Legalizing Marijuana

What is marijuana? It is a psychotropic drug, simply meaning it alters brain functions. In users you will see changes in mood, perception, cognitive functions and behavior. For now, it is the most common illicit drug among young Americans.

We've all heard that marijuana is not bad. We've heard that it can be compared to alcohol or even tobacco. There is one point that most seem to over look. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. California seems to be the front runner of states looking at ways to profit from this illegal drug. There are 13 states that have followed California's lead and two more are now considering the legalization. In these tough economic times I can see why we would look at marijuana to create new tax revenue.

Whether you support the legalization of marijuana or not you'll find statistics to prove your point. I want to dive into one issue that surrounds this controversial subject. Is marijuana truly victimless?

We need to look no further than the Mexican and United States border. There is a war going on and illegal narcotics, to include marijuana, are at the fore front of this fight. From a period of October 1, 2009 through April 20, 2010 the Tucson Sector of the United States Border Patrol seized almost 622,000 pounds of marijuana exceeding an estimated $498,000,000 in street value. This is just one small portion of a border that spans nearly 2,000 miles. Some people would make the argument that the issue on the border is one of illegal immigration. In part, this is the case. However, we need to look at the whole picture.

California imposes a $50 per ounce tax, $5,000 franchise fee for growers and wholesalers and a $2,500 annual licensing fee. This, in essence, is allowing the state to become a legalized drug dealer. There are several issues with the government regulating this industry.

  • How can California guarantee that the product that is being distributed on its street is of good quality?
  • What testing and standards are in place to ensure the safety of the people consuming marijuana being legally sold?

Alcohol and tobacco are heavily regulated with inspectors from both state and federal levels. If one of those products is tainted with something it is fairly certain that the source of that contamination can be quickly found. Now, California may have an initiative on its 2010 ballot to fully legalize marijuana, not just for medicinal purposes. This new initiative would make marijuana available and legal to for those over the age of 21. No longer will a prescription be needed. Medical marijuana is just a first step to making it legal for all to smoke. California is expected to bring in $1.4 billion this year in tax revenue and if fully legalized add another $1.5 billion to that. California needs to understand that society needs less intoxicated persons and not more. Passage of this new initiative is just one more step to a stoned state.

Marijuana is claimed to be helpful for those who are suffering from cancer and glaucoma. What we fail to hear from the proponents of medicinal marijuana is that there are already legal prescriptions available on the markets that include a synthetic THC the active ingredient of marijuana and with scientific studies to show that they do work.

Marijuana claims victims from the growers, users and the environment. Cancers associated with tobacco use are just as likely in marijuana. During an interview with Marijuana, Inc. Jim Wattenburger, Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Mendocino County California stated that almost 60% of his counties population is involved in marijuana. He stated that in 2008 it was like the wild wild west. As of 2000 the population of that county was almost at 87,000. There are increases in crime.

Growers and distributers of marijuana run the risk of retaliation from the Mexican Cartels and other locals involved in the trade. There are more intoxicated persons on the streets, increasing DUI/DWI charges. Abandoned marijuana labs also wreak havoc on the environment. These labs leak pollution, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides into the ground. These are cleaned at tax payer expense and have a long lasting impact on the environment. There are abandoned outdoor growth operations on public parks, both state and federal.

Are we naïve enough to think that if we just legalize marijuana that all of our problems are going to be solved? Do you think that the Mexican drug cartels are going to stop their flow into the United States because the drug is now legal? How can the government guarantee the safety to its citizens when we can't even secure our boarder?

The issue of marijuana is not about medicinal use. It's always been about money. Tens of thousands have been murdered on the US/Mexico border in the last several years and to turn a blind eye to this issue is negligent on our part and dangerous to our national security. This fight won't be won if we have politicians promoting the use and taxation of an illegal drug to fill federal, state or local coffers. This simply goes against the basic fundamentals of a civilized society and allows our government to become nothing less than drug dealers.