Word Nerd

End the battle against marijuana in the war on drugs

I have never tried marijuana.

I've also never tried tobacco or alcohol. It's a personal choice in those cases, and even if marijuana were legal I wouldn't try it. The supposed joys of a THC high hold no interest for me.

But I do wonder why marijuana is illegal while tobacco, which causes lung cancer, and alcohol, which causes severe impairment or even death in cases of overdose, are perfectly legal. It's never made sense to me.

I tend to think our "war on drugs" is a remarkably stupid way of protecting people. Hey, let's raid homes with drawn guns looking for evidence that someone is growing a plant!

All sarcasm aside, I don't have a problem making some drugs illegal, particularly those that hurt innocents who are near the user or maker of them. Meth, for instance, is a sickening substance. Literally. I wouldn't want that poison being brewed up near me.

But marijuana? It's a plant. Most people who smoke it don't get violent, unlike those who consume alcohol. Its short-term effects are considerably less dangerous to the public than alcohol. And its long-term effects seem to be less dangerous to the consumer than tobacco.

At its worst, marijuana turns people into lazy, irresponsible slobs. But then, so does alcohol.

I'm far more concerned about being killed by a drunk driver than a stoned driver. And when you get to the heart of it, I despise what the war on marijuana does to communities.

So, do I think the federal government should legalize marijuana?

I would favor making marijuana legal while taxing the sale of it heavily and restricting its use (particularly among minors), just like tobacco and alcohol.

We could clear out some jail space by releasing any non-violent drug offenders who have only used marijuana. We could stop drug raids or searches that are only about marijuana.

People who aren't inclined to do drugs aren't going to run out and start smoking a ton of weed just because it's legal. Considering how prevalent marijuana use already is, I doubt usage will actually go up all that much overall. But a percentage of the very expensive drug war will go away and a new revenue stream will be created.

I could be very wrong, but it seems like a win-win to me.


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