Whether you are for its legalization or not, you are paying for marijuana to be illegal. According the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 43.3% of all “Arrests for Drug Abuse Violation” are of people who are in possession of marijuana. Six percent of all drug-abuse violation arrests were for the “Sale/Manufacturing” of marijuana. In other words, a whopping 49.5% of all drug-violation arrests are connected to marijuana. Half of the population that is in prison for substance abuse is in prison for marijuana-related crimes.
Funnily enough, there was a time when it was illegal for farmers not to grow hemp, marijuana’s industrial and THC-deprived cousin that can be used to make fiber, oil, paper, fiberboard, rope, and nutritional hemp-seeds, among a copious amount of other things. in 1619, in the Jamestown Colony in Virginia, a law was passed that required farmers to grow “Indian hemp-seed,” along with various other “must grow” laws spanning the next two centuries.
Why did a renewable resource that had such a wide variety of uses suddenly become taboo for the American citizen and have its history nearly erased from every textbook and museum? The government decided to do what it does best: tax and regulate. 1937 saw the passing of The Marihuana Tax Act. This bill forced any individual who dealt in the sale or transportation of marijuana in any capacity to pay a tax of $1. This would only be a mere $16.18 in today’s economy, but the kicker is that if an individual or party did not pay this tax they would be subject to five years in prison or a fine of $2,000— $32,353.47 today.