Letters to the Editor

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POT: Legalize, tax and regulate marijuana

Letter by Lawrence H. Smith, University Place on Oct. 6, 2011 at 1:05 pm with 23 Comments »
October 6, 2011 1:58 pm

People with chronic pain should absolutely have access to marijuana as a way of dealing with that pain. I believe most readers would agree with that statement. I go a step further with my view, however: Marijuana should be made legal for adults to use if they choose to do so.

Forget about medical marijuana. Let’s finally end this crazy prohibition against a naturally occurring plant that many people use, albeit against current laws. Alcohol, too, was also against the law. Ken Burns’ recent PBS special showed us how stupid it was to try to eliminate something that people enjoy.

Let’s finally come to the conclusion that the war on drugs is a failure where marijuana is concerned and legalize its use for adults. Regulate it and tax in a manner similar to how we regulate and tax alcohol and tobacco. Let’s finally stop this insanity.

Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. beerBoy says:

    Good letter

    Legalize it
    Regulate it
    Tax it.

  2. Nicely stated. The vehicle for making this happen is I-502 which is being sponsored by New Approach Washington. For their plan for implementing legalization, taxation, and regulations, and reasons behind the bill to repeal marijuana prohibition, check out their website.

  3. Decriminalize, yes.
    Grow your own for your personal use, yes
    Legalize, no.

    And just a note to the guy with the petition I met outside of a local market: Take the metal out of your face, trim your goatee, put on a pair of slacks and a shirt with a collar. You were smart and articulate, and you seemed like a nice guy. You would have engaged more people with a little more effort.

  4. speakeasy says:

    Good letter! “Legalize” implies sanction or approval. “Decriminalize” does not.

  5. SwordofPerseus says:

    I’m not sure why, after all these years it is still illegal. The only explanation that makes sense is that there is too much profit in it being illegal, otherwise it would already be. Someone is making a lot of money somewhere and they don’t want the gravy train to stop.

  6. Dave98373 says:

    People are already using this drug legally and illegally. Taxing it sounds good in the debate but the reality is that if you can grow it yourself, why would anyone pay taxes on it? Moreover, you are asking an ineffective government to regulate it. A government that has a very poor record on regulating anything these days. And with all the problems that our country is facing, I can think of more important issues.

  7. alindasue says:

    The biggest excuse I have seen used for continuing “the war” on marijuana is that it is illegal on a federal level. Alcohol prohibition was also illegal on federal level – even written in as an amendment to The Constitution! – but slowly one by one states started making it legal until finally another amendment to The Constitution was added to repeal the first.

    It’s not like I’d start smoking it once it becomes legal. I don’t drink alcohol either. It’s just that the amount of damage to our society caused by “the war” on marijuana is disproportionately high compared to the amount of added damage legalized marijuana itself would cause.

    Driving while impaired (on marijuana, alcohol, or even prescription cold medicine) will still be illegal. Domestic violence will still be… well, I’ve seen a lot of mean and abusive drunks, but I’ve yet to meet a mean pothead. I wonder how many millions in court and jail costs we taxpayers would all save if “possession” were no longer a felony crime.

  8. beerBoy says:

    if you can grow it yourself, why would anyone pay taxes on it?

    I grow my own tomatoes but still buy produce at the market. I brew my own beer but still purchase microbrews.

    There is a big difference between starting some plants in your closet and having a Vancouver (Canada) based growing operation – it would (one would assume) affect the quality of the product. I’m thinking that, unlike vegetables, homegrown pot wouldn’t necessarily be better than what one could buy.

  9. dejen2 says: “Decriminalize, yes. Grow your own for your personal use, yes Legalize, no.”

    Decriminalization offers some protection to the end user only.

    But it does nothing to stop smuggling, illegal grow operations, and the black market, corruption…all the things attendant with prohibition. In fact, it can actually make the situation worse. It still leaves the marijuana industry unregulated and untaxed and operating in a black market.

    The goal of I-502 is not to assure that people can use marijuana with relative impunity. It is to end the failed, expensive, unenforceable, and unnecessary policy of marijuana prohibition. Since decades of marijuana prohibition have failed and show no signs of working in the future, it is time to

    Here’s the deal: we could devise all sorts of solutions and plans. But would our plan receive enough votes to pass?

    I-502 was written toward being able to pass. Every provision in it is written to get the voter who says, “Yes, but..,” or “I don’t know” to say, “Yes.” It is not a pro-marijuana bill. It is a bill to end marijuana prohibition. It is a harm reduction strategy.

