Monday, August 5, 2013

It's Time to Legalize Marijuana

In my blog, Principled Conservatism Will Save This Country, I mention that The States should be the incubators of public policy.   I specifically mentioned that Colorado has legalized marijuana and California, with their "medical" marijuana law has, in reality, legalized marijuana use (since it's easy to get a "prescription").  I also mention in that blog that principled conservatism should adopt a "live and let live" attitude toward issues that are about an individual choices that do not hurt anyone.

If this country wants to strike a blow against the Mexican drug cartels, then we should rapidly move forward to legalize and regulate marijuana use, production and retail sales.  Regulate it and tax it.  Growing marijuana will become a boom business for a time and would displace imports from Mexico.  It would remove a huge amount of power from the criminal cartels.

I'm reading this morning that Uruguay is on the verge of passing laws to create a legal, regulated framework for marijuana production, distribution, taxation and sales instead of the old "prohibitionist" approach.

Those that disagree with this are ignoring the fact the people who want to smoke marijuana are already smoking it.  Most would agree that we are giving power and money to the criminal Mexican cartels.  I don't use marijuana but it's not a big deal, it's not addictive and it doesn't lead to stronger drugs unless you have an addictive personality.  If you have an addictive personality, you're already using whatever you want because various drugs are available despite the drug "war."

Prosecutions against marijuana users and growers does feed our legal prosecution "machine" and our lawyer "industry," clogs our prisons, and makes criminals of people who shouldn't be.  The damage to people's lives is extreme when we jail them for minor offenses.  It's time to stop that nonsense. 

Think of all the people in prison for growing, smoking or distributing marijuana.  They will inevitably emerge extremely damaged and have a criminal record that ruins their lives.  For what?  So that other people can "feel" better about something that don't know anything about?   Free the marijuana possession offense prisoners too.  They don't belong in prison!

This country has already lost the extraordinarily expensive "drug war" since people are already smoking and taking whatever drugs they want.  Meanwhile we spend billions upon billions to fight a losing battle.  We also have a bloated and expensive intelligence and law enforcement "jumble" of agencies costing over $100 billion per year.  This has lead to more incarcerated people than any other country in the world.  See my blog, Prison America: US has 50% of the World's Lawyers.  Let people smoke what they want!  Let law enforcement work on something else more serious or trim those budgets (which never happens).

The drug cartels have won with our current approach.  But they will be seriously hurt if we reverse course on marijuana production and use.

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