Statistical Evidence Reveals the True Dangers of Marijuana
Picture this, if you will: A quiet little hippie town; nestled against the backdrop of a perfectly wild Australian Hinterland, evolving under the weight of its own imposition and standard norms, unaffected by traditional societies qualms and nuances.
It’s a tranquil place- a collective community of humble organics, strongly confident in the knowledge of their own identity. The outskirts of the town center are sprinkled with communal living establishments that are completely self-sufficient and intra-sustainable, having perfected the art communal off-grid living. Tepee villages can be seen peeking through the foliage of rich green that perimeters the town and some of the towns street names read as if from a fairy tale- Rainbow Lane, amongst others.
It’s the sort of place whose landscape alone inspires mystic, ethereal thinking. If you ever found the end of a rainbow, I’d propose a wager that you would find Nimbin, New South Wales rather than a fabled pot of gold.
Nimbin is also the heart-throb of the weed culture and prohibition resistance movement in Australia. The town, claimed by peaceful revolutionaries in the 70’s, has become a mecca, not only for those seeking a more natural approach to the way they live their lives, but also for those who back the use of cannabis so whole heartedly that they have staked their entire livelihood on using the prohibited herb to market their marijuana products as edibles and tinctures as well as cultivation and recreation tools and accessories.
Having recently spent a couple of days entrenched deep in Nimbin’s epicentre and being exposed to not only the inspiring nature of the town and her people, but also to several political and social issues recently assaulting the township, I’ve spent some time in reflection evaluating how some of this marijuana mecca’s problems reflect issues that face us all in this resistance movement that is the cannabis culture.
One of the towns biggest areas of unrest at the moment is in regards to the arrest of a band of drug dealers known as, “The Laneboys.”
Why would a family friendly, peaceful town be upset that dope peddlers have been arrested?
Well, aside from marijuana being a pillar of strength that helps keep the local economy afloat, cannabis is also seen as a constable of sorts. Its use in the community is accepted not only for medicinal, cooking, clothing and recreational purposes but also as a curb to drugs, like crystal meth, whose reputations are notorious for moving in and utterly destroying small, tight-knit towns like Nimbin with a plague of addiction and every messy bi-product that comes part and parcel with a large increase in the use of hard drugs.
The Lane boys, who delivered some of the finest herb in the country to locals and tourists alike, were highly esteemed by the community as a valuable asset and vital role in providing a service that helped to provide the streets of Nimbin with this extra measure of safety. Now, awaiting trial, the Lane Boys are not allowed within 15 kilometres of the township, leaving the prospect for the influx of hard drugs a dangerous possibility.
You may have never even been to or heard of Nimbin, so if you’re reading this right now thinking, “Ok, Nimbin sounds cool, and that sounds messed up, but none of this has anything to do with me,” think again.
The fact of the matter is, that whether you live in Australia, America, or any other part of the globe the presence of marijuana in your community is making it a safer place for you to sleep in at night.
That may sound like an absurd remark, maybe even to many anti-prohibitionists, but a simple observation of statistical analysis adds credence to such a statement. Ironically enough, it’s a study done by the Denver Police’s very own Uniform Crime Reporting data that helps put this positive spin on pot. Their info tells us that after legalization in the state of Colorado, that burglaries decreased 10 percent and violent crimes, like robbery, have seen a 3 percent decrease.
These drops in crime are a far cry from the reefer mentality warnings grandstanded by absurdly disillusioned government officials like Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, the former Obama drug policy advisor, who went on the record in an NBC interview to warn the American people that upon legalization we would see a massive federal crackdown and despairingly watch our youth develop serious drug addiction with the ready availability of legal marijuana. Sabet further cautioned that no one would be safe with stoned drivers getting around all over the place.
Interestingly enough a report released by the Drug Policy Alliance bluntly negates such irrational notions, with the proof that since the legalization of marijuana in the state of Washington violent crime rates have dropped– with the numbers in youth marijuana use also showing zero increase. Traffic fatalities in the state have also remained stable since the passing of the new legislation. (Perhaps someone should notify the White House staff with regards to this information.)
Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology at UT Dallas and lead author in a 16 year study published in 2014 that examined medical marijuana legalization’s effect on what the FBI calls Part I crimes, (which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft), had this to say about how cannabis affects the communities in which it’s use has been accepted, “After controlling for a host of known factors related to changes in crime rates — we accounted for factors such as poverty, employment, education, even per capita beer sales, among other things — we found no evidence of increases in any of these crimes for states after legalizing marijuana for medical use…the findings on the relationship between violence and marijuana use are mixed and much of the evidence points toward reductions in violent behavior for those who smoke marijuana. “
Political figures, misinformed nay-sayers and hard-line prohibitionists in general are always going to balk at the idea of actually admitting to the truly peaceful nature that cannabis promotes- that’s just the sad truth- however, with reports like the above continually floating through the front lines, the truth is becoming harder and harder to ignore.
That truth, while always subject to the demographic of any given cultural misperceptions, (and politically bent statements), will forever remain constant; despite misinformation passed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom.
Whether you live in Nimbin, Colorado, or any other place in the world where the use of marijuana is rife, the fact is that cannabis promotes peace and the world is slowly awakening to that reality.
Reflecting on all this has gotten me all worked up though, so I feel now would be a fitting time to sign off… I should probably go and do a bit of peace promotion myself.
Until next time,
James (as part of our series, Through The Eyes Of A Stoner on Cannabis.net)