By: Nick Gambino
Before we begin, I want to make it clear this article is not an endorsement for or against marijuana. But I believe in staying informed no matter if you’re for, against or sitting on the sidelines of this hotly debated topic.
With the recent crackdown by Jeff Sessions, the U.S. Attorney General (and long lost Little Rascals member), it’s clear where the federal government or at least certain people who claim to represent the federal government stand on the hot topic issue.
Sessions claims there is a direct connection between violent crime and marijuana. Though per a recent CBS News poll, only 23% of Americans agree with him. There are no published studies that back up his claim but despite that he is still directing prosecutors across the country to throw the book at anyone found guilty of a drug-related crime, including marijuana. No light sentences, maximum punishment.
Eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana intended for recreational use, albeit with certain restrictions. Another twenty or so have laws in place legalizing it in some way i.e., medical use. We should see this number continue to grow as there are more with legislation on the docket.
Remember before when I said I wasn’t going to share my opinion on the subject? Well, I lied. Here’s where I stand. Go ahead, legalize marijuana. I think the best argument to be made for it is: Why not?
Why shouldn’t marijuana be legal if alcohol is? Sure, that seems like a simple argument but consider it for a moment. Alcohol has been known to cause all manner of turmoil both physically and psychologically. Some worse than pot. A quick rundown of some of the “side effects”: black-outs, alcohol poisoning, violent episodes, vehicular manslaughter and of course loss of dignity and lack of shame.
Despite all of the strikes against alcohol it’s somehow still legal. We tried to prohibit its sale way back when in what was aptly called the Prohibition Era. That didn’t turn out so well as it gave birth to a whole new criminal element. Al Capone being one of the most notorious bootleggers.
What we have with the illegalization of marijuana is effectively a decades-long prohibition starting back in the 1930s resulting in more “crime” than would otherwise exist. For a history lesson on how marijuana came to the states and was subsequently made illegal check out this article.
Now, I don’t personally smoke pot. Never have. It’s not something that interests me. In fact, I don’t drink much alcohol and have only had maybe one aspirin in my whole life. I even quit coffee cold turkey about 14 years ago. Something about not wanting to create a dependency on an external substance and wanting to stay in control of my thoughts and actions.
But despite my lack of affinity for wanting to smoke it myself, I can still objectively see why keeping it illegal is pointless and does more harm than good. If someone is abusing it, then there’s plenty of solutions out there to help them out. It’s not really a legal issue. We don’t arrest Bill because he can’t stop running a train on Ho-Hos.
From the looks of it, it doesn’t seem I’m alone in my thoughts. We’ll probably see the continued legalization state by state, allowing law officials to spend their time on more important issues. You know, like people abusing cocaine…uh oh. That’s a whole other can of worms. Luckily, our time is up.