To the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy,
In 1971 President Nixon declared a war that is still being foolishly fought today, the war on drugs. From the beginning, American’s understanding of drugs has been limited and mostly wrong. Drugs first surfaced in America in the 1800’s. Opium was popular after the Civil War and was followed closely by cocaine. In 1906, morphine was discovered and used for medical purposes. Heroin was also used for its medicinal properties, specifically for fighting respiratory illness. Cocaine was even used in Coca-Cola until 1928. Until the end of the 19th century, when opium use was at an epidemic level, drugs simply weren’t seen as a threat. The first federal anti-drug policy took the name of the Harrison Narcotics Act, which restricted the sale of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and morphine. This act specifically targeted the distribution of drugs, causing about 5,000 physicians to be jailed. Following the first anti-drug law established, several others followed suit, tightening the enforcement of drug policies with each new law. Government propaganda discouraging the use of drugs quickly spread around the country. False ads and fliers made outrageous lies about Marijuana use, claiming that it had caused a women to go crazy and commit murder. At the time, government trust was comparatively high, so the general public believed the lies spread. However, despite the government's warnings and regulations, drug use in the 1960’s skyrocketed. This led to Nixon declaring that America was waging a “war on drugs”, which allowed him to get enough support to create the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and to initiate operation intercept. The US government spent hundreds of millions of dollars closing down the mexican border in an attempt to force Mexico to regulate its marijuana growers. The DEA was successful at cutting off the mexican marijuana supply, but Columbia hastily filled the open position. Every attempt thenceforth has led to the reorganization of international drug trade, not the intended halt in the flow of drugs into our country. As long as the demand exist, drugs will continue to come into the United States despite any and all attempts made by the government.
Marijuana, although a schedule one drug, has recently been rising in popularity. Due to its rising social status, dozens of studies are being conducted in order to test its possible medicinal properties. So far, with limited research, it has already been confirmed that marijuana can significantly reduce (or stop) the symptoms of glaucoma, cancer, epileptic seizures, anxiety, depression, alzheimer's, muscle spasms, eating disorders, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, parkinson's disease, PTSD, alcoholism, crohn’s disease, brain trauma and sleeping disorders. Marijuana, contrary to common misconceptions, has also been proven to reverse the effects of smoking tobacco and can actually help improve lung function. Due to its numerous health benefits, twenty states have legalized it medically and four states recreationally. Despite its medicinal properties, in states where marijuana is still illegal, people are being locked up for life, sometimes just for simple possession charges. Mothers giving their epileptic children life-changing cannabis oil are seen as criminals. In America, a famous rape trial ended in the assailant getting a mere three months in jail, on the other hand, a teen was arrested for making pot brownies and is now facing a life sentence in prison.
In 2014, Colorado legalized marijuana. Since then, there has been a noticeable decrease in violent crimes and the police are able to refocus their efforts (and $40 million annually) on catching violent criminals, opposed to arresting teens smoking pot. Studies have shown that the rate of teens using marijuana has been unchanged despite initial concern. Furthermore, no notable increase in traffic fatalities have occurred. Last year, Colorado made $129 million dollars off of taxing marijuana. This money was largely used to fund education programs that would have otherwise not received the money.
The decriminalization of drugs is often seen as a controversial issue because people view hard drugs such as cocaine, meth and heroine as a danger to society. What the public doesn't know, is how similar these drugs are to the pills that they give their children. Heroin is not only converted to the same drug as morphine when it enters your body, but they are medically interchangeable. The only difference between the two is that heroin is three times stronger than morphine. Adderall, the commonly prescribed ADHD medicine, is virtually identical to meth. In one study, users were literally unable to identify the difference between the two drugs. The only reason drugs are seen as villains in society is due to years of anti-drug propaganda drilled into the public.
The War on Drugs has cost Americans over a trillion dollars. In 2015 alone, more than $36 billion dollars, which could have gone to catching dangerous criminals, funding education programs, or literally anything else, was spent fighting a substance. That debt will only continue to grow by the billions annually until America finally wakes up and realizes that the war on drugs, is in fact a complete waste of time, money, and resources. Whether it be in the near future or a hundred years from now, drugs will be decriminalized in the United States of America. The only question is when.