US News & World Report: “Should Marijuana Use Be Legalized?”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 30, 2012

    Next Tuesday, three voters in three states — Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — will be deciding on statewide ballot measures to legalize the adult possession, use, and distribution of cannabis. Today, US News & World Report ‘Debate Club’ asks its readers: “Should marijuana use be legalized?”

    I, along with Alison Holcolm (New Approach Washington), provide commentaries in favor of ending cannabis prohibition. [Update: MPP’s Morgan Fox also now has a commentary here.]

    An excerpt from my op/ed appears below:

    Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails
    via US News & World Report

    Come November 7, voters in one, if not two, U.S. states will have decided in favor of legally regulating cannabis. Why? The answer is clear: regulation works; prohibition fails.

    Since 1965, the FBI reports that U.S. law enforcement have made over 22 million arrests for marijuana violations. Yet cannabis consumption and the public’s access to pot remain undeterred. Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color.

    It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol.

    … [A] pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults—but restricts use among young people—would best reduce risks associated with its use or abuse.

    … In short, it’s legalization, regulation and public education—coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions—that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.

    You can read the full text of my commentary here.

    You can read Alison Holcolm’s contribution, “Marijuana Use Should Not Be a Crime,” here.

    Predictably, longtime cannabis prohibitionists Kevin Sabet, a former assistant to the Drug Czar, and David Evans, an adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation, provide the ‘con’ perspective. You can read their contributions (largely for entertainment purposes only) here and here.

    As in past editions of US News’ ‘Debate Club’, editors are asking visitors to vote ‘up’ the commentaries they like and to vote ‘down’ the arguments they oppose. Make your opinion heard. Please vote and share.

    24 Responses to “US News & World Report: “Should Marijuana Use Be Legalized?””

    1. voiceofrebellion says:

      Congratulations to the folks in Colorado & Washington, but a quick dose of reality, the federal government has the clear intention of ignoring the people votes,the DEA just had a budget raise of several million for 2012, money that will get used to prosecute folks in Colorado; enough marches and conciliatory talk, it’s time for civil disobedience, the kind that really will get their attention: several national non spending days: all pot advocates nation wide should not buy a single thing for a day, paralyze the economy, if enough people do it, then repeat it , the loss of millions $$ will get the government attention more than a million marches; this civilian disobedience is where NORML can help organize, advertise and deliver an economic blow which is what the government fears more than anything else.

    2. chris says:

      Like I’ve always said ” If you can take it from the garden straight to the table and eat it without altercation it shouldnt be taken away from people because it is a vegtable”
      Ya know when you stop to think about it every time you read anything from the haters of cannabis they always seem to throw out ” prostitution, drunk driving, or murder”, or whatever other words that shove off negative aspects.
      If i say those words with our everyday things that we have now then it makes you start to rethink about them for instances”
      lieing cheating double crossing backstabbing child molesting gas station clerk”
      see now gas station clerks are all bad people if you let this ignorent idea into your head.
      those of us who know gas station clerks know that they are not like this but it is the haters of cannabis who push their uneducated ideas towards the ignorent( ignorent is a term that is givin to those who have not been given the chance to become educated.) , that keep the prohibition in place. I think there is a lot of good and bad that can come out of the ending of prohibition but am willing to deal and compromise with the situation because the long running policy that has been in place is not working for anyone.
      just remeber the romans once decieded that Christianity was no longer going to be allowed among the people because they felt thretened by allowing the people to have a choice.

    3. Trevor says:

      Here in Virginia I would 100% welcome marijuana decriminalization since it would be a major improvement over the incredibly stupid laws we are currently forced to obey (or get locked away). That said, even decriminalization sucks in comparison to what should be the rule of the day: legalize and regulate (I say regulate because without regulation kids can easily get it and the product itself could be contaminated in various ways). I do 100% believe that adults should have the absolute right to grow their own or to share it with other adults.

    4. Dave says:

      Think about this: How many thousands, if not millions of real crimes have gone unsolved and thus unpunished thanks to the police being distracted by enforcement these silly marijuana laws? It could be a huge toll!

      Wouldn’t it be nice if we could grow our own and let the police focus on their job: fighting crime, not declaring crimes on innocent people? I just read how some believe legalizing pot will actually help the drug cartels—and this makes no sense on a couple levels. One, the cartels will no longer be making money on a non-crime like selling pot and all their money would then be crime related; while you and your neighbors will be making money selling our home grown pot. They will be cut out of the market so the Cartels will get less money and be further sidelined socially which is perfect!

      Two, the rest of the Cartels businesses like drug dealing, prostitution, human trafficking/slaving, and general thievery would have to operate under a more comprehensive police focus. With legalization, there would be a big difference in crime as in there would be less. The police fighting against legalization are pretty stupid for it, as it would certainly make their job safer!

    Leave a Reply