Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Legalizing Marijuana, Mary Jane, Weed, Dope or Whatever Else You May Call It

Should we legalize dope? For the longest time, I thought yes. After all, Barack Obama has smoked it, Michael Phelps has done it. They've turned out alright.

Seriously, I've always said there would be much less violence on the streets (of the United States and in Mexico), the government could tax it (and use that money to regulate its' toxicity) and we'd all be better off. When you read stories about the brazen drug smugglers, you realize there is no drop in stateside demand, it seems like the drug war will never end.

But, then I had a conversation with a friend who teaches national security and she told me something instructive. She said if you legalize pot, the drug cartels will still fight over cocaine, acid or any other illegal narcotic. Gangs will still fight over legal products such as the illicit trade in pirated movies or the "tax-free" cigarettes you find in some cities.

In other words, there always will be, just as there always has been organized groups who trade in the underground economy. That's not going away - ever.

5 comments:

T3FLON said...

Legalize it. The government classifies Marijuana and Heroin in the same category (Class I), while Cocaine, Meth, and others are Class II. How is weed worse to the body than Meth? It would take 1500 pounds of Marijuana to overdose, while only a few ounces of the others. I'm not saying that everyone should go out and starting smoking weed or anything. However, if tobacco and alcohol are legal, then why not weed?

Adam Ricketson said...

If MJ were decriminalized, I have no doubt that drug gangs will continue to fight over the rest of the illegal drug market -- but that market will be smaller.

A smaller market would presumably have fewer drug dealers. At the least, the drug dealers who remain will have less money to buy guns and police.

Liberal Arts Dude said...

I say legalize it as well. I see no reason how MJ can be considered more harmful to health than alcohol or tobacco, which are legal. If the reason for it being illegal is due to its narcotic and health effects, it's not a good reason at all.

Adam Ricketson said...

I have only heard one reasonable argument for why MJ should be illegal even if it compares poorly with alcohol and tobacco. This is the argument of a true conservative*: "Alcohol and tobacco are part of our society. This means that they produce more benefits than illegal drugs, and it also means that we couldn't prohibit them if we tried".

*This argument came from Pat Buchanan when he was running for President. While it isn't convincing, it at least seems like a sincere attempt to justify the legal distinction between MJ and alcohol/tobacco. It was one of the reasons I had some respect for Buchanan before I realized that he was a racist.

Anonymous said...

You know I can get into a really long debat on why it should be legal and its really hard for me to narrow an answer enough to fit here. The gov would make tons of money to help with debt, crime would lower it wouldn't deminsh completely becuase that will never happen, open plenty of jobs, and free alot of space in jails. This is a small list of pros that it could do for our country. Cons well that list isn't anywhere as big, the gov would have to admit they were wrong (as if) alot of paperwork and backtracking to free people from prisons and so forth, and we might start running low on muchcies lol.