According to drugpolicy.org, the U.S. spends more than $47 billion dollars annually on the War on Drugs. In 2017, they reported that there were 1.6 million individuals arrested for drug violations. Of those 1.6 million individuals, 85% of them are facing incarceration for possession charges, with nearly half of these individuals arrested for cannabis.
If you start looking at the numbers, it seems the War on Drugs is a war on cannabis. In 2018, the U.S. government which has yet to legalize cannabis received a fat $4-billion-dollar paycheck from cannabis markets in legal states. The federal government will not allow cannabis businesses operating within compliance of their local state laws to bank like regular businesses. However, they sure will open their wallets wide to receive taxes from the sales of a plant that they continue to arrest hundreds of thousands of individuals for every year.
The Hypocrisy Of It All
The United States is home to the highest incarceration rate globally. Sadly, a large portion of those incarcerated are sitting in jail for crimes that are now entirely legal in many states. As it stands, 33 states and counting have legalized medical cannabis and 10 allow recreational use.
Meanwhile, the federal government keeps cannabis classified as a drug that is extremely harmful and offers no medical benefits. However, at the same time, they also have a patent that clearly states cannabis has therapeutic benefits such as neuroprotective properties.
While they continue to support their old ways of thinking, they shouldn’t be able to reap financial gains from state legal markets. $4 billion dollars may not seem like a lot when you’re talking about government; however, it’s highly substantial.
How Much Good Could Be Done With $4 Billion
Let’s try to put it into perspective. Forbes reported that with $10 million dollars we could feed every homeless veteran in the United States three meals a day for 28 days. At this rate, that means that we could take $4 billion instead of giving it to the United States government and feed every homeless vet in America for the next 33 years! Yes, you read that right for the next 33 years! According to the Borgen Project.org, it would only cost $30 billion a year to end hunger globally. I’m sure if you ask anyone that consumes cannabis they would prefer to put money into feeding the hungry or perhaps improving schools. Anywhere other than the bank accounts of those that continue to support prohibition and capitalize off of incarcerating peaceful cannabis consumers.