    Some of the things in I-502 are not liked particularly liked by those who use marijuana. For example, there is a concern about “stoned driving” by many voters and the police. So, I-502 had DUI cannabis limits (similar to alcohol limits) for impaired driving.

    Why no recreational growing under I-502? Because voters are not warm to the idea of cannabis growing in their neighborhoods.

    Why no cannabis advertising under I-502? Another concern, many voters don’t want to see marketing aimed at youth and it is similar to the policy of no tobacco advertising.

    Why can you only buy an ounce? Why 21 to purchase and not 18? And so on.

    Who really dislikes a legalization bill the most? Drug dealers and the DEA.

    I-502 is a heavily funded, highly organized campaign to impose order, regulation, and taxation on an underground industry. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol. It is not working for a substance that is less harmful than alcohol. And the economic and social costs of prohibition itself far outstrip any perceived or real dangers of marijuana itself.

  10. Just to clarify, I-502 actually does decriminalize adult possession. But it also provides a regulatory framework for privatized but regulated commercial growing, distribution, and sales.

    Decriminalization only petitions, I-1068, I-1149, and the current I-505 provide no such framework. This is one of the reasons they have not been successful. Voters demand more details than “just legalize/decriminalize.” And it would still be up to the legislatures to promulgate and implement rules and regulations subsequent to simple decriminalization or legalization.

  11. It makes no sense to legalize another drug with most of the painful costs of alcohol.

    The cost to society far exceeds any revenue. The pot of gold is just smoke and mirrors.

    http://alcoholism.about.com/cs/alerts/l/blnaa11.htm

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=399

  12. hansgruber says:

    Funny….just read this article this morning on comcast. ….better smoke what you got before Eric Holder cracks the whip!

    Feds to announce Calif. pot dispensary crackdown
    http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20111006/US.Medical.Marijuana/

    Beer, you sound like some bureaucrat that Reagan talked about in the 80’s!

  13. pawl says: “It makes no sense to legalize another drug with most of the painful costs of alcohol.

    Couldn’t agree more. What drug are you talking about? This discussion is about marijuana legalization.

  14. Liberalism is already legal, and is actually enforced. Why not begin licensing liberals and taxing them based on the national debt load and their personal votes for tax increases. It could be a benefit of being licensed that libs are automatically issued medical marijuana cards, shopping carts, Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers, and blue dresses, whether they are male or female so as not to discriminate.

  15. It is virtually impossible to protect people against themselves, and prohibition has resulted in prisons full of vioalators costing us $40,000 or so a year. And, how many robberies and muggings occour to purchase illegal drugs?

    People who break the law because of drug use should be proscecuted the same way DUI alcohol drivers are dealt with, but if parents, other family members, friends and common sense can’t keeping people from using harmful drugs prohibition laws won’t solve anything.

    I agree with Beerboy. Legalize them, regulate them, and tax them.

  16. I agree with Beerboy.

    Gotta mark this date in my calender! Lyle and I agree on something!

  17. BlaineCGarver says:

    Why do we need the Gubment to regulate something that can be grown like tomatoes? How about ignore it? Let employers decide on their own to test for it. Let insurance decide how to treat it’s use vis-a-vis health, accidents, etc. Treat driving while stoned just like a DUI….I don’t know why simple solutions are not allowed for simple problems.

  18. hansgruber says:

    Blaine, Driving while stoned is already treated just like a DUI.

    Employers already have the right to fire emloyees that test positive for drugs (including pot) that have been upheld by the State Supreme Courts of California, Oregon & Washington (Yes even for medicinal Marijuana).

    With the Fed’s cracking down now on Marijuana dispencaries in California, it won’t be long before they come to Washington and do the same, I welcome it. Marijuana has it’s very limited uses but it is being expanded simply for money.

  19. beerBoy says:

    Blaine – enforcing/penalizing DUI requires money. Where better to get the money from people who partake in those substance?

    it is being expanded simply for money.

    You have a problem with money?

  20. beerBoy says:

    The Market solves everything…..except for those things that I doesn’t.

  21. beerBoy says:

    “it” not “i”

  22. Yo BeerBoy,

    October 8th. Will wonders ever cease?

    In the case of illegal drugs, all prohibition really does is make a bad problem worse.

    Unfortunately, politicians and church leaders refuse to publically support legalization for fear of losing supporters, even though many if not most of them know that prohibition simply does not work.

  23. lyle – I’m afraid it isn’t just prohibition that politicos are prohibited from embracing pragmatic solutions they know would work because they are afraid of the polling.

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