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”.
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?