Each year we waste hundreds of millions of dollars from arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning marijuana offenders. In 2009, there were 17,008 felony and 61,164 misdemeanor marijuana arrests in California, for a total of 78,172. The misdemeanor arrests are simply for possession of marijuana, and these people- who could be completely civilized peaceful human beings- are possibly being thrown in jail for months or years and fined because they like to use marijuana freely. That to me is like saying if we locked up people for having a few beers! It’s not fair to the people who should have the right to choose to smoke marijuana if they want to.
Not to mention, guess who’s paying for these people to be imprisoned? You, the tax payer. The average cost per inmate in California from 2008-2009 was about $50,000. This money is coming from us to pay for these innocent marijuana users to be fed, clothed, have health care, and security within the prisons and jails. Don’t you think it’s a little ridiculous we have to spend all this just because someone likes to relax and get a little “high”? Ok, it is true that many of the arrests could have been people who were distributing large amounts and therefore could lead to them being dangerous. Well if marijuana was legalized, where would their business go? It would be done, there would be no need for smuggling marijuana and any other crime around it.
Police roam the streets everyday to protect and keep our citizens safe. Then I would like to know why they are wasting their time arresting marijuana users when they should be out looking for murderers, gang bangers, robbers and rapists who harm people and the community in a much greater way. Thanks for arresting the two teenagers who were smoking a joint in the park, most likely leading to the consumption of mass amounts of taco bell and playing video games for the next few hours. I think this all leads back to the scare tactics that were used in the first place to make marijuana illegal, when farmers would say that the Mexican workers who used marijuana after a long day in the fields would turn into uncontrollable, violent people. This rumor was simply sparked by racism and jealousy of big farms who could pay for the workers. Since then these scare tactics have not stopped, making the casual marijuana smoker someone who is looked down upon in many societies. Lets be real. Yes it might make a person a little giddy and hungry, but they’re not violent and uncontrollable. The police do not need to bother these people because they are not doing anything to harm society.
If Prop. 19 had passed it would have saved the government millions of dollars. I wish our state could have been smart enough to vote the right way, all I can do now is hope the next time we get the chance we will make the right decision.