Thursday, January 26, 2012

Colorado: The next front in the battle against prohibition

DENVER — Proponents of marijuana have argued for years that the drug is safer than alcohol, both to individuals and society. But a ballot proposal to legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts in Colorado, likely to be on the November ballot, is putting the two intoxicants back into the same sentence, urging voters to “regulate marijuana like alcohol,” as the ballot proposition’s title puts i

Given alcohol’s long and checkered history — the tens of thousands of deaths each year; the social ravages of alcoholism — backers of the pro-marijuana measure concede there is a risk of looking as if they have cozied up too much, or are comparable, to old demon rum.

“Why add another vice, right?” said Mason Tvert, a co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which has led the ballot drive. “But we’re not adding a vice — we’re providing an alternative.”

The goal of legalization, Mr. Tvert added, is not to make access to marijuana easier, but rather, “to make our communities safer by regulating this substance, taking it out of the underground market, controlling it and better keeping it away from young people.”

The debate here and in Washington State — where members of a pro-legalization group have also submitted what they say are more than enough signatures to secure a spot on the ballot — is premised on the idea that marijuana has become, if not quite mainstream, then at least no longer alien to the average voter. Medical marijuana is already legal in both states.
Read the rest here.

A few quick points.  It is not a propaganda myth.  Alcohol and tobacco are both far more dangerous than marijuana. Secondly saying the government should not criminalize something is NOT the same thing as saying it's a good idea to do it.  Any sane person knows that sucking anything into your lungs other than air is likely a bad idea.  But the obsessive attempts to regulate people's private lives need to come to an end.  All we are doing is criminalizing an entire generation, reducing respect for the law in general, and supporting organized crime which depends on the stubborn stupidity of politicians to make their billions off an underground market.

We could also add the staggering amount of public money being wasted on this fool's errand and the number of bodies populating the nation's morgues because of turf wars over who has the commercial rights to which street corner.  Enough already!



Salaam said...

You know, if you asked me whether marijuana should be legalized in Ethiopia, where I come from, I would say no. It's used by relatively few people in the cities and is associated with vice and anti-social behaviour. The fact that it is illegal is both a reflection of norms, which is a deterrent to use, and directly a deterrent.

On the other hand, if you asked me whether the 'soft' drug 'tchat', which is a problem in Ethiopia, should be made illegal, I would say no, because it has cultural roots in some areas and enough people use it and enough farmers depend on it economically that it the costs of prohibition would be too great. Were the use of tchat still at an infant stage, I would have fully supported its prohibition.

When it comes to marijuana in the U.S., I agree with you that legalization is better than the status quo. But is that not an implicit admission that morality has degraded to such an extent in America (I am of course linking marijuana use with morality) that it's now too late to try and stop marijuana use through legal means?

Anonymous said...

The 'Drug War' has been an abject failure: costing hundreds of billions of dollars, and the rates of drug use has not decreased one iota. Children can obtain marijuana easier then alcohol in their schools. An entire generation of non violent drug offenders spending vast amounts of tax payer money confined in prison, learning how to become hardened felons. Drug abuse should be treated like an illness, just like alcoholism. Finally, it should be a STATES issue, which is exactly what Ron Paul is saying. The Federal Government has no authority under the Constitution to do wage this inefficient, discriminatory war. Has Prohibition not taught us anything?