Five Things Wyoming Governor Matt Mead Should ‘Learn’ During ‘Marijuana Education Week’ [COMMENTARY]
Whenever a politician attempts to "educate" the public, regrardless of their party or the issue, the message will usually include some information and some misinformation.
Take, for example, Governor Matt Mead, who has officially declared it "Marijuana Education Week" here in Wyoming.
Like "Affordable Health Care" and so many other false slogans perpetuated by our elected officials, "Marijuana Education Week" really means "Anti-Marijuana Propaganda Week".
Mead's so-called "Education Summit" in Casper on Monday wasn't an objective exchange of viewpoints representing different sides of the complex issue. Instead, we heard the same old tired lines from law enforcement officials touting unsubstantiated claims about Mexican drug cartels in Colorado and toxic gummy bears powerful enough to tranquilize an elephant.
Unfortunately for Governor Mead, the public isn't buying it; even here in conservative Wyoming.
With that in mind, here's five things Mead could stand to "learn" during "Marijuana Education Week".
1. A 2016 Univerisity of Wyoming poll showed 81% of Wyomingites favored medical marijuana legalization. To put that in perspective, nearly 22% of Wyoming voters supported Hillary Clinton in November. That's right, Hillary Clinton is more popular in the Cowboy State than our archaic drug laws.
2. Earlier this month, a man was caught smuggling marijuana across the state by the Wyoming Highway Patrol. He faces up to 20 years in prison. One week later, another man forcibly entered a Cheyenne bank and threatened to set off a bomb. He's facing 15 years in prison.
3. Along with helping appeitite stimulation and pain management for cancer patients, research, including this study from Harvard University, has shown that marijuana can be used to treat epilepsy, psychiatric disorders and a variety of medical conditions.
4. The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that $3.6 billion are spent annually to arrest and incarcerate drug users nationwide, the vast majority of whom were cited for marijuana possesion.
Others estimates predict that legalizing marijuana across the country could generate over $46 billion in revenue if marijuana was taxed at the same rate as tobacco and alchohol.
5. Still not convinced that the war on drugs, non-violent marijuana users in particular, has been a massive failture? Studies also show that legalzing marijuana has not significantly changed the percentage of people who use it. Neither has prohibition.
30 years ago, roughly 30% of Americans used marijuana. Three decades later, the United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world and rougly 30% of Americans still use marijuana.
Instead of mongering fear from government agencies who have a vested financial interest to continue punishing potheads, perhaps Governor Mead and other elected officials should take a better look at the research or, better yet, listen to their constituents. It is "Marijuana Education Week", after all.