Blunt Talk

I’ve long argued that we ought to legalize marijuana — for several very good reasons, each of which would, I think, be compelling in its own right.

First of all, legalization would be a heavy, if not mortal, blow to the black-market economy that supports the drug gangs that have made Mexico an earthly hell of violent anarchy.

Second, it would in a stroke eliminate an entire criminal class here in America, an enormous population of otherwise upright citizens whose respect for our public institutions is necessarily eroded by these idiotic laws. In doing so it would also greatly ease the burden upon the criminal-justice infrastructure.

Third, it is an overreaching intrusion of the government into personal liberty to prohibit the recreational and medical use of this mildly psychoactive plant (whose ill effects, both socially and physiologically, are surely far less pervasively destructive than alcohol’s).

Fourth, legalization would turn an enormous governmental expenditure — the exorbitant cost of enforcing marijuana laws, and of prosecuting and incarcerating those who are arrested — into a hugely profitable new segment of the nation’s economic base.

With regard to that last, it seems that California’s reefer industry is already making a lot more money than the Golden State’s wineries do. Story here.

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5 Comments

  1. chris g says

    You have kids, right? Will legalized pot make parental guidance easier or harder?

    Posted October 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  2. bob koepp says

    Guidance?? More likely, stoned oldsters might be a bit slow about getting out of the way. Or was the suggestion that it’s the kids who would indulge?

    Posted October 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Chris, presumably there will be restrictions on underage pot-smoking, as there are now for alcohol.

    So I don’t think it will make much difference as far as child-rearing is concerned; kids will drink and smoke if they want to, same as always.

    Posted October 21, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink
  4. the one eyed man says

    You neglected number five: it will cause retail prices to come down.

    Hey, that’s why I voted for legalization when I sent in my California ballot last week. It’s already quasi-legal here, with a maximum fine of $125 for an ounce or less. But to return to the $20 an ounce pricing of my youth? Be still, my heart.

    Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  5. David P says

    Legalize it, yeah, I guess. But I think there is a problem with impaired driving.

    Having smoked a few jazz cigarettes in my youth, I know that one can become a bit distracted behind the wheel. A hemp-head who has freshly toked a potent modern blunt could easily mow down a bicyclist while lost in fascination with shimmering sunlight on autumn leaves.

    Unlike alcohol intoxication, I am not aware of a test that shows if an offense occurred under the influence of ganja. “No your honor, I did not inhale within 24 hours of killing that woman.”

    True, this problem exists whether the herb is legal or not. But it is reasonable to think that a lot more people would be burning stinkweed if the law allowed it.

    Posted October 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink