70 years of failed cannabis prohibition in USA

Hemp farmers

Thanks to Hemp Ed in Pe Ell who reminds us that everyone should take note of the significance of Oct. 2nd.

Indeed, October 2, 2006 was the dubious anniversary of 70 years hassle when unemployed Colorado laborer Samuel R. Caldwell was arrested for selling two marijuana cigarettes to Moses Baca and became the first federal marijuana arrest. For his crime, he was sentenced to four years of hard labor at Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine.

Hemp Ed says, “This was a bad day for America, and has lead to the arrest and incarceration of 10 of millions of Americans, and opened the door to far more reaching invasive laws into all our freedoms. When will the madness end?”

Not anytime soon it seems as 2006 set a new high (heh) for cannabis arrests. NORML kicks down some opinion and factoids in a stylish chart documenting the debacle.

Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director {give Mr. St Pierre a ring at (202) 483-5500} concluded in NORML’s report: “Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States,” that:

“Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 20 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater – and arguably far fewer – health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

MARIJUANA ARRESTS BY YEAR
US Marijuana Arrests 1965-2006

Producer of Marihuana tax stamp.Obligatory Wikipedia snippet from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937_Marihuana_Tax_Act

In the United States, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, Pub. 238, 75th Congress, 50 Stat. 551 (Aug. 2, 1937), was one of the cornerstone bills that led to the criminalization of cannabis. It was introduced to U.S. Congress by Harry Anslinger, then Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

The act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of cannabis, but levied a tax equaling roughly one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in marijuana. It did, however, include penalty provisions. Violations of proper procedure could result in a fine of up to $2000 and five years’ imprisonment. The net effect was to make it too risky for anyone to deal in the substance.

 

Whatcha think?