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Legalization of Marijuana: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

In Tuesday’s The Argument, Marijuana Policy Project Director of Government Relations Aaron Houston presents yet another case in the clamor for the legalization of marijuana.

The article drives home a great point. When we come to think of it, violence and tragedy related to marijuana is not so much caused by its actual use or abuse thereof, but can be attributed largely to its illegal trade and distribution. Houston cites beheadings and slaughter to the tune of thousands in Mexico, where things are becoming so bad that “the country’s very stability may be threatened”.

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The current set-up regarding marijuana in the United States is what Houston termed as “prohibitionist policies”. Basically, we are saying no to the stuff; but people like to have it, so what do we end up with?

We have a huge market with nowhere to buy from except underground. Underground, the rules are – wait, there are no rules! And since there are no rules, everyone just makes things up for themselves that don’t exactly mesh with each other, and anyone who crosses someone else’s path the wrong way simply gets taken out. Truth be told, some of these underground marijuana runners may not even be users themselves but are just in the industry for the dough.

A legal domestic marijuana industry may change all that, in probably the same way that the legalization of alcohol did to the liquor industry. There will be no need for an underground industry if there is a legal one to turn to. This will end the business of the drug cartel, and instead of all these dollars being illegally siphoned off the country, portions of its profits will find their way into the coffers of the state.

I had a chance to speak with a grad student from the Netherlands, where marijuana can be accessed legally. At 25, he has never smoked a joint although he frequents bars where it is used openly. Among his friends, there is a common feeling of “we know the stuff and we simply prefer not to use it”. In contrast, three times as many American teenagers go out of their way to try weed. Sometimes, it is the very prohibition that makes something more attractive.

With the gazillions of arguments presented for and against the legalization of marijuana, are you giving the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down?

Houston Drug Screening

Tags: legalization of Marijuana, marijuana, marijuana legal netherlands, Substance Abuse, teen drug abuse
March 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm
17 comments »
  • March 19, 2009 at 1:20 pmJamesRW

    Thumbs up.

    The price of prohibition in pain and suffering is obvious and unacceptable in a free nation. I will not be trying marijuana any time soon but I do believe that others should have the freedom to do as they wish. Education is the key here. When the punishment does more harm than the substance, the laws should be changed.

  • March 19, 2009 at 10:58 pmDavid

    Thumbs Up.

    Prohibition is for the misinformed. Take The new information that backs marijuana not as Reefer Madness portrayed it, but as what It truly is in reality (A Medicinal tool that can be used much more safely then alcohol, and without the long term negative health effects of tobacco and the withdrawal caused from both of these substances.

  • April 13, 2009 at 3:46 amCommon Sense

    Did we not learn anything from alcohol prohibition?
    Marijuana prohibition has been an indisputable failure. Legalize it and take the money out of the black market. Marijuana is less dangerous than either alcohol or tobacco yet both of those substances are legal (and should be). Every year our prison system releases violent offenders to make room for non-violent pot smokers. That is just plain insanity. Think of how better society would be served if our law enforcement efforts were directed more towards dealing with violent individuals. We would also save millions of dollars on prosecution costs and jail expenses. Have you ever seen a “COPS” episode where the police were called out to an incident because someone was high on pot? How about because someone was on alcohol?
    There is also substantial evidence indicating marijuana has numerous medical uses as well.
    This is a plant, legalize it and regulate it. We need to look at this issue using nothing more than basic common sense. Isn’t it time to drop the “Reefer Madness” stupidity?

  • April 13, 2009 at 9:26 amPeter

    BIG THUMBS UP FOR LEGALIZATION!

  • April 13, 2009 at 9:45 amAwareness

    Thumbs Up.

    I never thought the day would come when people would begin to realize the truths about how the legal status of Marijuana is what has put these drug cartels into such a powerful place. Our country’s desire for recreational drugs is too strong for the government to control and at the same time, should they really be controlling it as long as it doesn’t result in violence? This is something that must be decided per individual, not for the entire country!

    I personally have never met anyone with or even heard of a legitimate story related to violence with Marijuana unless it was related to a bad drug deal. Make it legal and we remove any chance of this happening.

    Marijuana is slowly being shown for what it really is: a medicine. It has been used for centuries as one and will continue to be used because that’s why God created it. The high is no more substantial than a good alcohol buzz and unless a person is particularly reckless as a person they would never get behind the wheel. If this were to happen, well, going 20 m.p.h. feels more like 80 m.p.h… Make this happen before more people die or are thrown into Criminal School – call and write your Senators today!

  • April 13, 2009 at 12:58 pmJoe

    Prohibition makes it easier for kids to get it. We need regulation on marijuana and to take the money/incentive out of the blackmarket that currently exists.

    Legalization isn’t going to make it go away either but It is the lesser of 2 evils.

