All Potted Up-Left Side

It’s High Time To Legalize Marijuana Across The Nation, For Recreational As Well As Medical Use

Legal marijuana offers a number of potential benefits to society

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When I was in my last year of elementary school, my science teacher stopped his lesson one day to warn me and my classmates about the dangers we’d face in middle school—“pot pushers” chief among them.

“What these older boys and girls will try to do,” he told us, “is gang up on you in the restrooms and force you to smoke some marijuana so you’ll become addicted and will have to buy it from them.”

Shockingly, that never happened! Indeed, when I hit my mid-teens and started smoking pot myself, I found that people rarely gave me pot for free, unless I happened to be at a Grateful Dead concert, where joints were passed from stranger to stranger.

But to this day, I’m convinced that my science teacher actually believed what he was telling us. There is, after all, a whole lot of ignorance about weed in this country. Always has been. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. But the depth of ignorance remains to this day. Last fall, for example, after the good people of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize marijuana, Fox News anchor Steve Doocy worried that legalization would lead to a rash of people getting “all potted up” and then getting behind the wheel.

At that point it was clear that Doocy himself had never been “all potted up,” as he so quaintly put it. If he had, he would realize that a rash of stoned motorists would likely lead to little more than an outbreak of really slow driving. Driving while drunk, needless to say, is a far greater problem. But we’ve had laws dealing with that ever since our nation’s lawmakers had the good sense to repeal Prohibition.

And it is from that experience that we should draw our first lesson. Prohibition, people came to realize, didn’t stop drinking; it just created a new profit stream for organized crime. Afterwards, it created new revenue streams for government.  

Right there, in other words, we’re looking at the first two benefits that would come from nationwide legalization: virtual elimination of a criminal enterprise, and a surge in sorely needed tax revenues. It would also create a new legal industry, which would mean new jobs.

But there would be many other benefits to legalization. The medical benefits, for example, are abundant. Indeed, the stigmatizing of marijuana in a nation that is addicted to drugs for everything from hyper activity to erectile dysfunction strikes me as the very epitome of hypocrisy. If we’re not going to cut down on consumption of Cymbalta and Cialis, let’s at least add some ChemDawg to the mix.

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