by Blake on May 15, 2009 at 10:40 Political
I’ll probably hear differences with some of my more conservative colleagues about this, but I feel that it’s time to revamp our drug laws, especially with regard to marijuana and the laws relating to its possession.
First, as a disclaimer, I grew up in the sixties, and I inhaled- repeatedly. Many people did in that time, and I don’t judge one way or another, but for purposes of this discussion, we will keep this in the present day.
There is a problem here, in that many of the laws regarding the drug marijuana are rooted in yesterday’s culture, where marijuana was lumped in with heroin and cocaine as to it’s relative toxicity and addictive qualities, and the truth is that it is nowhere near these other two in terms of addiction. I can’t speak to the mindset for putting marijuana in with the other drugs, but it is time to reclassify this drug, and eliminate many of the offenses that put people in jail for simple possession. Possession is a victimless crime, and simple possession should be either legalized or made a fine- able offense.
The problem as I see it, is that we have several groups who want to make money off of this drug if it is legalized- the “Medical Marijuana” group, the Federal government, with taxes, the various state governments, with taxes, the Big Tobacco growers, since tobacco is such a reviled crop, not to mention the cartels, who have no interest in legalization, because that loses them a chunk of their profits, unless they partnered with Big Tobacco.
Everybody wants a taste of all the money, and thus nothing gets done, because everyone’s interests are counter to everyone else’s interest, and status quo rules. Meanwhile, people get thrown in jail who have no place or real reason to be there. That said, they DID break the law, and as is said, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
So the law needs to be changed, and this needs to be changed at the most basic level, because the profit motive needs to be lessened, if not eliminated from the equation. The only way this could possibly work is to eliminate the profit motive from the illegal networks that have profited over the years to the tune of millions of dollars, and thousands of people killed.
There is only one way to do this, I believe. The Government must legalize marijuana for private individual consumption, and allow the growth of up to ten plants per year for this personal consumption. Driving while smoking marijuana should have a penalty the same as that of alcohol, with a legal threshhold of allowable blood cannabis level.
I know the government dearly wants to have a part of taxable income from this, but I believe that they should refrain, for the simple reason that to do so will encourage smuggling of marijuana, and keep the cartels in business, and that would not be a good thing- the idea is to eliminate the profit motive.
Now as to the cartels and the dealers- while I would press for legalizing the personal consumption of marijuana, I would also have the Death Penalty for anyone caught dealing any drug- period. This would, through attrition, if nothing else, lessen demand for all other drugs. Heroin, cocaine, oxycontin, any drug, including the sale of marijuana, would be punished by death. I say that this is justified because heroin, cocaine, and other drugs destroy not just individuals, but whole families, and the dealers who sell these drugs, have no morals in doing so, and can and will try to sell to someone trying to kick the habit.
Now, as to the people hooked on these drugs, heroin, cocaine, etc., I would give them three strikes,so to speak- sending them to re-hab clinics three times before criminal charges kick in, providing they did not do additional criminal acts that would warrant imprisonment. The idea, after all, is to get these people off the addictive drugs, and back into society, and I feel this could do this.
I know some people will object to my idea for the Death Penalty for the dealers- heck, we have had spirited debate over murder, so I expect that some will object to this as well, but I feel that if the penalty is onerous, perhaps some, if not all of these people might choose a different line of work post haste. The rest of them would not bother the addicts anymore, and the addicts, without a source, would begin to heal.
Only if we take the profit motive out of the marijuana trade will we begin to be able to form a rational policy around the legalization of this contentious weed. The Chinese have chewed the seeds of marijuana for headaches for oh, about three thousand years, and we know that smoking marijuana decreases nausea in chemo patients, and eases the discomfort and pressure of Glaucoma. What else could it do?
We just do not know, because of the “narcotic” stigma that has been unfairly slapped on this plant, and it is time for the laws to come into the twenty- first century regarding this plant and the other drugs. A legal overhaul is badly needed, and I believe only the most calcified in their thinking could believe that the current laws work.
We need this discussion, and we need this ASAP.
There is too much at stake for society as a whole, to stand pat.
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