Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is a promising young player. The Buffalo Bills realize that, which is why they recently picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
But the 2011 draft pick out of Alabama became just another statistic, one of 750,000 United States citizens arrested every year and facing prison time for marijuana possession, a victimless crime.
Dareus was arrested earlier this month for felony possession of synthetic cannabis, also known as "Spice."
Possession and consumption of synthetic cannabis was nationally legal until President Barack Obama signed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.
That's right, the president who has admitted to smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine himself, toughened up the drug laws to put even more non-violent citizens committing victimless crimes behind bars.
Dareus, arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, was held for about 30 minutes and released, according to a spokeswoman for the Cleburne County Sheriff's Office.
Dareus, the third overall pick in the 2011 draft, had the best season of his career in last year,, finishing with 71 tackles and 7.5 sacks. He's scheduled to earn a little less than $3.2 million in base salary this coming season.
But that promising career may be at an end. Down in Alabama, he is facing a year in prison.
More than half of all federal prisons are filled with non-violent American citizens, locked up for no reason other than the politicians in Washington decided that what they were doing constituted criminal behavior.
According to the Department of Justice, on Dec. 31, 2012, there were 196,574 sentenced prisoners under federal jurisdiction. Of these, 99,426 were serving time for drug offenses, 11,688 for violent offenses, 11,568 for property offenses, and 72,519 for "public order" offenses, including immigration offenses, weapons offenses, and other miscellaneous crimes.
In New York, there are currently 71,466 inmates incarcerated in the state prison system. Of those, 22,266 – more than 31 percent -- are there for non-violent, victimless drug offenses.
Currently, 21 states have legalized marijuana for medical use, which involves a $50 doctor's office visit and a vague complaint of anxiety, insomnia or depression. Users are given a card which they then use at ubiquitous "smoke shops" to buy their pot legally.
Eight other states – including Alabama – have pending legislation that would make medical marijuana legal.
The legalization of medical marijuana is seen by proponents as the first step toward legalization of the plant substance for recreational use, as was the case in Colorado, where pot was made legal in January.
More than 500 businesses cashing in on the new law. The marijuana industry has already generated more than $5.5 million in revenue for the state of Colorado.
Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Hawaii, and Washington State all have legislation pending to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
It only makes sense. While legal and widely available drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are responsible for more than a half-million deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, no recorded instance of death by marijuana overdose has ever been recorded in all of history.
And our failing economy, due in large part to Barack Obama's policies, continues its downward slide as he toughens laws against behavior he admittedly engaged in himself.
Economically, morally and politically, our country's "War on Drugs" – begun by President Richard Nixon in 1971 – has been a disaster. Millions of lives have been ruined, not by drug use, but by the puritanical laws passed by control freaks who want to govern what American citizens are allowed and not allowed to do in the privacy of their own homes.
And Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus is merely the latest victim.