What is the perfect way for our country to reduce crime rates and make money
in the process?

Legalize marijuana.

Simply take the stuff off of the streets and put it behind the counter.

I know what you're saying: "That's crazy." But let's take a closer look and
see how you feel in 10 minutes.

Studies show that usage is lower now than in previous years, but believe me,
it's not. Just because some organization polls a group of high school
seniors to see how many of them have lit a left-handed cigarette doesn't
mean they know what's going down. I know people who would sell their books
back a month early if they absolutely needed a smoke.

And you're telling me the government doesn't want a piece of that?

By legalizing ganja, the government would be able to oversee and regulate
the entire process, from its growth, to who can sell and buy it, to how much
it costs. They can have a Mary Jane monopoly; they will have the market
cornered.

It is true that even though the government can control it, pot will still be
sold illegally. Here's another simple solution to a simple problem: Harsher
penalties for those caught selling or buying illegally.

If someone is arrested for smoking reefer they usually get a weak slap on
the wrist. The only times heavy penalties are handed down are in extreme
cases when someone has Cheech-and-Chong-like amounts in their possession
with the intent to distribute it. But if cheeba became legal, effective
penalties would go something like this:

If you get caught once, you're going to jail for a year. If you get caught
twice, you're going for five. If you get caught a third time, you get both
of your hands cut off, making it nearly impossible to hold a joint.

Critics of marijuana legalization have many different theories to base their
arguments on.

One is that weed is said to be a "gateway" drug. I disagree.

To say that smoking scooby-snacks will lead someone to experiment with
harder drugs -- such as cocaine, LSD or heroin -- is dumb. I've never heard
anyone say that they tried coke because hydro just didn't do it for them
anymore. Maybe I haven't listened closely enough, but this causal
relationship seems a bit on the sketchy side.

Another argument is that if buddah becomes legal, it will be easier for kids
to get their hands on it. The fact is, adolescence is a time for
experimentation with all things -- not just with drugs. If a kid wants to
get his hands on some green, he'll get it. Keeping in mind that most "users"
don't become "abusers," why not remove the streets and drug dealers from
this process, and let him ease his curiosity in a safe, controlled
environment?

In fact, the Dutch policy of allowing ya-yo to be sold in
government-regulated "coffee shops" was designed to separate young users
from illegal markets where other drugs were being sold. I'm not saying that
it is acceptable for a kid to smoke bud; I'm just making a point -- at least
those kids who do find a way to toke up will be safer.

Aside from reducing crime and making billions of dollars a year for our
government, legalizing marijuana would also help people who are sick.

It has been proven that la-la is a good form of alternative medicine.
Studies have shown dope reduces nausea and vomiting in cancer patients being
treated with chemotherapy, reduces intra-ocular pressure associated with
glaucoma, help people with cataracts and even help AIDS patients maintain a
healthy weight.

Personally, I pass on grass. I don't condemn those who don't, but the choice
for me has always been "no."

But, I do feel by legalizing herb, our country would be a somewhat safer
place, and with all of the extra money brought in, we would no longer have
to worry about higher taxes and cutting educational funds.

If nothing else, at least our country would be a happier place to live.


Pubdate: Fri, 14 Mar 2003
Source: Lantern, The (OH Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Lantern
Contact: lantern@osu.edu
Website: http://www.thelantern.com