    The stuff is there for those that are persistent have money and desire to obtain it.
    It needs to be regulated.

  • October 7, 2009 at 2:31 pmTabatha Price

    THUMBS UP!!! I smoke it to make me eat and it makes me feel better It can not hurt people like other drugs do b/c it’s NOT A DRUG and you can smoke as much as you want and you wont die if you drink to much or take to many drugs you can die! If it was leagle then it would cut out alot of crime and help everyone then people can get a job witout having to pass a thc test!!! THC is good for the soul!!!!!!!!!! 420!!!!!

  • January 19, 2010 at 9:34 pmBuy Salvia

    Fantastic concepts here on this blog and I enjoy your take on things. One thing I’ve experienced is what we think about is 100% what we produce. We create our own reality.

  • July 26, 2010 at 11:37 amDrake Alexander Anderson

    JUST DO IT ALREADY……. FREE THE WEED ALL OVER…… ALL STATES COME ON GET TOGETHER AND DO SOMETHING

  • January 19, 2011 at 8:59 pmBrittany (n.c)

    HUGE THUMBS UP!!!!! come on now, theres nothing wrong with weed. its an herb and grown from a seed, its not a drug. nobody has ever died form weed. people die from manmade shit like cocaine, heroin, meth, pills. weed is safe. so come on and legalize it already. you can even die from alcohol and its legal, you can get alcohol poisoning and bad liver but weed, it wont do shit wrong to your body. so in closing….. LEGALIZE WEED DAMMIT… ITS NOT A DRUG… IT CANT AND WONT HURT YOU… THC IS GREAT FOR THE SOUL… 420 ROCKS

  • January 19, 2011 at 9:08 pmBrittany (n.c)

    for the people who say if weed is legalized kids can get to it better…. um WRONG if kids are gonna do it they will find it no matter what. i smoke it, have been since i was a teen. i never done it to get high. i only do it so i can eat good and actually go to bed at a decent hour. weed is not a drug. its a herb dammit. it cant hurt you or kill you. so get over that. it accually heals you. for those who diss it and has never tried it, you dont know what youre talkin about. you cant say shit about weed if you dont know, if you havent done it then you dont know. so how about smokin a joint then talk about it lol.

  • February 20, 2011 at 5:50 pmlittle mi

    i hope they do legalize it herb is for the use of all men if u dont know read your bible anyway legalize it and I will advwrtize it legalize it yeaha lawyers smoke it judges smoke birds eat it so legalize it enough said cause I need it for my eyes

  • February 20, 2011 at 6:03 pmganja smoke I need for my eye diease I have migranses ri

    Ihave a eye diease I need for them to make it legal ganja is a natural herb for the use of men (babylon )use it the so called government why cant the peoplr who need it so big ups at # time it was legal in the 1930 s histoy is going to repeat it self u watch

  • May 23, 2011 at 10:57 amMIMI

    THUMBS UP=)

    LEGALIZE IT

  • June 7, 2011 at 8:14 pmSean

    It’s plain to see the facts out-way the cracks! Cigarets kills 450,000 People every single year. Alcohol deaths are around 250,000 per year and this number doesn’t include all the innocent victims of DWI. Yet these drugs are legal and do more damage combined than anything else on the planet, this includes WAR! Come on people we have to be smart! I hope you know there has never been 1 single case of death related to the use of marijuana. Not even in a traffic accident unless combined with the use of alcohol! People in government & big Pharma who want to make money off of the drug business, this is a no brainer! And for all the people who really do benefit from this medicine it would be a great impact on our health care system and on our countries ability to distinguish between good & bad ideas! My vote will be yes for medical marijuana! For those of you who disagree I urge you to seek FACTUAL info on this topic before reaching your vote. Think twice, help save a life!

  • December 22, 2011 at 7:12 pmKaren

    I was in the state of Maine visiting my sister who sufferes with Arthritis in both knees and hips. She had talked to her doctor who suggested medical marijuana. Yesterday I went to the Dispensary with her and I was amazed to see the beautiful office where you make and appointment sit down and talk to a representive that helps you pick the cannabis that will help you with your specific needs so that you feel better mentally and physically. My sister is a workaholic and needs to be busy all the time. She has three acres of land and a big house so every day in pain or not she is taking care of her home and properity. Tlhis medical marijuana has changed her life. Now she is putting up fences, getting wood ready for the wood stove, mowing the huge lawn and everthing else that goes with caring for your properity. I am greatful to see her back in the game, back to being the woman that she is and not the woman that she was reduced to laying around because of the pain is so intence. The pain associated with arthritis is something that I suffer with myself. Please stop treating this plant as an enmy because is not only beautiful it works.
    Please legalize this wonderful plant so that it benefits may help others in a number of way. Ailments like depression, social disorders, anxiety and many orthers. Please


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