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Benefits Of Legalizing Marijuana Clearly Outweigh The Costs


Legalize Marijuana legalization cannabis prohibition tea partyEvery time I hear cannabis reform opponent Kevin Sabet state that the social costs associated with cannabis legalization far outweigh the benefits, I cringe. Not one time have I ever seen him offer up a valid statistic to back up his claim. What Kevin Sabet does is offer up statistics for alcohol and tobacco, and try to pass those facts along as if they apply to cannabis. They do not.

Tobacco and alcohol directly kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Cannabis has never killed anyone. Yes, there have been cases of people dying from some type of act or event, and they had cannabis in their system at the time. But that’s not the same as saying that the person overdosed on cannabis, although it doesn’t stop cannabis opponents from trying hard to make it seem that way. I wish I could sit Kevin Sabet down and somehow make him answer the question ‘what social costs are specifically associated with cannabis legalization, without unrelated statistics from tobacco and/or alcohol?’

Gary Hale was a 31-year veteran of the DEA and is now a nonresident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy. He stated the following according to Chron.Com:

As a former DEA intelligence chief, I know that one of the tools policymakers in public safety and intelligence circles depend upon is predictive analysis, an over-the-horizon view of the landscape that enables them to allocate resources based on realistic threats. These analyses often involve the combination of hard numbers, such as dollars in the budget, and softer criteria that provide patterns and indicators needed to reach a strategic or policy decision. By using these same methods, an objective analyst can see a clearly emerging picture: Marijuana decriminalization and legalization have gone past being a trend and are settling in as federal policy, especially with costs outweighing the benefits of incarcerating so many otherwise nonviolent offenders.

The benefits from cannabis legalization outweigh any costs associated with reform. That’s not the opinion of some uneducated individual; it’s an opinion that is shared by one of the DEA’s longest serving employees who knows first hand how many resources are wasted enforcing cannabis prohibition. Just as The New York Times, noted, it’s time to end cannabis prohibition. It’s time America took a new approach.

Source: International Cannabis Business Conference


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. I saw Mr. Sabet on one of the network news shows talking about the NY Times article, and his remarks were par for the course. But I was really disappointed in Arianna Huffington’s article today, as she offered up all these studies about the negative effects of marijuana, including studies that have been shown to be inconclusive or erroneous — but she didn’t mention that part.

    (For those interested in Mr. Sabet’s partner-in-crime, Robert Kennedy, I recently read about his position as an anti-vaccination nut — he wrote a book and everything.)

  2. Kevin sabit is a ignorant nut job who wants to rule the world. The only reason he is against marijuana is because he don’t believe anything but what his church tells him. The Al quida do the same thing they act the same my way is the only way. Peopl need to vote him right out of office. Every person in his state needs to vote against this little dictator.

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