Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The System is Going to Pot

If truth be told, I do have mixed feelings about the legalization of marijuana.

[Having placed the subject on the table, my own personal relationship with the weed is now fair game, so some disclosure is now in order.  My personal relationship with marijuana, entered into and departed from as a college student among other college students, was measurable in days, and not in weeks, months, or years.  The relationship was brief, and not particularly a comfortable one.  My misgivings about it entailed finances, the rule of law, the desire to not be under the control of others, allergies, and serious questions regarding the types of people who were (and are) wed to the weed.  I made the decision to be a non-user of Cannabis sativa.  Decades later, the decision still stands, and has never been regretted, though it did attenuate me socially more than a few friends and acquaintances; the only friend who truly respected my decision to abstain from the herb is long gone, the victim of a tragic crime in which it appears that the perpetuator's use of marijuana played a peripheral role.]

On one hand, the weed does in fact carry many of the evils ascribed to it.  On the other hand, I do subscribe, to a large extent, to the Libertarian view that adults who smoke pot in their own homes and who keep it there should be able to do so unmolested.

Nor can the agricultural and marketing economics of the marijuana industry be ignored.  There are many jobs to be supported by the legalization of marijuana.

It seems that the push to legalize marijuana carries all kinds of side issue in the legal arena, from taxation to firearms to employment to medical applications, and many other matters as well.  The Congressional Research Service has laid out many of those issues for the benefit of the Congresscritters who are addressing them.

I am concerned.  In addition to the gateway drug argument (whose validity may or may not pertain in some or all respects), there is now a situation where certain marijuana-related activities are legal (and encouraged) under state law, but verboten and felonious under federal law.  This give the law enforcement authorities, at federal and state level alike, too much discretion for selectively enforcing and applying the law.

In an ideal world, there would be no marijuana.  But now that it is very much a part of the world, it ideally should be decriminalized.  But the world is not ideal, and until there is a mechanism for truly holding users of the substance accountable and answerable for their actions, if a choice must be made, I must, with my mixed feelings, stand with the proponents of prohibition.  Against the backdrop of prohibition, there is much leeway for adjustment of penalties and establishment of rehabilitation programs.  The details shall be left to the legislators.



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