Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Time to Legalize Marijuana

Good Witch and I watched a fascinating TV program several weeks ago. It was a news-like show (Dateline, perhaps) where a pretty, rather sexily-dressed lady took us on a tour of several Northern California counties where marijuana is the primary agricultural output. We learned a lot.

We learned that county administrators believe their counties would be out of business without marijuana profits to drive the local economy. We learned that seemingly typical American housewives grow these plants quite successfully in their back yards or basements, or perhaps even in the rooms they don't need to live in. We learned that legal businesses can make a fortune dispensing "medical marijuana" in California. And, we learned that law enforcement is employing lots of guys to root out (apparently only the competitors of) these normal American marijuana growers. Very interesting. This war on drugs is really working!

This comes only weeks after I learned that, in Phoenix, a 50-ish middle school teacher was arrested, with her husband, when police found a duffel bag containing $60 thousand (street value) of marijuana in the trunk of their auto. They apparently had some property out in the country. What they were doing out there?

It's time to legalize marijuana, for a start. Let people grow their own, if they want to. Let them sell it. Whatever... It's time to deal with reality and reject the fantasy that a "war on drugs" makes sense. The general availability of drugs, especially marijuana, proves that there is no stopping the trade.

I don't have a personal dog in this fight, having not touched marijuana for 30 years or so. I was never a regular user, but I did try it a few times. My sources were a decorated Marine who survived the terrible Viet Nam battle at Khe Sanh, and a sister who taught blind and disabled people at the school Stevie Wonder attended - bad people, these "dealers"!

Four things really bother me about the current situation. First, drug money is corrupting law enforcement in the U.S. and around the world. Second, the drug trade causes turf wars that result in many deaths. Third, law enforcement, from "prevention" to investigation to courts, to prison, costs America a fortune and accomplishes little in terms of stopping the trade. Fourth, many citizens, otherwise law-abiding, are in jeopardy of life-changing prosecution even if they are only caught possessing small quantities of the weed.

Recently, someone who may know something about marijuana told me that the current "stuff" is much more potent that the drug I tried long ago. OK. As an EMT, I can tell you that in 2,000 calls over ten years I never transported anyone for a marijuana-related problem. And, I'm in favor of drug testing for jobs where any drug use may be inappropriate.

So, it's time to legalize marijuana and divert the saved money to drug education and rehab programs. Who opposes this common sense measure? Mostly, the crooks who live off the trade and the "good guys" who live off the failed "war on drugs". Time for change!


Anonymous said...

Granted this is unscientific, but: I used to watch "Cops" on television, and it was never the potheads who were causing the problems. It was always the beer drinkers.

Rich said...

I could really care less about marijuana. I sure do care about the unsafe means by which my children might be exposed to it someday. I have already learned from my two young children that if they really want to do something, they will find a way regardless of what I tell them. Legalizing marijuana would certainly make "experimenting" a much safer experience for those who might chose to do so.

1138 said...

decriminalize not legalize

1138 said...

decriminalize not legalize

Lifehiker said...

Right. Decriminalize...