Why do you support the legalization of marijuana

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Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Medicinal vs. Decriminalization vs. Legalization

The fight to stop the war on drugs on both sides of the boarder have always been divided on the end goal of the movement. Some say legalizing medicinal marijuana is the holy grail, this is where it should end, others say decriminalizing marijuana, and still others say full legalization is the only viable option. So why the divide? In any highly charged political issue there is always a divide amongst supporters, think back to the same sex marriage debate, some claimed that a civil union would have solved the issue and made everyone happy, while others said a civil union was a step back not forward, in the end logic won out and same sex marriages are legal. Back to marijuana the three sides of the marijuana debate all have points, but which is the ideal solution.

Medicinal Marijuana Only:

Those who support medicinal marijuana only agree that marijuana should be a controlled substance, but feel that it should be a prescription drug. These people are usually highly informed on the medicinal aspects of marijuana, but sketchy on anything else. They are usually directly affected by the ban on marijuana in that they have a disease which marijuana can help with, or they know someone personally who could be helped.

The goal of these activists is to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes only, they do not want to see it legal for anyone on the street to possess or grow marijuana, they generally would like to see penalties stay the same for non medical users of marijuana.

The problem I have with this camp is that although their cause is just and there should be no reason why they can’t use a medicine that so many doctors know is beneficial, it still turns millions of citizens into criminals for using a recreational drug that time and time again has been demonstrated to be less dangerous then tobacco, alcohol, or even coffee.

Decriminalization:

Decriminalization activists want to make marijuana use not a criminal matter meaning that those caught with weed would be given a fine and sent on their way. This is certainly somewhat of a step in the right direction, however it is also a step back.

Decriminalization does not address the criminal element involved in the drug trade, the black market will not only continue to thrive, but it will grow, and criminals who prey upon the helpless will grow bolder and stronger. With decriminalization I see an increase in marijuana related crimes, an increase in government spending in order to combat drug related crimes, and backlog of court cases of weed warriors fighting the fines due to the fact that any decriminalization bill is not likely to have any real teeth.

Legalization:

In my mind legalization is the only logical move. Along with legalization would come taxation and regulation. The black market for marijuana would be all but eliminated, depending on the regulations involved. Government spending used to enforce the drug war could be spent elsewhere, like perhaps the dangerously failing healthcare system, or the education system. Add to that the taxes that could be collected, I am not just talking the standard PST and GST taxes, add a sin tax to it, carefully balancing price vs the desire to grow outside the system and thus avoid the taxes, but even if only 25% of users buy marijuana and the other 74% grow their own or buy it under the table from friends, that still leaves a good chunk of change that can be collected in taxes. I think that with careful management a good 75% of users would probably buy as opposed to grow, initially there might be more who grew, but as long as the for sale stuff is sold fresh and is of good quality I think the majority of people would pay for weed rather then grow it themselves.

Nay sayers would claim that with legalization would come an increased addiction problem, and increased teenage abuse. The truth is that this is unsubstantiated fear mongering. The data points to the exact opposite. With proper regulation and education programs teen use will likely drop like a stone, and as for addiction, sure some might get addicted, but there is no evidence to suggest it will be any higher then it is right now, in fact evidence from the Netherlands experiment into legalization demonstrates that usage amongst their citizens is actually declining.

Opposition will next clamor that it will lead to an unproductive work force and more accidents on the roads due to impairment of drivers. Well both these issues are easy to fix, if an employee is stoned at work and has no medicinal reason for being so can him. If a driver drives under the influence of marijuana throw him in jail for impaired driving. No one is petitioning for carte blanche to smoke up whenever the whim hits, but rather that prohibiting a relatively safe drug is silly.

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If Marijuana became legalized would you support its taxation?

Do you think our economy can be saved by legalizing marijuana

What do you think the Origins of the slang term 420 is

Would you vote for a politician solely on their stance on Marijuana?

What is your prefered method of using pot? (assuming price is no issue)

If marijuana were legal would you grow your own or buy from a store?

If you use marijuana do your family members no

Do you consider yourself a Pot Head

How often do you use marijuana?