MJ “Spin” vs The Truth

(Special thanks to our friends at the Rocky Mountain HIDTA-CO)

May 10th, 2012

Spin: Taxing marijuana like alcohol and tobacco would result in millions of dollars in additional tax revenues for vital services, such as our schools, which have faced millions in budget cuts over the past few years.

Truth: Marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, would be taxed and generate revenue. However, what they fail to mention is that tax revenues from our two legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, cover less than 15% of the economic costs due to use of these substances. That includes health-care, treatment, lost productivity, criminal justice costs, traffic crashes and fatalities and dropouts, to name just a few. It is reasonable to conclude that the figures with marijuana use, if legalized, would mirror those of alcohol and tobacco.

Spin: Hundreds of thousands of people are arrested each year for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Marijuana offenses are causing overcrowding in our prisons, crowding our court systems, presenting enormous costs to our legal system and law enforcement, taking time away from catching and prosecuting violent criminals.

Truth: In Colorado, possession of a small amount of marijuana results in a citation, like a traffic ticket. The fine is $100. Less than 1% of the prison population in Colorado is incarcerated for any kind of marijuana offense including large-scale distribution and cultivation. There are more people in prison for repeated traffic offenses than marijuana offenses.

Spin: The War on Drugs has been a failure; that millions of dollars are spent every year fighting a losing battle.

Truth: Use of the term “War on Drugs” by President Nixon, just like the term “War on Poverty” by President Johnson, was unfortunate. Anytime you deal with human behavior you will never achieve total victory. The key is to limit the number of people engaged in the activity and thus the corresponding negative impact. How to measure success and failure is subjective. However, the very few that would argue that to reduce the rate of drug abuse from the late 1970‟s by 50% over a fifteen-year period, and generally maintain stability, is a failure. There are relatively few that would argue that reducing teen drug abuse over the last decade by 24% is a c/o Colorado Drug Investigators Association www.healthydrugfreecolorado.org failure. There are very few that would argue that reducing clandestine labs in Colorado from over 300 a year to less than 10 is a failure.
There are very few that would argue reducing cocaine and methamphetamine use down to .6% and .2%, respectively, of our population is a failure.

Spin: Legalizing marijuana would cut off the flow of money to Mexican drug cartels who sell marijuana in the U.S. It would reduce the amount of crime and violence associated with the marijuana trade.

Truth: There is much more to Mexican drug cartels than marijuana trafficking. A RAND study showed that, in our most populous state (California) with six times the population of Colorado, legalizing marijuana would only affect between 2% and 4% of the cartels‟ profits. U.S. drug users only make up about 10% of the worldwide users of drugs. The cartels are involved in all types of crimes including trafficking, human smuggling, extortion, and kidnap. Corruption within the Mexican government is a major problem that allows the cartels to flourish.

Spin: Marijuana could be regulated like alcohol and tobacco.

Truth: Alcohol and tobacco are the greatest indicators of why legalizing marijuana would be devastating in terms of economic and human suffering. Colorado cannot regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco because it still remains against federal law. Marijuana retail establishments would still be criminal enterprises under federal law and their customers federal law violators. The only way to regulate marijuana like alcohol and tobacco would be to change federal law.

Spin: We don‟t want to legalize marijuana but rather decriminalize it.

Truth: No matter how they mask it they are, in fact, attempting to legalize marijuana – and this is bad for all of America.


Last week’s devastating report on youth pot-use in America.
California is in worse shape!

NEWS: Teen “Heavy” Marijuana Use Up 80 Percent Since 2008, One in Ten Teens Reports Using Marijuana at Least 20 Times a Month


May 2nd 2012 – Rancho Cucamonga, CA – Coalition for a Drug Free California (CDFC) warns leaders to get with the program and make anti-marijuana efforts a priority. Parents must demand action.

“Today’s findings are absolutely startling. America is going backwards. We knew because of the so-called social acceptability of medical marijuana that youth drug use was up – but nobody saw this coming. A rise of 80% since 2008, roughly the time Obama became president to now, is just shocking. We are losing our youth and call upon the President, Congress and state elected leaders across America to demand action and accountability for this disaster,” said Dr. Paul Chabot, President of the Coalition for a Drug Free California. “All the nonsense about marijuana legalization is definitely having a negative effect on America’s future – our kids. Parents need to be outraged. Leaders must be held accountable. We call upon the President for a special address to the Nation. America needs a new strategy.”

Teen past-month “heavy” marijuana users are significantly more likely than teens who have not used marijuana in the past year to:

  • use cocaine/crack (30 times more likely)
  • use Ecstasy (20 times more likely)
  • abuse prescription pain relievers (15 times more likely)
  • abuse over-the-counter medicines  (14 times more likely)