Marijuana use is not to be condoned. It is not something I or others should consider acceptable.
But the facts are the facts. The current laws don’t work. Period.
With the current system, users get put in jail, crowding already overpopulated jails. This puts a huge strain on state and local governments, and increased expenses in the budget. Plus, all the profits in this billion dollar industry go to the black market and smugglers, often illegal immigrants. Also, the illegal nature of marijuana may contribute to some “rebellious” use of the drug.
Ultimately, the government cannot make choices for the people themselves. If someone wants to smoke some weed and do it in a responsible manner, the privilege we give to cigarette smokers and alcohol drinkers, the government should allow these people to do so. If someone wants to smoke too much weed and ruin their own lives, as some cigarette smokers do, the government cannot stop them. People make their own choices that affect their own lives, and the government is not in control of that.
Sure, we would like to have a moral compass and make laws that create a perfect society. But these laws are ineffective and do not work. There has to be a change. This “War on Drugs” approach is failing miserably. Billions of dollars have been, at best, used ineffectively, at worst, thrown down the drain.
Our tax dollars are not being used well fighting this losing war. There are other ways to help society by saving this money and putting it to other uses. We can tax marijuana and help the rest of society, while the people who would smoke anyway would do it more openly. This openness would make watching and regulating drugs easier. It would be like cigarettes, except to a lesser extent.
Marijuana is not something we should celebrate, but where we are now is not the answer. Full legalization is too far, but rules have to be opened up a little.
Legalization may not even be the perfect answer, but we need to rethink this issue because we cannot stick with the status quo. We need to open up the discussion to new, unique solutions to this massive problem. Those to dismiss legalization as a horrible idea are hurting the conversation, and thus hurting this country. Both sides of this issue need to talk and come together, find middle ground and make progress. That is the only way that something will get done, something that could make a positive different in so many lives.