sorry for the long winded post
The problem with the prohibition of marijuana is that the gov't overstates its harm to the public. That said, the benefits are also overstated by the supporters of legalization. Like anything, it can be abused. Those of you have never smoked, or say it should still be illegal, I wonder why. Once you've used it, you see for yourself that its not that much different (in terms of impairment) than having 3 or 4 cocktails and if you dont like the effects, thats just you. Gateway drug is BS as well, I would say cigarettes and alcohol are more of a gateway to illegal intoxicants simply because of the abundance/legality of them and the fact kids are exposed to both at early ages. I didnt discover pot till I was in HS but I stole one of my grandmothers cigarettes at age 7 just to see what it was, and I was sometimes allowed a sip of beer from my dad at about that same age. A cigarette buzz does a lot to a psyche, especially if thats your first intoxicated moment.
I don't think legalization is the answer though. I think an across the board lifting of the prohibition would do more harm than good at the beginning, but decriminalization or at the very least a major lessening of penalties at the federal and most state levels is warranted, the federal penalties alone are so archaic it's not even funny. Imagine going to federal prison for a year because you had a pound of pot in your house? The same amount that first time assaults, and some sex crimes get. I can understand penalties for marijuana on some levels but most of the people doing time for it should never get as long as they sometimes do.
The positives to it being decriminalized (contrary to belief it is not "legal" in the Netherlands, its decriminalized, there are limits to possession amounts) are huge. The massive amounts of money spent by countless administrations on the so called "war on drugs" would be lessened as a major amount of that goes to fighting marijuana on both the FL, Mexican and Canadian borders. There would be less people put in jail amongst violent offenders for selling weed. The quality could be controlled and it would virtually eliminate the black market that exists in virtually every town in this country. Taxation alone would show an immediate spike in gov't surplus, especially considering that as of 2006, marijuana was the biggest cash crop in the US http://abcnews.go.co...=2735017&page=1
it's cheap to produce and with gov't oversight it can be controlled at virtually every level from THC level to pesticide usage. Hell, most of the best weed in the united states comes from the gov't themselves in places that allow medicinal use and the few pot dispensaries for those with prescriptions. The Alaska experiment has worked for a few years now, and although the population is much sparser up there (its decriminalized to have an ounce in possession but all sale is illegal), it still shows that Americans can handle it.
The negatives are there though, although there is a argument that alcohol, cigarettes and even some prescription drugs are far worse, its still something that can be abused and the culture surrounding it now promotes recreational use so it has to be treated as something that can potentially cause problems, however there are benefits to it especially when suffering from certain diseases/ailments like glaucoma or to counteract the side-effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. If alcohol and cigarettes and major narcotic prescriptions can be controlled, so can marijuana. Don't give me the kid argument either, when I was in HS it was easier to get a dimebag than it was to get a pack of cigarettes.
It's a shame that marijuana is so stigmatized in the US in terms of a law level. I implore all of you, especially those with a negative perception to watch "In Pot We Trust" which is a recent documentary that aired on Showtime, it has people from both sides of the argument speaking about the issue.
Edited by ghdi, 08 September 2007 - 02:12 AM.