Like any drug, marijuana can be harmful if abused. Marijuana prohibition doesn’t make the plant any safer, in fact prohibition opens up a gateway to hard drugs by granting a monopoly on marijuana distribution to drug cartels that also sell meth, cocaine and heroin. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a grand success.
The drug war distorts supply and demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees. If the goal is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where marijuana is legal.
The criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science. The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign. Not just in Colorado and Washington state, but throughout the nation, it's time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.