Marijuana Prohibition Deadly
Det. Jarrod Shivers is dead and Ryan Frederick’s life is ruined over the prohibition of pot. Officer Ron Jones is dead, and Cory Maye, once sentenced to be executed, now faces a life sentence because of marijuana prohibition. Cheryl Lynn Noel is dead because of pot prohibition. So are Jose Colon, Tony Martinez, 13-year-old Alberto Sepulveda, Willie Heard, Christie Green, Pedro Navarro, Barry Hodge, Salvador Hernandez, Donald Scott, Kenneth Baulch, Dep. John Bananola, Officer Tony Patterson, Vincent Hodgkiss, Anthony Diotaiuto, Clayton Helriggle, Jeffery Robinson, Troy Davis, Alexander “Rusty” Windle, John Hirko, Scott Bryant, Robert Lee Peters, Manuel Ramirez, and Bruce Lavoie. Deputies James Moulson and Phillip Anderson and suspect George Timothy Williams were all killed in a single marijuana raid in Idaho in 2001. Officer Arthur Parga and Manuel Ramirez (a different one) killed one another in another marijuana raid after a family friend suspected of dealing marijuana had incorrectly given police Ramirez’s address as his own.
These are just some of the deaths associated with marijuana raids (all summarized, with sources, here). Then there is the domestic black market violence that comes with marijuana prohibition. And the unnecessary deaths of sick people (like Peter McWilliams) who might have lived if they’d had access to medical marijuana.
Now, I don’t know about the last part. While I support access to medical marijuana, I’ve never been under the impression that it was curative; rather, it allows people to cope with pain and improves appetite that’s suppressed by chemotherapy.
Of course, when one weighs the consequences of a public policy, both costs and benefits need to be factored in. And, as Poulos notes in an update to his post, the answer to drug raids that kill innocents may simply be to end stupid drug raids, not legalize the thing being raided.
Given that at least our last three presidents, some members of the Supreme Court, a goodly number of Congressmen and other officials all admittedly tried marijuana, however, it’s hard to argue that prohibition has been particularly effective.
Cartoon: Green Change