The United States has the highest per-capita incarceration rate in the world. Here, we have over two million people in jail for whatever reason. As far as numbers of people, China and Brazil are the next two, and the US has a little fewer than the other two combined. People here are always complaining about prison overcrowding, needing more prisons or whatever. Can some of these incarcerated people be released without becoming a threat all over again?
Though the US has about 4% of the world’s population, we have 22% of the world’s prisoners. Many are there for deserved reasons, such as murder, rape and other sexual crimes against adults and children, and robbery. Many are in the slammer for minor reasons. Someone gets put in jail for a traffic fine they didn’t pay for whatever reason; another is there for drug possession.
I really think that some of these people don’t need to be there. I mean, why lock someone up just because they forgot to pay their speeding ticket? Can’t the court just garnish their wages for the couple hundred dollars? Or maybe go so far as to forgive the fine? Oh, wait, they won’t do that, because they have their quotas and have to have the money. Then there’s the druggies. Someone who is on the really bad stuff like meth and ecstasy should probably stay there. These folks who are behind bars for a little pot I think should be set free. Many states have legalized marijuana in one form or another—be it totally or medically. Seventeen states still completely outlaw it (including Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Texas and 13 others), most of them being in the Deep South. The other 33 states have either completely legalized it, allowed it for medical purposes or at least decriminalized it. Unfortunately, it’s still outlawed federally.
Drugs are categorized by their addictiveness and usefulness to people. There are five classes, or schedules, of controlled substances. Schedule V include the least-addictive of the bunch, such as Robitussin AC. Then you move up to Schedule IV, which includes antidepressants and anxiety drugs. Skipping up, Schedule II are the ones that are the most addictive that you can legally obtain. They don’t allow refills and are usually kept in a safe. These include Adderall, Ritalin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Lortab, etc. Lortab was a Schedule III, but a few years ago was moved up to C-II because of the national opioid crisis. Then there’s the Schedule I’s—the illegal street drugs. It includes heroin, ecstasy, meth, cocaine and marijuana, amongst many others. Ironically, some forms of cocaine can be used by hospitals, and marijuana is legal in many states. Until the federal government changes weed’s drug schedule or delists it, pot will remain illegal federally.
Studies have shown there is practically no way to lethally overdose on marijuana, and there are many proven medical benefits for it. Most states (not all, like South Dakota and Idaho even outlaw CBD) allow the sale of CBD products, which is a product of the cannabis plant, but it’s not the THC that gets you high. Many people swear by CBD, even though I once bought a CBD lotion that supposedly would help my psoriasis, but it never really helped me. The psoriasis on my leg is just as bad as it was, if not spreading some. I just wish there was a miracle cure for my rotator cuff without surgery—that would be awesome.
I find it funny that marijuana is illegal, but other, more deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco/nicotine are fully legal to anyone over 21. Alcohol and tobacco are heavily regulated by the government. Why can’t they do the same with cannabis? The feds could literally rake in billions of dollars in revenue from the legalization (or at least decriminalization) and regulation of the marijuana industry. There has never been a single marijuana overdose death (although it indirectly has cause some deaths, by people doing stupid things while high), there are numerous cases of alcohol poisoning and cancer from tobacco. I think that if the President and Congress (whomever they might be at the time) wanted to gain popularity in the country, they would make weed legal and regulated, even if it were re-categorized as a C-II rather than a C-I.
Why doesn’t this happen? Mostly, it’s the Republicans who block all attempts to do this. Especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has blocked every piece of legislation with weed legalization attached. His home state of Kentucky is one of the 17 where cannabis is completely outlawed. In fact most, if not all, of these 17 states are “red states” where Republicans control the state. I don’t lay the blame just on the GOP. Big Pharma doesn’t want marijuana to cut into their action. For the problems cannabis can cure, the huge pharmaceutical companies would lose billions. They would not be able to peddle their obscenely overpriced drugs with a mile-long list of side effects. Have you ever listened to a drug ad on TV? Their disclaimers take up a good 20 seconds to read, even reading faster than normal. “Side effects may include…” Usually those drugs are still under patent, and as such, no generic exists, making them outrageously expensive. I’m sure many politicians are getting huge kickbacks and contributions from Big Pharma, so there’s no way in hell they’re gonna vote against getting their grimy palms greased by these corporations.
While the government is at it, why don’t they take and decriminalize all drugs? Go regulate them, as well. The only reason you have a black market for anything is because someone wants to buy something illegal. How do you think the Rockefellers and the Kennedys became so rich? Prohibition back in the 1920s. They were selling bootleg alcohol and making a killing from it. Eventually, the 21st Amendment was ratified, thereby repealing Prohibition from the 18th, allowing alcohol to be legal once again, knocking out the Rockefeller/Kennedy alcohol income stream. Oh, I’m sure there are mob connections somewhere in there, as well. You don’t get rich and stay rich merely by existing.
Want to relieve some of the American prison overcrowding? Release the petty drug offenders and traffic violators, as well as these people who stole something small from a drug store. Not everyone in prison needs to be there; not all of them are a threat to society. Don’t release the Manson-, Gacy- or Bundy-types in any circumstances.
My wish for this week is for you to stay out of trouble and out of jail. Keep your noses clean (and cover those noses—as well as your mouth—with a mask, where required), be good citizens, care for one another, be safe and be well.