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Marijuana is Least of the Nationís Drug Worries 
Posted by CN Staff on November 05, 2015 at 10:12:07 PT
By Christopher Ingraham
Source: Washington Post
Washington, D.C. -- America's cops overwhelmingly do not see marijuana as a major threat to their communities, according to results of a survey released this week as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration's "2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary."The DEA asked a nationally-representative sample of over 1,000 law enforcement agencies what they saw as their biggest drug threats. Marijuana came in at the bottom of the list, named by only 6 percent of survey respondents. The share of law enforcement agencies naming weed has been declining steadily since the mid-2000s, even as states have moved to legalize medical and recreational marijuana during that time period.
By contrast, nearly three quarters of police departments named heroin and meth as their top drug threats this year. The perceived threat of heroin has more than quadrupled since 2007, according to the survey. And after rising sharply from 2007 to 2013, the threat posed by prescription painkillers has subsided considerably in the past two years.The findings indicate a statement by law enforcement of a fact that drug policy experts and researchers have known for a long time: compared to other recreational substances, including alcohol, marijuana doesn't cause that much harm. It's probably even safer than many people think. And whether you're worried about potential harms to individuals or to communities, marijuana is very low on the list of recreational substances.The state and local police also say that marijuana is not a big driver of crime. Only 6 percent said that marijuana was the most serious driver of violent crime in their communities in 2015, and 5 percent said it was the biggest contributor to property crime. This contradicts arguments made by some high ranking law enforcement officers recently that marijuana is somehow driving an increase in murders this year.Despite all shift in thinking, arrests for marijuana possession continue unabated. cops keep arresting people for marijuana possession. This might be a simple question of low-hanging fruit: marijuana is by far the most widely-used illegal drug, and more users means more potential arrestees. But these arrests have serious consequences for the people caught up in them, and they divert precious police time and resources away from more serious crimes, like rape and murder.Beyond that, the Department of Justice has continued to aggressively prosecute marijuana cases even in places where some use of the plant is legal, like California. This led to a federal judge giving a scathing rebuke to the Department last month, accusing it of openly defying congressional efforts to put an end to these raids.The DEA also continues to pump millions of dollars into its endless campaign to "eradicate" marijuana plants in the U.S., funding expensive weeding operations that spend, in some cases, $60 or more to uproot a single plant.The DEA's latest drug threat assessment makes an implicit argument for smarter policing: if marijuana is of little concern while heroin and meth are a big worry, then devote less time and resources to the former and more to the latter. The report notes that over 46,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2013. What it doesn't mention is that not a single one of those overdoses was caused by marijuana.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC)Author:   Christopher IngrahamPublished: Novenber 5, 2015Copyright: 2015 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters washpost.com Website: http://www.washingtonpost.com/ URL: http://drugsense.org/url/0DwCs9s0CannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/cannabis.shtml 
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on November 05, 2015 at 16:00:43 PT
I know
that cannabis can help and has helped people get off heroin and methamphetamine when they really wanted to get off it. Well that's just anecdotal, of course, though I've seen it and heard of it. More than once. No scientist or group of scientists said he, or they saw it or made a long term, double blind study, and published a peer reviewed paper about it... so it's just a story. An anecdote.It would be so much safer than methadone. 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on November 05, 2015 at 10:43:55 PT
substitution
What's happening with heroin is scary right now. It looks like our rulers want to replace the war on cannabis with heroin.I think we could be heading toward a total ban on opiate pain relievers in the US. Already today many chronic pain patients have to use the black market to get them. Any further restrictions on availability will cause the black market to blossom and grow and become more violent.People are dying from Fentanyl made in illegal Mexican labs - in my state, they are talking about responding to this by barring medical patients from receiving more than 3 days of pain killers - even after surgery, for cancer, etc.This would take us to a new age of medical barbarism. 
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