by Jamie Neben and AC Smith
Although a new AP/CNBC poll reveals most Americans are against the complete legalization of marijuana, the issue has gained enough support in California to become a state ballot initiative this November. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is already raising questions about how this might sit with the Obama administration if voted into law, in addition to whether using and/or growing would be in violation of federal law. Advocates are optimistic that everything will be just fine, and I hope they are right.
Before I go any further, I want to state that my position should not be taken to mean that I want more people to smoke marijuana, or for anybody to smoke it. The fact of the matter is that it’s none of my business, just as I could care less whether somebody drinks a couple of beers at the ball game. I believe the negative impact to both an individual and society is even less with marijuana than with alcohol and other legal substances that are recreationally used. Of course, when used in an irresponsible way that endangers other people, such as driving under the influence, there should be consequences. Employers should still have policies in place that don’t allow personnel to show up impaired at the workplace. We need to make sure it won’t fall into the hands of children. But overall, this particular drug is not worth the effort of keeping illegal.
So, if this law passes, will the floodgates open? Will there be a drastic increase in the “stoner” population? I doubt it. The people who want it presently can usually acquire it without much trouble. Is it a “gateway” drug that will lead to trying harder substances? That might be true for some people, but they are in the minority. I won’t deny that there’s always the potential for abuse. What about everyone else who keep things under control? There’s a chance you may know some of them. Maybe it’s a middle-aged couple at a rock concert who enjoys a few puffs as a reminder of their college days. Or the professional who wants to calm down after a stressful day at the office. It might be somebody dealing with chronic pain.
In the event that you’re categorically opposed to legalization, I realize that my arguments thus far may fall on deaf ears. So let me give you a couple of other reasons why this measure should be considered. First, I just alluded to the medical benefits marijuana provides. According to the aforementioned poll, well over half of Americans (in both major parties) are in favor of allowing medicinal use. Secondly, we have to include hemp in this discussion since it’s also from the cannabis plant and is therefore illegal in the U.S. The hemp plant has great value for industrial and commercial products such as fuel, fabric, paper, building materials, and food. It’s ridiculous why this great resource is currently outlawed. Finally, the economic opportunities are very inviting. If the sale and distribution can be regulated and taxed, the revenue stream could be enormous.
Men and women we hold in prestige, from our country’s founders to Abraham Lincoln, and many others since, have indulged themselves with different forms of cannabis. I’m sure they would agree that it’s high time our ban on this activity goes up in smoke.
Legalizing marijuana and taxing it is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard and I’m ashamed of people that believe it would solve our debt problems. Everything I say has to do with giving back power to the people and that means less taxes. If you give the government less taxes revenue, then there’s less for them to take care of. If you give the government too much money, they start spending more so the problem only gets larger. Let the people spend and control the money better.
The second part of this is: why should we ok drugs, and things that are affecting people’s minds? Then you have another problem on the road besides alcohol. Users will get on the road after doing drugs—I’ve seen it personally. And people who aren’t doing it already will start when it’s legal and to believe otherwise is being incredibly naïve. Just like alcohol. If alcohol was illegal, there would be a lot less people drinking. In my observations (and not to be taken as statistically accurate), I would say perhaps up to 90% or more of the population drinks. My feeling is only half of them would drink if it was against the law.
Finally, legalizing marijuana would decrease productivity as the years go on and the use of it becomes more casual.