Your editorial (TNT, 12-13) warning not to forget the much more dangerous meth as we venture into a world where pot is legal is right on.
As you say, there is a real danger of the cartels’ greater involvement – but really only because it’s illegal. The true change in thinking about marijuana is a recognition that it needs to be treated as a health problem, not a criminal offense. Using the criminal system to address drug use only makes the problem worse.
Proponents of using the criminal system continue to fantasize about a world where no one uses meth. Failure is explained as the absence of more draconian penalties. And yet, with today’s severe penalties we can’t keep meth totally out of prisons.
Once we recognize that eradication is impossible and that the goal is to minimize the problems associated with meth use, then it’s apparent that the criminal system isn’t the answer.
Legalizing pot will likely lead to increased usage, but far fewer social problems. The same thing would happen if we stopped empowering the cartels by dealing with meth use as a crime.