Former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, published a statement on The Huffington Post on February 1st entitled, “Yes, It Is time for Pot Legalization, Mr. President.” For those of you that don’t know, during Obama’s chat on January 27, the President stated that while the US needed to shift resources away from incarcerations of “nonviolent, first time offenders” he was “not in favor of legalization.” While I’ve never been interested in trying marijuana I have felt for a long time that it seem hypocritical for the far more dangerous tobacco and alcohol to be legal while marijuana is not.
The government needs to realize that by continuing the prohibition against marijuana we are criminalizing many otherwise honest people. These people end up consuming the resources of our police force and jail systems when they could otherwise be contributing to the economy. Furthermore, have we forgotten the great deal of tax money made by the sales of alcohol and tobacco, legalizing marijuana would only increase that tax revenue. Here’s an excerpt from Gary Johnson’s post that I think sums up the argument pretty well.
Why, with record federal deficits and states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, are we spending billions on yet another failed Prohibition that is accomplishing nothing other than making criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens and fueling drug cartels that threaten our fundamental national security? Is it not time to try something different?
There’s no real good reason to continue to keep marijuana illegal. Should we educate users to its health risks, of course, just as we have done with alcohol and tobacco. The fact of the matter is, people are going to do with their own bodies whatever they please, legal or not. The best thing we can do is stop treating them like criminals, let them do what they want (since this is a free country), and educate them about possible health risks. You’ll start to find that law enforcement and imprisonment costs will drop, you’ll have additional tax income, and there’s a good possibility that crime rates will drop as well as drug cartels will no longer be needed to obtain marijuana.
- Ex-Governor Gary Johnson: “Yes, It Is Time For Pot Legalization, Mr. President” (chelseagreen.com)
- Gary Johnson: Yes, It Is time for Pot Legalization, Mr. President (huffingtonpost.com)
- Numo is just that: Legalizing Pot — Is It Just a Matter of When? | | AlterNet (alternet.org)