Three months ago, Lil Boosie was finally released out of the Louisiana prison system. Since being arrested in 2008, “Free Boosie” has become a mantra in pop culture. In contrast, his critics have called this movement ridiculous, slandering his name as a hardened criminal who has no place in this world despite his monumental impact on the inner city communities of the Gulf region. Think what you may about Boosie- but what is truly ridiculous is the reason he was locked up in the first place. What was that you ask? Minor possession of marijuana.
For the record, I don’t smoke or use marijuana. In fact, I’ve never even tried it, or any other drug for that matter. I don’t even drink caffeine and try my best to avoid even routine drugs like Tylenol. However, I do study the research and know the facts enough to say that marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. It wont cause cardiac arrest like the oils fast foods restaurants use to fry food do, and cannabis actually helps people with cancer get through the pain — as opposed to other products we use daily that have actually been proven to cause the disease.
Now lets look at the statistics. Over 100 million American’s have used marijuana. That’s nearly 1/3rd of our population. Zero have overdosed or died from it directly in contrast to the nearly 500,000 people who passed away last year from alcohol poisoning or cancer caused from cigarettes.
Numbers don’t lie- so why do we fight it? Instead of paying billions of dollars on fighting, incarcerating, and wasting resources on people using it, why not tax it and turn something that we currently lose billions of dollars on into something we can actually profit with, all while at the same time making millions of lives happier both from the relatives of prisoners released to those who use it to fight through chemotherapy and other pain I pray I never have to feel. I haven’t even mentioned the battles, money, and lives lost from drug cartels importing and distributing it, which could all be stopped over night.
Its clear as day- the drug war has failed. The United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, but houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners. China, a country that is four times more populous than us, and is controlled by a communist government many of us consider incomprehensible for censoring its citizens and often arrests anyone speaking out against them, is a distant second with less than half of one percent- 10 times less than the United States! No other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens. In 1980, only 40,000 people sat in American prion for drug crimes. Today there is almost 500,000. Something is clearly off.
Lil Boosie stated, quote- ‘Prison is not a place for humans. It’s an animal house’- and he is right. Prison doesn’t rehabilitate and help people move on with their lives. It punishes them for the past. Prison isn’t about moving forward, often making people worse. I’m not saying that we abolish prisons altogether, but the way they are used in this country to lock up those who instead need help with substance abuse do nothing but drain our financial resources without making our communities safer or helping those convicted. Its insane to think that people like Lil Boosie lose massive chunks of their lives behind bars because of laws that aren’t in the publics best interest and that don’t make our country a better place. Of all our states, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate by a large number.
If you don’t know much about Boosie, he is often called the 2Pac of the south. As much as his music, Boosie has become an icon for what he represents in the community. Beyond this, being from Louisiana, a state with a notoriously corrupt legal system- especially against African American’s- to many, Boosie represents all the injustice himself as its public figurehead. He’s even been compared to Nelson Mandela, and locking Boosie up- a community leader and role model to millions of kids who look up to him for both his music and presence in the community- this long for something so minor had nothing but a negative influence on the reputation of the already unfavorable judicial system, and actually lead to more angst against police offers, prosecutors, politicians, and the government.
But back to my point- Do I think smoking weed all day is a good idea? Not personally, but we’ve had many a functional marijuana addict on the show — snoop, wiz- and they work as hard as anyone I know. In fact, marijuana calms people down generally and makes them more relaxed- something good. However, anything done too much- including marijuana, alcohol, or even eating too much sugar can be a problem.
Instead of locking people up, lets build the best rehabilitation facilities we can. 1 in 10 Americans have been arrested on drug charges. If we spent a fraction of what we spend on trials, law enforcement, and incarceration for marijuana alone on these, we really could make the world a better place
We could talk for hours about other drugs- and there is a legit debate for the rational behind harder substance whether I agree with it or not- but marijuana? Come on. I have a feeling and hope that by the time I speak to my kids about weed, it is already long since legalized across the united states, and they don’t understand when I tell them stories on how we locked millions of people up for using it- shocked in disbelief with how much money and lives were wasted on the failed war against it.
How much more obvious should it be? Why hasn’t this been changed? It simple- money and the corporations who profit running the system. This includes private prisons, the judicial revolving doors, and products made from inmates and controlling illegal drug wars both from the cartels to the law enforcement behind it. Look at Boosie. Lawyers profited from tons of trials, law enforcement profited from employing more officials to track down drug users, prisons profited from tax money to house the inmates and selling work they made, and media profited by covering all the mayhem. You may be saying at home, well, it can’t be that much right? How much would you guess is spent every year on the prison system, again with a large number of them being drug, and marijuana related. If I haven’t swayed your opinion, maybe this one last number will- $60.3 billion dollars is spent every single year in the US prison system alone.