More States Considering Legalizing Marijuana
This year seven states have pending legislation or ballot measures regarding the legalization of marijuana. This comes amid the administation's crackdown on legal dispensaries in California and Colorado. There is an evident disconnect between the apparent goals of the administration and many of the individual states' views on the matter.
A record number of Americans now favor legalization. Many have come to understand the enormous amount of time, money and other available resources that are expended unsuccessfully trying to curb the use of this once legal substance. Billions of dollars are spent annually in enforcement, eradication and incarceration. Isn't a more common sense approach to tax and legalize? This is what many citizens and politicians are beginning to think.
But acceptance of this idea is far from universal. The president would not be engaging in the current crackdown if he didn't think there was political capital to be gained. Even the scandalous "Fast and Furious" program engineered by the Department of Justice has done little to derail the vast majority's support of the war on drugs.
But as in any war, the first casualty is truth. The truth is that marijuana is not the menace it is portrayed to be. The war on drugs kills people and ruins lives. Most of the people in prison in this country are there for drug related offenses. People who get high on marijuana don't kill people. Drug enforcement agents do.
But this is an emotional issue for many, much as the war of prohibition on alcohol was in the last century. There are many parallels. For instance, prohibition creates a culture of gangsterism. This was true in Al Capone's day and it is true now. The drug cartels of today are just the political and economic descendants of the gangsters of old. When alcohol was re-legalized, the bootlegging gangsters disappeared. Unfortunately the law enforcement apparatus created to combat them did not.
But it seems we never learn. Prohibition has never worked and it never will. As long as there are disproportionate profits to be made, the gangsterism will continue and innocent people will continue to die.
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