexican drug cartel profits stem from the smuggling and selling of marijuana alone. Further, officials say that cartels control mass distribution networks in over 250 U.S. cities, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. When one considers that marijuana is estimated to be the U.S.’s largest cash crop with $36 billion in sales annually, it is obvious that controlling just who receives that money, be it a cartel or a government-regulated grower in California, is in the public interest.
Though it may be true that gangs and, more recently, drug cartels fuel their criminal operations in large part by smuggling and selling illegal drugs, many officials are now saying that it is actually the prohibition of marijuana that sends money to criminal elements. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, by keeping marijuana illegal and confined to the black market, “our wildly ineffective marijuana laws — and any elected official who supports them — are to blame for handing criminals a virtual monopoly on the lucrative marijuana trade.” The only reason that marijuana fuels a criminal element at all is because of our nation’s current marijuana policies.
In the end, it is clear that the only real solution to prohibition-fueled gang and cartel violence is to regulate and tax marijuana. If the millions of Americans who regularly consume marijuana had a legal option to purchase it from a government-sanctioned, taxed and law-abiding seller, they would have no reason to patronize the criminal market.
Please read on to Part II of this post to learn more about the negative social and economic consequences of alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s and how we can learn from our country’s past mistakes.
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Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301. www.ggglawfirm.com.
Drug Related Charges may include: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Controlled Substance, Possession of Dangerous Drug, Manufacturing a Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Delivery or Intent to Deliver Marijuana/Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and many other drug related charges.