Seventy-six years ago today, on March 2, 1937, the U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Stamp Act, the first federal law prohibiting the sale of marijuana in American history. That same day, according to NORML, which is using the anniversary to raise cash to help legalize marijuana, the war on weed claimed its first victim: Samuel Caldwell of Denver, who was arrested by FBI agents and spent four years in prison performing hard labor. He reportedly died the day after he was released.
It's not a very auspicious anniversary for pot prohibition, given that 55 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use, something that is already the law in Colorado and Washington States, with medical marijuana already legal in another 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Meanwhile, as the LA Times reported yesterday, by distracting the feds from fighting other drugs, the war on marijuana has actually helped increase the quality and purity of narcotics, while driving down the price.
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The "average inflation-adjusted prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis in the United States decreased by 81 percent, 80 percent and 86 percent, respectively, between 1990 and 2007," the Times reports, basing the numbers on a study published in BMJ Open.
"At the same time, their average purity increased by 60 percent, 11 percent and 161 percent, respectively," the study showed, with U.S. seizures of cocaine falling by "roughly half between 1990 and 2010."
During this time period, the report states, the feds obsessed over fighting marijuana, with seizures increasing 465 percent between 1990 and 2010.