What's the Rush, RI?

Advocating for Evidence Based Marijuana Policy

Category Archives: Discussions

Prohibition, Pot & Alcohol, Then & Now.

ASSUMPTION: 

PROHIBITION, POT & ALCOHOL, THEN & NOW.

Proponents of legalization often assert that Prohibition did not work for Alcohol and that it has not and will not work for Marijuana.  In light of some 75 years of societal & medical experience following the repeal of prohibition, along with the insights now afforded through Neuroscience it would seem reasonable to ask:

“In the event recreational use of marijuana becomes legal, what might be done to avoid the sorts of unforeseen and unintended liabilities and unwanted consequences that have accompanied the repeal of alcohol prohibition?”

And, “In what ways are these liabilities and consequences similar to or irrelevant with respect to legalization of marijuana?”

Black Market or Underground Economy?

The term Black Market suggests a criminal ‘enterprise’ focused solely on enriching drug lords and gangs.  However, some observers have suggested that many individuals unable to obtain employment in Rhode Island’s depressed economy sell marijuana in order to supplement inadequate or unstable legitimate incomes.  It would, therefore be reasonable to ask:
“What evidence exists to suggest that the legitimate needs being met through this underground economy, that is fueled by poverty and high unemployment, would diminish under legalization?”

And, “How will legalization for adult recreational use impact the underground economy that adolescent users maintain to support their marijuana use?”

Recidivism Assumption

ASSUMPTION: 

REDUCED PRISON POPULATIONS & LOWER RECIDIVISM RATES WILL RESULT IN LOWER COSTS & SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN CRIME RATES

Proponents assert that legalization will result in reduced prison populations.  However, the implications of research on recidivism risk currently applied in the Post Conviction Risk Assessment by Federal probation and parole officials indicates that Substance Dependence is a leading factor predicting criminal behavior and subsequent re-incarceration (see Figure Below). This reality seems logically inconsistent with the assumption that more liberal access to MJ will result in reduced crime & lower prison populations especially given the increased contribution to impaired impulse control and risky behavior observed in MJ users.

Therefore it seems reasonable to ask:

“In light of the apparent relationship between Substance Dependence and Criminal Behavior, why is it assumed there will be significant cost savings regardless of whether the individual is re-incarcerated or, instead, is required to undergo intensive individual outpatient treatment to address chronic Substance Dependence?”

Criminogenic Risk

The above figure was presented at the Annual Meeting of the New England Council on Crime and Delinquency in Providence, October 2013

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