Advocacy

They Said it on Marijuana, Quotable Saturday, Part XL

“No one ever died from marijuana that wasn’t shot by a cop.” Jack Herer

Great quote, but not entirely accurate as we all know that pot dealers have killed other pot dealers over pot. But the essence of the quote is true and particularly apt this week, with the Eric Garner killing so much in the news. Stay with us on this one as we explain.

What makes Eric Garner’s death so frustrating and so sad is that it was so unbelievably unnecessary. At worst, here was a guy illegally selling cigarettes on the streets of New York City and he is now dead after having been stopped and then manhandled by a pack of police officers. Now, even if you buy into the belief that none of the police officers did a single thing wrong, you cannot buy into the belief that Mr. Garner in any way deserved the terrible fate that befell him.

And that is the point of this post and the essence of Jack Herer’s quote. Cannabis has never killed anyone, but its illegality has. It has led to deaths between illegal pot dealers and it has led to deaths of civilians at the hands of police. Garner was selling cigarettes but he just as easily could have been killed for having done something equally as harmless involving marijuana. When you make something a crime — like marijuana — you increase police-civilian interactions relating to that something and by doing so you increase the odds of something going horribly wrong.

And when you make something criminal — like marijuana — you naturally create a criminal element that will get involved with it. Criminals are more likely to be violent, no doubt. Legalize marijuana and you will reduce violence. Just another reason to start getting rational about pot. What do you think?

UPDATE: In this article, Rand Paul is right about police brutality: our laws are a huge part of the problem: The police don’t get their authority from nowhere, T.C. Stottek of Verge makes a similar argument.